We love the 2012 Fiat 500, ranking it No. 1 on our list of the “10 Coolest Cars Under $18,000.” “The 500 makes its mark as a maneuverable, fun-to-drive, economical city runabout with a fistful of character,” we wrote. We were also impressed with the car’s base MSRP—just $15,500.
Our only problem with the 2012 500 is that it’s in desperate need of more power. Its normally aspirated 4-cylinder engine generates just 101 horsepower and 98 pound-feet of torque. The 500 Abarth arrived later. It’s well-equipped and powered by a 160-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder. But it’s a much-pricier $22,000.
Now, for model-year 2013, Fiat says it has hit the “sweet spot” with the Fiat 500 Turbo. Its power and price fall right between those of the base model and the Abarth. Its turbo four is rated at 135 horsepower, and it starts at $19,500—making it one of the most affordable turbo-powered vehicles in the U.S.
“We listened to our customers” said Tim Kuniskis, Head of FIAT Brand North America. “The new Fiat 500 Turbo is the answer to all the fans that loved the style of our Cinquecento but wanted more power and performance for their daily drive.”
Thanks for listening, Fiat. We look forward to driving this new offering and reporting on the upgraded powertrain. In the meantime, check out our review of the 2012 Fiat 500.