Kelley Blue Book: Fiat 500 Named the 2011 Coolest New Car Under $18,000 image

The 2012 Fiat 500 was named the Coolest New Car Under $18,000 by Kelley Blue Book.

Kelley Blue Book’s kbb.com said of the Fiat 500, “Regardless of what the Hello Kitty mafia would like to believe, cute isn’t cool.

Not usually, anyway. But that’s because cute is rarely backed up by substance, as it is in the 2012 Fiat 500. It’s seven inches shorter than a Mini Cooper and positively adorable, but spend a day driving Fiat’s first U.S. offering in 28 years, and you’ll discover a comfortable, livable, well-built sub-compact car that just happens to have 10 times the personality of some of its cookie-cutter competitors.”

The 500 is 139 inches long, 63 inches wide and rides on a 90-inch wheelbase.
That compares with the Mini , which is 7 inches longer in base form, 3 inches wider and rides on a 7-inch-longer wheelbase.

The ride is surprisingly compliant for a small car, soaking up bumps without much harshness, and the car is well insulated from road noise. The one we get in the States is built at a Chrysler plant in Mexico and has more sound insulation than the European model.

The base sedan will sell for $15,550; the convertible for $19,500. Fiat will also sell you a bottle of sunblock to go with the folding canvas top. For that, you get a great little city runabout that may carry a hex.