Consumer Reports Has Never Recommended a Fiat Model

Although the Fiat brand remains popular overseas, it’s been struggling to please American buyers for several years. Today, the only new Fiat you can buy stateside is the 500X. We’re not really sure why the Fiat 500X is still here, considering how steeply its sales have declined. This model also usually gets terrible scores from Consumer Reports. In fact, even when more Fiat models were cruising U.S. streets, CR never recommended a single one.

What does Consumer Reports think of the 2022 Fiat 500X?

2022 Fiat 500X, Fiat models, Consumer Reports
2022 Fiat 500X Pop with Sport Appearance Package | Stellantis

According to Consumer Reports, the 2022 Fiat 500X is one of the most disappointing subcompact SUVs. Its tiny engine is loud and sluggish, requiring nearly 10 seconds to reach 60 mph. It also has an unrefined transmission, a constant idling when the car is stopped, and an overwhelmingly bumpy ride.

But giving credit where it’s due, CR says the Fiat 500X is effortless to park. It also has surprisingly quick handling, but a finicky brake pedal prevents drivers from having too much fun. And the interior, though fancy by segment standards, has uncomfortable seats and a tight second row.

Other Fiat models Consumer Reports has reviewed

Consumer Reports has rated three other Fiat models, including the 124 Spider. This convertible/roadster took inspiration from the Mazda MX-5 Miata and was available in the United States from 2016 to 2019. CR gave the 124 Spider a Green Choice designation for every model year except 2020.

Though the 124 Spider is more enjoyable to drive than the 500X, excessive noise levels and a stiff suspension still plague this Fiat model. The seats aren’t wide enough to accommodate some drivers, and access is difficult unless the top is down. It also doesn’t come standard with any advanced driver assists, and the available ones don’t include automatic emergency braking.

Consumer Reports wasn’t impressed with the Fiat 500 either, though it still received three consecutive Green Choice awards after its 2017 redesign. CR testers appreciated this car for its zippy handling, maneuverable size, and unique styling. Its five-speed manual gearbox is a smooth operator, and the brakes are easy to control.

However, the site still doesn’t recommend this car because of its uncomfortable ride and its basically useless cargo area. Like the 124 Spider, the 500 doesn’t provide advanced driver assists as standard equipment. 

The sporty Abarth trim has some interesting design choices, such as red interior accents and seat stripes. However, the interior is claustrophobia-inducing, and some controls are difficult to locate or read.

Consumer Reports praised the Fiat 500L compact minivan for its functional second row. Despite this vehicle’s heavier curb weight, CR observed an impressive 27 mpg combined city/highway while driving the 500L.

However, its ride quality isn’t any better than its siblings’, and it’s difficult for drivers to find a comfortable seating position. Neither the front nor the back seats provide long-term support.

Can the brand bounce back in North America?

According to CarSalesBase, the most successful year for the Fiat 500X was 2016. It sold over 12,000 units. Fiat sold only 2,518 500X units in 2019, and 2021 was even worse, with 1,181 sold.

Those numbers might seem discouraging, but Fiat hasn’t given up on U.S. consumers. Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares wants to “revitalize” Fiat in America, MotorTrend reports.

Tavares wasn’t specific about Fiat’s upcoming U.S. products, but he hinted an electric Fiat might please California drivers. The Fiat New 500 is available as a hardtop hatchback or cabriolet and gets up to 200 miles of range. However, it’s sold only in Europe and a few other, smaller markets.

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