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Reviews

2017 Fiat 500 Walk Around


The Fiat 500 manages the hatchback design without looking awkward. Despite its inherent uprightness, the 500 can look almost svelte. There’s a certain amount of bulk that comes with crash requirements, but they’re buried in the lower third of the body. The sides slope upward, the rear glass slopes forward, presenting a modern twist to the classic Cinquecento shape that’s now 60 years old.

Button-like headlamps and a thin mustache trim bar add character to face of the 500.

The Cabrio maintains the same roofline, because only the flat panel in the roof is fabric, offered in several colors, including a couple startling ones. Because the doors and rails are unchanged from the hatchback, with a trunk lid replacing the rear hatch, the Cabrio is structurally rigid.

Interior

The Fiat 500 offers a stylish interior from inexpensive materials. Creative Italian design takes a simple and clean instrument panel and adds bits and pieces of body-colored metal, making the final effect pleasing to the eye. It combines playful with practical in a manner that German, Japanese, Korean and American designers must envy.

Italian designers got as much interior space as they could out of the car’s dimensions, but it still falls short compared to the Fiesta, Spark, or Mini. The seats have a good contour but are short, firm, and high. That makes the car feel bigger than it is, from the view out the windshield, but also makes it feel smaller because there’s less headroom.

And it’s miniscule in the rear. That’s why Fiat came out with the 500L, which has excellent room in back. But it’s boring, and doesn’t share the spirit of the 500.

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