Used Fiat 500c Convertible Prices Spike in August

2012 Fiat 500c

Summer is winding down, but that didn't stop used Fiat 500c prices from heading up in August. Asking prices on Cars.com for the subcompact 500c, which features a power-retractable soft-top, jumped 8.1 percent ($1,324). That increase put it well ahead of the Toyota Sequoia full-size SUV and Nissan Quest minivan, which advanced 1.9 percent ($792) and 1.8 percent ($405), respectively.

Related Deferred Payments: Read the Fine Print

Prices for the Chevrolet Express 1500 full-size van decreased the most, down 5.3 percent ($1,153) from a month ago. The Chevrolet Volt range-extended electric car and BMW 650i luxury two-door round out the month's top three biggest drops, with prices down 3.8 percent ($897) and 3.6 percent ($2,370), respectively.

Overall used-car prices declined again in August, continuing a trend that began in the spring. Average listing prices were down 1.4 percent ($315) to $22,604. That's the steepest monthly decline we've seen so far this year.

By Mike Hanley | August 28, 2014 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2014-2015 Fiat 500L

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Vehicles Affected: Nearly 26,000 model-year 2014-15 Fiat 500L small crossovers

The Problem: The driver's knee airbag may not deploy in the proper position if the driver is not wearing a seat belt. Chrysler said in a statement that it discovered the problem during routine testing and is unaware of any related injuries.

The Fix: Chrysler will notify owners and advise them when they can schedule service; repairs will be made for free. The automaker has not yet announced a notification schedule.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Chrysler at 800-853-1403 for more info. The automaker advises owners to wear their seat belts at all times.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

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By Matt Schmitz | July 31, 2014 | Comments (0)

$30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge: What the Judges Said

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To test our sub-$30,000 speedsters, we put them through an even more rigorous set of tests than we usually use in our Challenges:

  • We spent one day at the Byron, Ill., Dragway to get zero-to-60-mph times and quarter-mile times and speeds; we also captured 60-mph-to-zero braking distances there.
  • We spent one day at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Ill., where the experts put the cars through a long day on the road course there.
  • We took all eight on a mileage drive of more than 200 miles to judge real-world fuel economy.
  • The experts drove all eight over the same course, back-to-back, to judge real-world ride and handling, acceleration and braking.
  • And then we brought in a real-life car shopper, Joe Weiss, a 38-year-old quality assurance manager from Chicago who's in the market for just such a car for himself and his fiancee.

CSJudges

Weiss joined our cast of judges (left to right):

  • Brian Robinson, producer for PBS' "MotorWeek"
  • Joe Wiesenfelder, Cars.com executive editor
  • David Thomas, Cars.com managing editor
  • Joe Bruzek, Cars.com road test editor
  • James R. Healey, auto writer for USA Today

We set a maximum price of $30,000, including a destination charge. We had 10 cars on our list when we started, but we ended with eight (more on that in a bit):

  • 2014 Fiat 500 Abarth
  • 2014 Ford Fiesta ST
  • 2014 Honda Civic Si
  • 2014 Hyundai Veloster Turbo
  • 2014 Kia Forte5 SX
  • 2015 Mini Cooper S Hardtop
  • 2014 Nissan Juke NISMO RS
  • 2014 Scion FR-S
  • 2015 Subaru WRX
  • 2015 Volkswagen GTI

Mini said it did not have a Cooper in its press fleets that could meet our price cap; the Civic lost a tire after hitting a Chicago pothole, and repairs could not be made in time for track days. The judges did drive it in our round-robin day, and a report on those tests can be found here.

$30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge
Index | Results | Mileage Test

Here's how the scoring broke down: The experts' scores accounted for 50 percent of the total score; 10 percent came from the shopper's scores; 30 percent was based on track performance; and the remaining 10 percent was based on fuel economy.

Here is what the judges had to say about each car, in order of how the cars finished:

By Patrick Olsen | July 28, 2014 | Comments (8)

$30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge: Mileage Results

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Any car owner will tell you the cost of driving does not begin or end with the sticker price or the monthly payment notice arriving in the mailbox. There's insurance, maintenance and yes, the cost of gasoline.

$30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge
Index | What the Judges Said | Results

The competitors in our Cheap Speed Challenge may be relatively affordable considering their performance chops, but six of the eight require premium gasoline. Going into the contest, mileage didn't seem like it would be much of a story.

After a 220-plus-mile route through Wisconsin and Illinois that mixed in winding country roads, city streets and plenty of construction-laden highways, we discovered mileage was indeed worth talking about in this class.

By David Thomas | July 28, 2014 | Comments (1)

What's the Best Cheap Speed Car for $30,000?

