DRIVEN: 2012 FIAT 500

Plus: Great looks. Very sturdy steering feel (I actually preferred the steering in the Fiat vs. the Mini). Handles really well albeit not as well as a Mini. The suspension is a little more forgiving and isn’t as stiff as a Mini. Cool looking interior. The motor is pretty loud when you punch it and of course it didn’t break down even once 🙂

Minus : This car is definitely meant for city driving. The motor virtually screams (but doesn’t anywhere) just to get up to highway speeds. It pretty much runs out of steam at the top of 3rd gear and you are barely doing 70MPH. And because of the short wheelbase, at speed, any little bump really unsettles the car. I had an interesting time on the highway with the wind and rain pouring like there was no tomorrow. The transmission in Sport mode is just dismal. It keeps trying to figure out what you are going to do next but doesn’t do a good job of predicting! I’d recommend just leaving it in the regular mode. The stereo also left much to be desired. 

Overall: Despite the idiosyncrasies with the car, it was a fun experience. I do feel Chrysler could have done so much more with this car considering it is Fiat’s first foray into the US market. Overall, the car felt underpowered but if you are planning on using it for city driving, you will be able to live with it. And with its size, parking is definitely not going to be an issue! Between the Fiat 500 and other similarly sized vehicles (Toyota Yaris, base Mini Cooper etc.), I think I would go for the Fiat.

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