The Fiat 500, and Cinquecento, is the first automobile from Italy to complete our extensive 40,000-mile test.
This is also the first new Fiat to be sold in the United States since the manufacturer closed its doors in this country in 1984.
And if the grueling 17 months it took to finish our test is any indicator, the biggest obstacle this automobile must overcome is the size of the second-largest car market in the world.
When the 500 joined our fleet in August 2011, it was exclusively offered as a three-door and was available in Popular, Sports, Studio, and exclusive Gucci trims.
Customized rear fascia, 16-inch alloy wheels, and a stiffer suspension were all included at the robust base price of $18,000, or two consecutive grand more than the Pop's.
We chose the conventional five-speed manual transmission instead of the sluggish six-speed automatic transmission, saving $1250 and maintaining a few of our dignity in the process.
The $19,100 as-tested pricing of our car also includes the $400 Safety and Convenience package and $500 Rosso Brilliante paint (alarm, automatic climate control, and a temporary spare)
Only 101 horsepower and 98 pound-feet of torque are produced by the 500's 1.4-liter SOHC four-cylinder at 6500 and 4000 rpm, respectively.
The initial findings were a 9.9-second mosey to 60 mph with 17.5 seconds at 78 mph in the qtr despite only weighing 2427 pounds—124 lower than the last Mini we tested.
At the end of our test, those times were decreased to 9.7 and 17.1 seconds, however, but the car was still frustratingly slow when racing to motorway speeds.
Despite our Fiat's EPA town ratings of 30/38 mpg and the 1.4's modest capacity, we were only able to achieve 33 mpg total due to our 500's lack of a higher gears and frequent floorboard strikes.
The 500 is a split smaller than a Mini at 139.6 inches, thus room was at a premium.The 500 is a split smaller than a Mini at 139.6 inches, thus room was at a premium.
The 500 has won praise for its capacity to improvise with the residual debris from parking lots.