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Plenty of drivers want a level of performance without breaking the bank. We found eight cars that prove fun at the track is not limited to the well-to-do.

$30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge
Index | What the Judges Said | Mileage Test

We focused our Challenge on compact coupes, sedans and hatchbacks that cost less than $30,000, including destination charge. We picked the price based on Cars.com's listings for cars of this type that came with the features we know are popular with younger drivers looking for a performance kick. After five days of testing (including a day at a drag strip and a day on a road course) by experts from Cars.com, USA Today, "MotorWeek" and a real-life, in-market family, here's how the results broke down:

By Patrick Olsen | July 28, 2014 | Comments (21)

2014 Fiat 500 Abarth Photo Gallery

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The 2014 Fiat 500 Abarth finished eighth in our $30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge. "The Abarth is an absolute joy on the road course, with unexpected levels of cornering grip and stopping power that give this weird little car surprising amounts of street cred," said one of our judges. Check out our gallery below of the 500 Abarth up close and on the track.

Click on any image for a larger version.

Cars.com photos by Evan Sears

By David Thomas | July 28, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Fiat 500 Abarth Cabrio Automatic: Quick Spin

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Fiat's plucky little 500 Abarth has gained a reputation among performance enthusiasts as a fun, snorty, raucous little hot hatch. With its 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder pumping 160 horsepower out of a specially tuned, snapping, popping, rasping exhaust system and its go-kart-like handling, it's a monster on the track — and something of a monster on the street as well.

Why Your Neighbors Will Hate the Fiat 500 Abarth

It's mainly been an enthusiast's toy because it's only been available with a five-speed manual transmission. But stick shifts are falling out of favor with U.S. buyers, so in the interest of expanding the Abarth's appeal Fiat added a six-speed automatic transmission for 2015. I had an opportunity to drive the new automatic Abarth Cabrio at Chrysler's Chelsea Proving Grounds in Michigan and it won't let enthusiasts down.

By Aaron Bragman | July 3, 2014 | Comments (1)

Porsche Flies, Fiat Flails in 2014 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study

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Porsche, Jaguar and Lexus topped J.D. Power's 2014 Initial Quality Study. Porsche and Lexus were among the top three brands in 2013, while Jaguar jumped seven spots to land at No. 2. And at the other end, Fiat, Jeep and Mitsubishi had the worst results. Two of those three — Mitsubishi and Fiat — were among 2013's bottom-feeders.

2011 Models Less Reliable Than 2010 Vehicles, J.D. Power Study Finds

IQS, one of several influential J.D. Power studies, is now in its 28th year. It expresses quality as problems per 100 vehicles in the first 90 days of ownership. A lower score is better. Among 32 brands surveyed this year, Porsche led with just 74 problems — and Fiat was last, at 206.

"Porsche has three vehicles that are best-in-segment," Renee Stephens, vice president of U.S. auto quality at the company, told us. Those include the 911, Panamera and Boxster. Two others — the Cayenne and Cayman — were top nominated in their segments.

By Kelsey Mays | June 18, 2014 | Comments (8)

Fiat Chrysler Announces Alfa Romeo Dealer Network

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Alfa Romeo fans, warm up your credit cards: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced today the names of 86 dealers that will operate an Alfa Romeo franchise in the U.S. and Canada. We've known that the brand is on its way back to the U.S. for a while, but it's taken years for the specifics to be unveiled. After the 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C's official launch in New York earlier this year, the details are finally becoming clear, including where shoppers can get their hands on the stunning new coupe.

2015 Alfa Romeo 4C: First Look

The initial list of dealers was drawn from existing Fiat and Maserati dealers in 33 states — 82 dealers in the U.S. and four in Canada. Peter Grady, vice president of Chrysler Group Network Development, said he expects the dealer network to eventually exceed 300 franchises in North America.

The 2015 4C is set to go on sale later this year; the special 4C Launch Edition will be the first to go on sale. Check out the complete list of dealerships below.

By Jennifer Geiger | June 10, 2014 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2013-2014 Fiat 500e

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Vehicles Affected: About 4,141 model-year 2013-14 Fiat 500e electric vehicles manufactured between Sept. 24, 2012, and April 4, 2014

The Problem: Cooling plates for the Power Inverter module may leak coolant into areas of the high-voltage circuitry, resulting in a short circuit that could cause the related service fuse to blow. This could cause a loss of vehicle propulsion while driving, increasing the risk of a crash.

The Fix: Chrysler will notify owners starting this month, and dealers will replace the Power Inverter module for free.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Chrysler at 800-853-1403 or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236, or visit www.safercar.gov, for more info.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

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By Matt Schmitz | June 9, 2014 | Comments (0)

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