Drivetrain: 135-horsepower turbo engine delivers one-third more power (135 versus 101) and 50 percent more torque than the non-turbo; 1.4-liter engine burns less gas; Abarth’s 160-horse turbo carries over and can be optioned with a six-speed automatic. The 500e electric model is available only in select areas.
Fiat keeps trying to get the 500 to fit with American tastes, which is why there are so many ways you can buy this little car. For 2016, the company adds yet another trim line that it promises will be a less expensive way for buyers to customize their runabout. The new “Easy” includes a seven-inch cluster display, different interior touches, 15-inch wheels and a five-inch Uconnect touch-screen system. For the 500 hatchback, that now means Pop, Easy, Lounge and Sport trim levels, while the 500C Cabrio can be now be ordered in Easy, Pop and Lounge. If you’re in the very limited market where they’re available, the battery-powered 500e is claimed to get 87 miles of driving range, along with an impressive 108 highway MPGe (equivalent to MPG). It has a torque-rich electric motor with 111 horsepower and can also be charged in less than four hours with a 220-volt outlet.
The 500’s range of “regular” powerplants includes the base 101-horsepower 1.4-liter four-cylinder as well as 135-horsepower turbocharged 1.4 for the “Turbo” model. This engine is bumped to 160 horsepower for the sporty Abarth models. Residents of California and Oregon can purchase the 500e electric hatchback that uses an 85-kilowatt (111-horsepower) motor to propel it for up to 87 miles before the batteries need recharging. It also costs about $15,000 more than a base 500 model. Back for more is the 500C Cabrio (convertible), which actually has more of a folding sunroof than a true drop-top. The bonus is that, unlike the Mini Cooper convertible, the 500c Cabrio doesn’t lose any trunk space, nor does its roof stack high around the rear seats to create blind spots. There’s also an Abarth Cabrio that adds the folding roof with the high-powered engine and fun chassis modes. The Base 500 comes with 15-inch steel wheels, air conditioning and power windows/door locks/heated mirrors, seven-inch display and standard Bluetooth streaming audio. Other offerings include a limited 1957 edition, which celebrates the original 500 with retro-tinged colors inside and out.