• FIAT 500 will return 40 mpg.
  • Sporty 500 Turbo to get 34 mpg.
  • 2013 models go on sale this fall.

FIAT's subcompact 500 recently received fuel economy ratings for the 2013 model year. According to the federal government's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the base-level hatchback is now capable of achieving up to 40 mpg, while the sporty new 500 Turbo boasts 28 mpg in the city and up to 34 mpg in highway driving.

The EPA says the 2013 FIAT 500 equipped with its standard manual transmission earned the 40 mpg rating in highway driving, which is an increase of two mpg over the 2012 model. The stick shift 500's city fuel economy also increased for 2013, with the latest EPA rating rising to 31 mpg, an increase of one mpg compared to last year's model. FIAT says the improvements are due to revised aerodynamics and a taller final-drive gear ratio, and that automatic transmission models retained their 2012 EPA rating of 27 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway.

FIAT's newly released 500 Turbo was also recently rated by the EPA at 28 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. Featuring a 135-horsepower version of the standard 500's 1.4-liter 4-cylinder, the 500 Turbo competes with compact hatchbacks like the MINI Cooper and Hyundai Veloster. While the Veloster produces 138 hp and achieves 28 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway, the 121-hp MINI Cooper returns 29 city mpg and 37 highway mpg with its standard 6-speed manual transmission.

The 2013 FIAT 500 will arrive in showrooms later this summer or in early fall. While the automaker has not yet announced pricing for base-level 2013 models, shoppers will probably notice only a slight increase over last year's figures. FIAT has, however, announced that the new 500 Turbo will start at $20,200 including destination when it goes on sale this fall, placing it about $2,000 higher than a base-level Veloster but around the same price as a MINI Cooper.

What it means to you: Although it's mostly unchanged for 2013, the FIAT 500 boasts improved fuel economy with its manual transmission--and impressive gas mileage numbers in more powerful 500 Turbo form.

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Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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