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Quick Drive: 2012 Fiat 500

2012

Quick Drive: 2012 Fiat 500

After Fiat bought out Chrysler to up its stake in the company, Fiat knows it has a lasting presence in America. The plan is to rollout the entire Fiat line-up to the U.S. market, starting with the Fiat 500. As the ambassador to the brand then, the 500 really needs to be a big hit for Fiat. So what did we think?

2012 Fiat 500 at the Texas Auto Roundup

2012 Fiat 500 at the Texas Auto Roundup

After Fiat bought out Chrysler to up its stake in the company, Fiat knows it has a lasting presence in America. The plan is to rollout the entire Fiat line-up to the U.S. market, starting with the Fiat 500. As the ambassador to the brand then, the 500 really needs to be a big hit for Fiat. So what did we think?

First of all, I wasn’t really impressed with the interior of the 500. I know it’s a lower end car, but it reminded me too much of the PT Cruiser’s interior, and that’s not a good thing. There are big plastic panels along the door and the dash, optioned with different colors no less. One more complaint before I move on; I didn’t get a lot of time to try and adjust the seat, so it could be that, but the pedals didn’t feel right against my feet. I was fortunate enough to score a manual transmission, but it felt like my feet were straight up and down while doing foot work. It was actually uncomfortable.

On to the good stuff! The steering in this little car was pretty impressive. It had a nice, direct feel. With the wheels being pushed to the far corners, you get a good sense of weight distribution, which means driving this little thing quickly around corners felt sporty. The 1.4 liter engine pushing its massive 101 horsepower felt peppy and eager. I’d really like to get it up on the highway and see how it handles in mad, Dallas traffic, but we’ll have to do that another time.

In Europe, this car sells on its heritage from the 50’s and 70’s, but buyers in America don’t have that heritage to look back onto. The 500 over here needs to stand on its own and be a good enough car for people to drop the $16,000 necessary to get a base car. In my opinion, it doesn’t do that. The Fiesta is a much better choice at a much better price. The 500 I’m sure will sell well, but if it was my money, I couldn’t buy one.

Thanks to our friends at Non-Stock Photography for the photos.

Car was driven and reviewed by Adam Moore at the Texas Auto Roundup in conjunction with the .

Adam Moore

Adam was one of the founding members of txGarage back in 2007 when he worked for a Suzuki dealership in Dallas, TX. He is now our Publisher and Editor-in-Chief. He's always been into cars and trucks and has extensive knowledge on both. Check Adam out on twitter @adamaoc.

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