A practical review of the FIAT 500 Turbo Hatchback by Cathy Droz.
Just when I thought I had driven a cool FIAT, and established that the Italians and every other country were coming in the 500L, I discovered another FIAT 500 in my driveway to test for a week, the 2013 FIAT 500 Turbo Hatchback. Not a problem I thought, as I am getting used to a smaller car and really liking the FIAT lineup. I grabbed my purse, camera and a friend and headed to a meeting downtown.
Equipped with high heels and spray tan on my legs, I proceeded to pull out of my driveway in reverse… hum, where is reverse? Low and behold this is a stick shift 5-speed car. Not only 5-speed but turbo (there was no indication on the exterior), so when I did shift into “R” the FIAT took off like a rocket. I pulled over and took off my heels, replacing them with the slippers I keep in my purse. When you drive a manual transmission, the clutch, brake and accelerator pedals can wreak havoc with your heels and the calf portion of your spray tan disappears (don’t ask).
After a few blocks and nearly sending my friend, Cathy Burford, through the windshield a couple of times, as the car jerked, I got my groove on with the stick and loved the turbo. I didn’t realize that being in a small car and having so much power could be so “empowering.”
The Fiat 500 lineup has been expanding since the day it was born, and now offers a convertible, sport Abarth version, 500 L and the new 2013 500 Turbo, which combines the best of both the standard car and sizzling hatchback. So I say this 500 T is for the person who wants something a little faster than the regular 500 but doesn’t want to spend the $22,000 for the Abarth. The Fiat 500 Turbo has a MSRP of $19,500. Let’s just say the guys will change their mind about 500’s being for “girls.” The 500 T has low front fenders, 16-inch aluminum wheels, complete with red brake calipers, blacked out headlights with black bezels and a spoiler that gave the 500 Turbo an edgier look compared to its sisters.
I am not in to the exhaust notes or tunes my male counterparts love to talk about, but I have to admit I liked pulling away from a light next to a guy driving an Infiniti who looked down his nose at me, and not for the distance between him and me, but the expectations of my racing ability. Wow, was he shocked, because once you get the groove of shifting you can leave them in the dust.
The 500T offers the best parts of the Abarth, and leaves little to be desired. A performance tuned suspension lifted from the Italian pocket missile delivers a stiff ride, sometimes uncomfortable, but a tremendously fun experience and good for my posture.
The inside seating offered a high bubble inspired roof which allowed my 6ft 1in. husband plenty of headroom. The entertainment cluster is easy to understand and I hear Chrysler gets credit for that.
The 500T is equipped with a Beats by Dre 368-watt audio system which made listening to my music a complete experience that kept me driving to make sure I heard the end of each song. Of course, if I didn’t listen to any music I could start to like the exhaust “tunes.”
My fuel economy registered at 27 City and 33 highway mpg which is less than what the standard 500 gets, but about the same as the Abarth.
I say this Fiat T would make a good commuter car and a fun vehicle to take anywhere. I was driving so smoothly that I put my heels back on and was thrilled to see I didn’t lose a bit of my spray tan. For all these reasons I would say this was a car worth shifting for.
The 2013 FIAT 500 Turbo Hatchback as reviewed by Cathy Droz: $24,500