2018 Fiat 500 vs. 2018 Subaru BRZ

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The 500’s blind spot mirrors use wide-angle convex mirrors mounted in the corner of each side view mirror to reveal objects that may be in the driver’s blind spots. The BRZ doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

Both the 500 and the BRZ have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available rear parking sensors.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Fiat 500 is safer than the Subaru BRZ:

 

500

BRZ

 

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Leg Forces (l/r)

436/571 lbs.

814/1004 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH, results indicate that the Fiat 500 is safer than the Subaru BRZ:

 

500

BRZ

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

3 Stars

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

The 500 comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes free 24-hour roadside assistance. The BRZ’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Reliability

The Fiat 500’s engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the BRZ’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

The engines in the 500 have a single overhead cam for simplicity. The engines in the BRZ have dual overhead cams, which add to the number of moving parts and the complexity of the cylinder heads.

Engine

The 500 has more powerful engines than the BRZ:

 

Torque

500 Abarth 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

183 lbs.-ft.

500 Abarth 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

170 lbs.-ft.

BRZ 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

151 lbs.-ft.

BRZ 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

156 lbs.-ft.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the 500 Abarth 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. (160 HP) gets better fuel mileage than the BRZ with its standard 4 cyl. (28 city/33 hwy vs. 21 city/29 hwy).

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Fiat 500 uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The BRZ requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Brakes and Stopping

The 500 stops shorter than the BRZ:

 

500

BRZ

 

80 to 0 MPH

228 feet

233 feet

Road and Track

60 to 0 MPH

117 feet

120 feet

Motor Trend

Chassis

The Fiat 500 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 300 pounds less than the Subaru BRZ.

The 500 is 1 foot, 10.3 inches shorter than the BRZ, making the 500 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The 500 is 5.8 inches narrower than the BRZ, making the 500 easier to handle and maneuver in traffic.

To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the 500 has liquid-filled engine mounts. The liquid helps further dampen engine harshness. The BRZ uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the 500 Abarth is quieter than the BRZ Limited (82 vs. 85 dB).

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the 500 is rated a Subcompact car by the EPA, while the BRZ is rated a Minicompact.

The 500 has 1.8 inches more front headroom, .6 inches more rear headroom and 1.8 inches more rear legroom than the BRZ.

Cargo Capacity

The 500 has a much larger trunk with its rear seat up than the BRZ (9.5 vs. 6.9 cubic feet).

The 500’s standard folding rear seats are split to accommodate bulky cargo. The BRZ’s standard single piece folding rear seat is not as flexible; long cargo and a passenger can’t share the rear seat.

Servicing Ease

The 500 has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The BRZ doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

A maintenance reminder system is standard on the 500 to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals for oil changes based on actual driving conditions. This takes the guesswork out of keeping your vehicle in top condition and helps it last longer. Subaru doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the BRZ.

Ergonomics

The 500’s speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The BRZ’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the 500 has a standard rear wiper. The BRZ doesn’t offer a rear wiper.

Consumer Reports rated the 500’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the BRZ’s headlights, which were rated “Good.”

The 500 has a standard center folding armrest for the driver and front passenger. A center armrest helps combat driver fatigue. The BRZ doesn’t offer a front seat center armrest.

Model Availability

The Fiat 500 comes in coupe and convertible bodystyles; the Subaru BRZ isn’t available as a convertible.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the 500 owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the 500 will cost $2600 to $6795 less than the BRZ over a five-year period.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Fiat 500 will be $44 to $8672 less than for the Subaru BRZ.

Recommendations

The Fiat 500 outsold the Subaru BRZ by over three to one during 2017.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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