The first FIAT product to be sold in the United States since 1983, the subcompact 500 was introduced for the 2012 model year emerging in select Chrysler dealerships. Inspired by the FIATs original 500 built from 1957 to 1975, the new iteration of the vehicle arrived as a premium-appointed small car. Introduced in 2012, a three-door hatchback version of the FIAT 500 came first while a convertible body style promptly followed later in the year.
A 1.4-liter MultiAir four-cylinder engine served as the base powerplant for the 2012 FIAT 500. Generating 101 horsepower and 98 pound-feet of torque, the FIAT 500s engine was combined with a either a five-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed automatic transmission featuring an AutoStick shifter. With the manual transmission, maximum highway fuel economy for the subcompact was rated at 38 miles per gallon. Trim levels for the mainstream FIAT 500 consisted of the Pop, Lounge and a hatchback-only Sport model. Standard equipment on all 2012 FIAT 500s included BLUE&ME Handsfree Communication technology with USB port, power heated mirrors, power windows and seven airbags. Providing an additional level of performance to the Italian-inspired subcompact, the FIAT 500 Abarth included a more potent version of the MultiAir engine.
The 500 Abarths turbocharged 1.4-liter engine produced 160 horsepower. A performance-tuned suspension and upgraded brakes also accompanied the 2012 FIAT 500 Abarth. In 2013, a Turbo model of the FIAT 500 was introduced with a detuned version of the Abarths powerplant. Trim level choices for the 500 subcompact were expanded by the inclusion of the limited edition Cattiva and Gucci models in 2013. Reconnecting with the 500 roots, FIAT added the 1957 edition of the small car featuring color schemes similar to the original vehicle.
Entering its fourth year in the United States market, the hatchback version of the 2014 Fiat 500 is highlighted by a naturally aspirated engine and a turbocharged powerplant offered in two performance ranges.