2013 Fiat 500 (993)


This week we’re looking at the 2013 Fiat 500. I had tested the Abarth model in 2012 and now this 500 model that is less money by about $2,500. As you will notice it is assembled by our neighbors south of the border in Mexico, as are many brands today, including Toyota and other Chrysler company products.

Perhaps the most common concern and question I’m asked is about its safety. It is so small, like the Smart Car they say. Well it is not as small as the Smart with no back seat and a cargo area that is so small it will carry only a few bags of groceries or limited luggage.

The Fiat 500 does have a rear seat, and although it is small little people will be just fine there, or added luggage can be accommodated. But when it comes to concerns about safety you will agree it is a solid and stable ride. I never felt my safety was compromised. And to boot it is fast and fun to drive as well. If you are considering a high mileage commuter that is priced fairly you came to the right place.

General Information: 

Parts from the US / Canada 21%, Germany 49%, Engine USA, Transmission Italy. It is assembled in Toluca, Mexico. Classification is Mini-Compact. Cars from Fiat: 500, Abarth, Gucci, Lounge, Pop, Sport.


Diamond Lane – is it legal to cross over the double lines during “Off Peak” hours?

I have to address this to David M., a regular reader of the Country Journal, who sent me a great explanation on the LAW. Specifically I was referring to the Diamond lane used on CA 14 between Palmdale and Lancaster and Interstate 5 freeway leading north to Sacramento and South to Los Angeles.

David shared many Vehicle Code sections to explain the LAW. He noted there was no reference to my specific question about off peak hours usage. He, as a man who says he carries a badge, said he had spoken to law enforcement in the area regarding my question and it sounded like a toss-up. Some would cite those who crossed over the painted barriers during off peak traffic hours and others would not.

Signs are posted that infer the Diamond Lane is no longer a diamond lane during off peak traffic hours. But at the end of the day, right or wrong, his recommendation is not to cross over the double double or double lines.

As for me, I’d rather the matter was clarified than risk fines that are imposed arbitrarily. By the way these citations for offending our proud men in blue or brown or whatever carry monetary fines that are excessive by any standard when you consider you may have to pay a minimum of $481. . .

… And injustice for all.

Handling & Performance:

Excellent and fast and fun to drive.


Classic Fiat. “I love the look, it’s so cute and sporty”. “the chicks love it”. But I say if the guys drive it they will get a ‘macho’ high since it is so fast and agile.

Fit and Finish:

Very good.


Well cost is a matter of opinion and perception. If you consider the price per pound it may be expensive. If you consider the money you will save on gas it will be a bargain.

Conveniences and comfort:

This Fiat 500 is comfortable and is well equipped for its size and pricing. Small back seat is marginal at best but does fold down flat if you need more cargo area.

Consumer Recommendation:

When I was in Poland some years ago Fiat cars were everywhere you looked because they were affordable relative to other cars on the market. Gas prices today, in Poland and most of Europe are about $8 per US Gallon.

1 liter equals .264 US gallons and I have seen prices as high as $2.50 a liter. In the Netherlands, most expensive in Europe, gas cost is over $9.00 per gallon.

Recognized Competition:

Fiat 500 $20,000, Chevrolet Aveo $12,000, Chevrolet Spark $12,000, Ford Fiesta $14,000, Honda Fit $20,000, Hyundai Accent $15,000, Kia Rio $17,000, Mazda 2 $15,000, MINI Roadster $27,000, Nissan Versa $15,000, Scion iQ $15,000, Smart fortwo $15,000, Toyota Yaris $14,000, Volkswagen Beetle $28,000.

Good News:

Turbo power, small commuter with good fuel economy easier to find a place to park and good leg room and head room.

Bad News:

Rear seat folds down but is not totally Flat, visors don’t cover side window glare because they don’t extend.

Standard Equipment:

1.4 liter turbocharged 4 cylinder 135 horsepower engine, dual intercoolers, 5-speed Manual transmission, electronic stability control, front side and side curtain front and rear airbags, driver knee airbag, LATCH system, 4-wheel ABS performance disc brakes, power windows and locks, remote keyless entry, cruise control, hill start assist, tire pressure monitor, engine immobilizer, rear window washer wiper, 12 volt power outlets, air conditioning, Blue&Me hands free, Audio with CD/MP3, aux audio input jack, six speakers, steering wheel mounted audio controls, leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, tilt steering column, rear 50/50 fold down seat, 16” aluminum wheels, fog lights rear spoiler, tinted glass.

Gas Stats:

$3.79/ Gal avg. August 22, 2013


For more information.

28 City and 34 Highway MPG


MSRP $19,500.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com
Copyright © 2013 – An Automotive Love Affair

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