2020 Honda Civic Si vs. 2019 Fiat 500

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/15

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Honda Civic Si Sedan are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Fiat 500 doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

Using vehicle speed sensors and seat sensors, smart airbags in the Civic Si deploy with different levels of force or don’t deploy at all to help better protect passengers of all sizes in different collisions. The Civic Si’s side airbags will shut off if a child is leaning against the door. The 500’s airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.

The Civic Si has standard Collision Mitigation Braking System, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The 500 doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The Civic Si’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The 500 doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The Civic Si has standard HondaLink Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The 500 doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Civic Si and the 500 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

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

Civic Si

500

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

201

384

Neck Injury Risk

20%

30%

Neck Stress

176 lbs.

406 lbs.

Neck Compression

53 lbs.

152 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

192/350 lbs.

436/571 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

3 Stars

HIC

265

301

Chest Compression

.6 inches

.6 inches

Neck Injury Risk

34%

49%

Neck Stress

131 lbs.

256 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

445/224 lbs.

479/866 lbs.

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

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Honda Civic Si Sedan is safer than the 500:

Civic Si

500

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

POOR

Restraints

GOOD

POOR

Steering Column Movement Rearward

0 cm

7 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Femur Force R/L

.2/.5 kN

8.2/4.2 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

1.69%/.79%

Lower Leg Evaluation

ACCEPTABLE

POOR

Tibia index R/L

.51/.99

1.69/.79

Tibia forces R/L

2.2/3.5 kN

6.4/4.8 kN

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 and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Honda Civic Si is safer than the Fiat 500:

Civic Si

500

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

306 lbs.

684 lbs.

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

68 G’s

70 G’s

Hip Force

356 lbs.

852 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

3 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

14 inches

Spine Acceleration

37 G’s

54 G’s

Hip Force

727 lbs.

1103 lbs.

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

Warranty

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Honda’s powertrain warranty covers the Civic Si 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Fiat covers the 500. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the 500 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are over 2 times as many Honda dealers as there are Fiat dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Civic Si’s warranty.

Reliability

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A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Civic Si’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the 500’s camshaft. If the 500’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Civic Si’s reliability 48 points higher than the 500.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Honda vehicles are more reliable than Fiat vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Honda 16th in reliability. With 103 more problems per 100 vehicles, Fiat is ranked 31st.

Engine

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The Civic Si’s 1.5 turbo 4-cylinder produces 70 more horsepower (205 vs. 135) and 42 lbs.-ft. more torque (192 vs. 150) than the 500’s standard 1.4 turbo 4-cylinder. The Civic Si’s 1.5 turbo 4-cylinder produces 48 more horsepower (205 vs. 157) and 9 lbs.-ft. more torque (192 vs. 183) than the 500 Abarth’s optional 1.4 turbo 4-cylinder. The Civic Si’s 1.5 turbo 4-cylinder produces 45 more horsepower (205 vs. 160) and 22 lbs.-ft. more torque (192 vs. 170) than the 500 Abarth’s standard 1.4 turbo 4-cylinder.

As tested in Car and Driver the Honda Civic Si is faster than the 500 Abarth (manual transmissions tested):

Civic Si

500

Zero to 60 MPH

6.3 sec

7 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

15.9 sec

19.2 sec

Quarter Mile

14.8 sec

15.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

96 MPH

88 MPH

Top Speed

137 MPH

129 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the Civic Si gets better fuel mileage than the 500:

MPG

Civic Si

Manual

1.5 turbo 4-cyl.

26 city/36 hwy

500

Manual

1.4 turbo 4-cyl.

28 city/33 hwy

Abarth 1.4 turbo 4-cyl.

28 city/33 hwy

Auto

1.4 turbo 4-cyl.

24 city/32 hwy

Abarth 1.4 turbo 4-cyl.

