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FIAT 500: Frankfurt Auto Show

What Is It?

The FIAT 500 is a subcompact hatchback that offers a fun driving experience and cute, head-turning styling. It has received a facelift for this year’s Frankfurt Auto Show — though you might not notice it unless you pull out a magnifying glass.

The most obvious change to the 500 is its taillights, which now offer a slightly different look and illumination pattern compared to last year’s units. It’s the same story up front, where the 500 boasts revised headlights with circular daytime LED running lights. Other exterior updates include a new bumper trim, new wheel designs and a few new color options.

Inside, the 500 also has a few small but noticeable changes. There’s a revised steering wheel, a new 5-inch center touchscreen with the brand’s Uconnect infotainment system and updates to the hatchback’s cupholders and center control stack. The 500 also boasts a newly available 7-in thin-film-transistor display in the instrument cluster.

As for what’s powering the 500, FIAT hasn’t revealed any details for the U.S. market. But we suspect that the model will carry on with its current engine lineup, which includes a 101-horsepower 4-cylinder engine in base models, a 135-hp turbocharged 4-cylinder in the upscale Turbo trim and a muscular 160 hp in the high-performance Abarth model.

How Much?

Although FIAT hasn’t yet announced U.S. pricing, we expect figures to stay roughly the same as today’s MSRP of around $17,800 for the regular 500 and $21,300 for the 500 Cabrio.

When Can You Get It?

Later this year

Add It to Your Shopping List Because…

Although these tweaks don’t change much about the FIAT 500, we hardly thought the hatchback needed much updating. Still, we’re happy to see a little more technology in the interior and a slightly more modern exterior thanks to new headlights and taillights. If the brand preserves the 500’s enjoyable driving experience — especially in the sporty Turbo and high-performance Abarth models — we’ll be delighted.

Other Cars to Consider

2016 Ford Fiesta — Although the Fiesta doesn’t share the 500’s look-at-me styling, it offers more practicality (because it comes standard with four doors) and similarly sharp handling. There’s even a high-performance ST model that rivals the 500 Abarth.

2016 MINI Cooper — The recently redesigned MINI Cooper is bigger than the 500 — and more expensive. But it’s also a little more fun to drive thanks to sharper handling and more standard (and optional) hp.

2015 smart fortwo — If you want to go really small, you may want to consider the smart fortwo. Featuring only two seats and truly diminutive dimensions, the fortwo has been recently redesigned to offer more equipment and better gas mileage than ever before.

Used Audi A3 — Audi’s A3 hatchback was a zippy city car with strong performance and sharp handling. While the new model is only offered as a sedan, used (or certified pre-owned) hatchback versions won’t be hard to find for about the same price as a new 500.

Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More

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