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Buying a used car is a much smarter decision for many shoppers than purchasing a new one. Used vehicles often uphold their value very well, and many offer the same safety and reliability as new models. However, some used cars haven’t earned the same reputation for reliability as others. Fiats have become notorious for this, with wild variables between certain models – and some that experts recommend bypassing entirely. In a recent article from U.S. News, not one but two separate used Fiat models were named as vehicles to avoid. 

Two used Fiat models made a list of used cars to avoid

Buying used cars allows shoppers to save money while enjoying many of the same features as brand-new vehicles. Whether buying used cars from a dealership or directly from an owner, shoppers can often find used cars that meet every one of their needs. Still, not all used cars are created equal, and when shopping for their next vehicle, buyers should be aware of some specific issues that only crop up after a particular car has been on the road for a few years.

A new story from U.S. News highlights 12 used cars that buyers should avoid. While the list has a variety of different makes and models, two separate Fiat models, the 2021 Fiat 500X and the 2020 Fiat 500L, are both featured as used vehicles that are notorious for certain flaws.

Why should the 2021 Fiat 500X and 2020 Fiat 500L be avoided?

The 2021 Fiat 500X is called out in the report for its less-than-smooth handling on the road and its inability to keep up well on busy highways. The model is also short on space, with the publication noting that the 500X has just 14.1 cubic feet of cargo space behind its rear seats. Overall, the model received a 6.4 out of an overall score of 10. Despite those issues, U.S. News said the cabin is sleek and stylish, with a user-friendly infotainment system that will please most drivers.

The 2020 Fiat 500L also received a 6.4 rating from the publication. Its flaws include disappointing fuel economy, with just a 22/30 mpg city/highway rating. The 500L also struggles when driven at higher speeds, with the ride proving shaky on bumpy or pock-marked roads. Finally, U.S. News claims that the cabin is poor quality, with plastic finishes that are uncomfortable and unattractive. However, it’s not all bad news with this model. The publication calls out the ample space as a good option for people who take lots of weekend road trips.

What used Fiat models might be a good investment?

A mint green Fiat 500 model parked on a driveway outside a suburban home garage in San Ramon, California
A Fiat 500 automobile | Smith Collection/Gado via Getty Images

Buyers interested in Fiats shouldn’t be completely dissuaded by the two models named by U.S. News. Many drivers have raved about the versatility of the Fiat 500e, a compact electric car that offers a good range for an electric vehicle. However, buying one used can be a trick.

Fiat didn’t sell the model in every state, but if you are lucky enough to locate one, you could feasibly buy one for under $10,000. In fact, the Fiat 500e is widely considered to be one of the most economical and reliable electric cars, making it a good option for environmentally-conscious shoppers. Additionally, a new version of the 500e, once only sold overseas, is returning to the U.S. for the 2024 model year, according to Fiat.

Ultimately, buying a used Fiat isn’t necessarily a bad idea, even if you’re eyeing one of the models listed by U.S. News. It all comes down to your unique needs and preferences. As always, do a test drive and ask plenty of questions when buying a used car.