The U.S.-spec 2012 Fiat 500 equipped with the 5-speed manual gearbox has received EPA ratings of 38 mpg on the highway, 30 mpg in the city and a combined figure of 33 mpg. American buyers can also opt for a 6-speed automatic, which is rated at 34 mpg highway, 27 mpg in the city and 30 mpg combined.
The 500 is produced at the Fiat Group’s Toluca plant in Mexico and it will start arriving in larger volumes this spring. The automaker plans to open a total of 130 dealerships, of which 40-50 will be in business by the end of March, while the rest should be open by the end of the year, according to Fiat North America.
At the start of sales three models will be available. The entry-level Pop costs $15,995, while the Sport and Lounge are priced at $17,995 and $19,995 respectively, with all prices including destination charge. The Sport model is expected to become the biggest seller of the lineup.
All models come equipped with power locks and windows, air conditioning, 50/50 split fold-down rear seat, speed control, heated mirrors, 7 airbags, 15-inch steel wheels and 4-year, 50,000-mile warranty.
Compared to its European counterpart, the U.S.-spec Fiat 500 was modified in order to be more appealing to American customers. The automatic transmission is one of the major additions, but the North American car is also quieter and has a more comfortable ride, while the 101HP 1.4-liter FIRE engine received the MultiAir intake system as well. Fiat claims that MultiAir improves fuel efficiency and power output by 10% over the Euro-spec engine.
Last but certainly not least on the public’s necessities list, the U.S. version also comes with larger cupholders.
By Csaba Daradics