2012 Fiat 500 Lounge Review

The iconic, Italian car adds variety to the subcompact class – and it’s cool enough for JLo. We review the 2012 Fiat 500 Lounge

If the 2012 Fiat 500 is cool enough for JLo, it’s cool enough for you, right? Unless, of course, you jump into the Fiat, swing by to grab your buddy, nestle both your golf bags in the back (with rear seats fully folded down), windows all down, sunroof wide open, blasting Marc Anthony’s I Need To Know (kidding), roll up to the clubhouse bag drop-off lane, to be “greeted” by a bunch of dudes. In which case, not so cool. But all machismo aside, the new Fiat 500 is all about personal expression and individuality. And in todays society where making a statement is both easy and evidently necessary, the mousey little 2012 Fiat 500 will no doubt fit in…amongst the right crowd, of course.

2012 Fiat 500 Lounge Review2012 Fiat 500 Lounge Review

Over 50 years ago, the first Fiat ‘Nuova’ 500 was introduced in Italy, following the Second World War, offering the less wealthy a reliable, efficient car but with a bit of flair and style; contributing to the post-war economic recovery. As Laura Soave, Head of Fiat Brand North America, states, “The Fiat 500 has always been the right car at the right time…the new Fiat 500 brings something truly unique to a fast-growing segment in America, delivery Italian-by-design function, value, and efficiency intelligently tailored for our market.”

2012 Fiat 500 Lounge Review

With regards to the ‘right car at the right time’ statement, I find the timing of the Fiat 500 reintroduction interesting–the parallels between the road to economic recovery during the post-World War era compared to today’s high unemployment and economic ‘slowdown,’ aka The Great Recession. Though I’m not sure the impact of this A-segment Fiat introduction will be the same as it was then, ‘a car for the people’ as it were, the timing is certainly a good one. Oh, and that the small car segment is growing in North America.

But this is a car review, not a thesis. Sorry.

Since its initial launch in 2007, more than half-million Fiat 500s have been sold. And now, making it’s way to North America…with JLo…dancing her ass off…on the hood. Hey, I don’t judge. It’s all good. If I could shake my ass like that, I’d dance on cars all day. In high heels. Seriously.

Moving on, the 2012 Fiat 500 starts at $15,995 Cdn MSRP and is available in two forms: the 500 (hatchback, as tested) or the 500c (cabrio). Each model offered in different trims at various price-points, as listed:

  • 500 POP, starting at $15,995 Cdn MSRP
  • 500 SPORT, at $18,500
  • 500 LOUNGE, at $19,500
  • 500c POP, at $19,995
  • 500c LOUNGE, at $22,995

My Fiat 500 LOUNGE rings in at $22,425 (excluding taxes/fees) with the following options:

-6-speed Aisin Auto Transmission, $1300

-Power Sunroof, 500

-Heated Front Seats, 300

-Compact Spare Tire, 200

-15-inch x 6-inch Aluminum Wheels

-Rear Park Assist, 100

Some of the notable standard features found in the Fiat 500 LOUNGE include Hill Start Assist, remote keyless entry, power locks & windows, A/C, a large glass roof, fog lamps, chrome power heated mirrors, bodyside mouldings with 500 logo, chrome exhaust tip, driver height adjuster seat (but not on passenger side…if you’re near 6-ft tall, forget it), and chrome shift knob, to name a few. Standard safety include airbags all around, front seat active head restraints, 4-wheel ABS, and electronic stability control.

The all-new 1.4-litre Fiat MulitAir engine delivers up to 38 mpg highway and a best-in-class 30 mpg city (manual transmission). My Fiat 500 came with a console mounted ‘Sport’ button; when activated, the rpm certainly revved higher, but I felt no power gain; no increased torque or tighten suspension, or anything you’d expect from a Sport mode.

2012 Fiat 500 Lounge Review

Handling in the 500 LOUNGE was not tight nor provided a fun, spirited drive…nothing wrong with this, just don’t expect the drivability of a MINI, for example. The Fiat 500 is more of a ‘hey girls, let’s go cruising!’ type of car, and less ‘yo dude, lets go cruising’ type of car. Make sense?

Overall, the 2012 Fiat 500 is a cheeky little thing with a timeless, minimalistic design. Reminiscent of the original Fiat Cinquecento, the new Fiat 500 caters to a new generation yearning to make a statement, seeking to change the rules of transportation…whether you’re hauling golf clubs or dancing in the streets.

Learn more – Fiat 500

CONS:

  • Nible looks don’t equate to nible, tight handling
  • Sport button has little to no effect
  • Endorsed by JLo

2012 Fiat 500 Lounge Review

 

2012 Fiat 500 Lounge Review specs

2012 Fiat 500 Lounge Review specs

2012 Fiat 500 Lounge Review specs

2012 Fiat 500 Lounge Review specs

2012 Fiat 500 Lounge Review specs

Shooting motors professionally since film was a thing, Amee's work has been published in various outlets including NBC Sports, Chicago Tribune, SuperStreet, GlobeDrive, MotorTrend, and others. He's a writer, editor at TractionLife.com, AJAC member, and full-time digital marketer at Traction Media working with national brands. Find him traveling, spending time with his kids and family. Or golfing, badly.