2016 fiat 500 Model Overview
New for 2016
The refreshed Fiat 500 gains a revised exterior design, a new Easy trim level, Bluetooth connectivity, voice command, and a the UConnect infotainment system with a five-inch touchscreen. Five new exterior colors have been added Spitfire Orange, Grigio Cenre (light gray), Anchor Gray, Latte Menta (light green), and Celeste Blue (light blue). The limited-production 1957 Edition will continue to be offered.
The 2016 Fiat 500 is a small city car available as a two-door hatchback or a convertible. An electric version called the 500e is also available along with the performance-oriented Abarth models.
Gas-powered Fiat 500s are available with two 1.4-liter I-4 engines: a naturally aspirated version for the base car with 101 hp and 98 lb-ft of torque and turbocharged variant that produces 135 hp and 150 lb-ft in the 500 Turbo. Both engines can be had with a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The high-performance 500 Abarth uses the turbocharged 1.4-liter I-4 and is good for 160 hp and 170 lb-ft with the manual or 157 hp and 183 lb-ft with the automatic.
The 500e is powered by an electric motor with 111 hp and 147 lb-ft. On a single charge, the 500e can travel up to 87 miles before needing to plug in. Using a level two 240-volt charger, the 500e can be fully charged in four hours; however, it isn’t available with level three fast charger that can bring the battery up to 80 percent in 30 minutes.
For a small car, cargo capacity is surprisingly generous at 9.5 cubic feet behind the split-folding rear seats and 30.1 cubic feet with them down. The convertible variant has less space at 5.4 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 23.4 cubic feet with them down. In the 500e, cargo space is also limited at seven cubic feet with the seats up and 26.3 cubic feet with the seats down.
In addition to the standard dual front, front-side, and side curtain airbags, the 2016 500 also comes with a driver’s knee airbag.
The 2016 Fiat 500 received a four-star overall safety score from the NHTSA (out of a possible five stars). In IIHS evaluations, the 2015 model received a Good score in four categories and Poor in the Small Overlap Front category (Good is the highest possible score).
Trims, Packages, and What’s Standard
The base 500 Pop comes standard with 15-inch steel wheels with wheel covers, power windows, and heated power side mirrors. Stepping up to the Easy grade adds a seven-inch TFT display, 15-inch alloy wheels, a premium audio system, Bluetooth connectivity, and the UConnect infotainment system featuring a five-inch touchscreen and voice command. Opting for the Sport trim adds a sport-tuned suspension, a recalibrated steering, a honeycomb grille, 16-inch alloy wheels, a roof spoiler, and a six-speaker, 276-watt audio system. The 500 Lounge trim adds chrome accents and mirror caps, 15-inch alloy wheels, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls. Rear parking sensors and an upgraded Beats by Dr. Dre audio system are optional extras.
The limited edition 500 1957 Edition adds 16-inch alloy wheels featuring a retro body color design, a sport-tuned suspension, retro Fiat badges, leather upholstery, and a contrasting roof color. The range-topping 500 turbo adds the 135-hp 1.4-liter turbo-four, a reinforced five-speed manual gearbox, larger brakes, a sport-tuned suspension, 16-inch alloy wheels, sport-style seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. On the Abarth variant, additional features include a 157-160-hp 1.4-liter turbo-four, larger brakes, a specially tuned suspension, 16-inch alloy wheels, and a three-mode ESC system.
What We Think
Despite a barely noticeable exterior nip and tuck, the 2016 500 remains as stylish as ever in all of its iterations. In a 2012 First Test review, we noted that the car “radiates style” especially in vibrant colors. However, the car’s 101-hp engine doesn’t have much power and tends to struggle when climbing grades. Sport mode does help its responsiveness but it gets jerky in stop-and-go traffic. The performance-minded 500 Abarth solves the lack of power with sweet-sounding turbo-four, as we noted in a 2012 First Test review, and makes the car handle better thanks to its unique suspension setup and tuning. However, like the regular 500, the driving position remains awkward and the seats don’t provide much support for enthusiastic driving.
In a comparison test that also included the Hyundai Veloster, Honda CR-Z, Mini Hardtop, Scion tC and Volkswagen Beetle, the 500 Sport place fifth because of its lack of practicality, bouncy ride, and awkward driving position. The 500 Abarth also lost out to the Mini Coupe in Cooper S form, in a comparison test because its handling gets sloppy at its limit, understeers too much and has overly intrusive electronic nannies.
The Fiat 500 shares a birthday with the United States, which is July 4th.
- Stylish and chic
- Nice exhaust note on the Abarth
You Won’t Like:
- Understeers too much
- Abarth seats don’t have much lateral support
- Base engine lacks power