CarCorner Review: 2012 FIAT 500 – Winning!

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By Cathy Droz –

The original FIAT “Nuova 500” was born in l957 in Corso Dante, Italy.  At the time, it was boasting a simple Italian design and affordable price.  Not much has changed for 2012…still stylish and affordable with a starting price of only $15,500.

I have chosen to review this vehicle, very much the way the FIAT manufacturers are

FIAT in the 50’s

presenting it to the public and in their showrooms.  Yes, long time, any-brand dealers are adding the FIAT to their present showrooms.  FIAT is a stand-alone brand, much like SCION, and I believe they both are courting a certain demographic.

So here is a list, I mean outstanding features and up-to-the-minute technology that will be of interest to many a social networking, fun-loving and energy conscious buyer.   There are over 500,000 ways to personalize your FIAT.  Would you like to see your car with stripes or roof graphics?  How about a bike rack or Gloss Black wheels?  There are over half a million ways to customize the 500 so you stand out on the road.  If you were lucky, like me, to receive a $250 cash allowance card from FIAT in the mail, it is to be applied to any of the hundreds of accessories when you buy your car.

Let’s start with the basics of your purchase.  There is the FIAT 500 or 500 Cabrio.  Once you decide hard top or top down you can pick the Pop, Sport or Lounge model.  Once you have decided on that, pick your exterior color (l4 to choose from).  Then your leather interior design seating, maybe cloth and move on to a variety of wheel options.  Hold on to your gelato, because there is more.  There are bike, ski, snowboard and surfboard carriers.  They have Uconnect Web, which turns the FIAT into an instant WiFi Hotspot.  There are Katzkin leather seats with embroideries, piping, two-tones, suede and many different colors.

Check out the wheels!  Gloss Black to wheels with painted pockets, they have a variety of custom styles to choose from.  Bodyside moldings are a cool finishing touch for the FIAT buyer and some of the options include the 500 logo, graphic checker designs or even a barcode reminiscent of your local Target merchandise.

The FIAT 500 is not just a pretty face; powering the FIAT is an award winning engine.  The 1.4L, 16v MultiAir engine has electrohydraulic system valves for more dynamic and direct control of air and combustion.  This increased the power by l0 percent and torque by l5 percent cylinder-by-cylinder, stroke-by-stroke. Here is the best: it delivers 38 hwy mpg!

If you are looking for quality sound, the Bose premium system is available with six high performance speakers and a subwoofer.  It uses 50 percent less energy than Bose systems with comparable quality acoustic performance.

OK Facebookers and tweeters…FIAT has a BLUE&ME (Hands free communication) system with iPod, USB and MP3 interface.  No need to take your hands off the wheel or let your eyes leave the road.

It gets better.  FIAT has introduced eco:Drive – the industry-leading interactive tool that records the way you drive and then shows you what effect your habits have on fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.  Visit to learn more.

For me, it was a small car with lots of cool features.  I’ve driven over 500 cars in 10 years and reviewed them based on my lifestyle and environment. I can say the FIAT stood out as far as being solid and how safe I felt inside it.  The diversity and the personalization of this vehicle is what would draw me to it, but that would have been 35 years ago.  I would say a great car for the active single or couple.  I put the grandbaby in her car seat in the back and she fit fine, but I don’t think this is a family car. For more go to

Cathy Droz and Bill Zervakos of Two for the Road USA are radio personalities that lend their talent to both radio,television and print.  For more reviews go to

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