24 city/32 hwy

The Civic Si has 1.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the 500 (12.4 vs. 10.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

The Civic Si has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The 500 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

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A six-speed manual is standard on the Honda Civic Si, with closer gear ratios for better performance and a lower final drive ratio for quieter highway operation, less engine wear and better fuel mileage. Only a five-speed manual is available for the 500.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Civic Si’s brake rotors are larger than those on the 500:

Civic Si

500

Front Rotors

12.3 inches

11.1 inches

Rear Rotors

11.1 inches

9.4 inches

The Civic Si stops much shorter than the 500:

Civic Si

500

70 to 0 MPH

159 feet

195 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

106 feet

117 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Civic Si has larger tires than the 500 (235/40R18 vs. 195/45R16). The Civic Si’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 500 (235/40R18 vs. 205/40R17).

The Civic Si’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the 500’s standard 45 series tires. The Civic Si’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the 500 Abarth’s optional 40 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Civic Si has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the 500. The Civic Si’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 17-inch wheels optional on the 500 Abarth.

The Honda Civic Si’s wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Fiat 500 only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.

Suspension and Handling

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For superior ride and handling, the Honda Civic Si has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Fiat 500 has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The Civic Si has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Civic Si flat and controlled during cornering. The 500 base model’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The Civic Si has a standard driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The 500’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The Civic Si’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The 500 doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Civic Si’s wheelbase is 15.7 inches longer than on the 500 (106.3 inches vs. 90.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Civic Si is 5.1 inches wider in the front and 6.2 inches wider in the rear than on the 500.

The Civic Si’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (60.3% to 39.7%) than the 500’s (64% to 36%). This gives the Civic Si more stable handling and braking.

The Civic Si Coupe handles at .97 G’s, while the 500 Abarth pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis

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As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Civic Si Coupe is quieter than the 500 Abarth:

Civic Si

500

At idle

40 dB

56 dB

Full-Throttle

84 dB

84 dB

Passenger Space

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Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Civic Si Coupe a Compact car, while the 500 is rated a Subcompact.

The Civic Si has standard seating for 5 passengers; the 500 can only carry 4.

The Civic Si Coupe has 13.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the 500 (88.6 vs. 75.5).

The Civic Si Coupe has 1.6 inches more front legroom, 6.3 inches more front hip room, 7.5 inches more front shoulder room, 4.2 inches more rear legroom, 5.5 inches more rear hip room and 6.2 inches more rear shoulder room than the 500.

Cargo Capacity

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The Civic Si Coupe has a much larger trunk than the 500 with its rear seat up (11.9 vs. 9.5 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

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To help each driver find a more comfortable driving position, the Civic Si has a telescoping steering wheel. Much better than just a tilt steering wheel or adjustable seat, this allows a short driver to sit further from the steering wheel while maintaining contact with the pedals. The 500 doesn’t offer a telescoping steering wheel.

The Civic Si’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The 500 has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.

The Civic Si’s standard power windows have a locking feature to keep children from operating them. Fiat does not offer a locking feature on the 500’s standard power windows.

The Civic Si’s front power windows open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The 500’s power windows’ switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.

The Civic Si’s standard power window controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The 500’s available power window controls are spread out on the center console where they can’t be seen without the driver completely removing his eyes from the road.

If the windows are left open on the Civic Si the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the 500 can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

Smart Entry standard on the Civic Si allows you to unlock the driver’s door, trunk and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Fiat 500 doesn’t offer an advanced key system.

The Civic Si’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The 500’s power mirror switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

The Civic Si has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The 500 doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The Civic Si has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The 500 doesn’t offer automatic headlights.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Civic Si detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The 500 doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Civic Si has standard extendable sun visors. The 500 doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The Civic Si Sedan has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The 500 doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

The Civic Si’s standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The 500 doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

For greater rear passenger comfort, the Civic Si Sedan has standard rear heat vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The 500 doesn’t offer rear vents.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Civic Si has a standard Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The 500 doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Model Availability

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The Honda Civic Si comes in coupe and sedan bodystyles; the Fiat 500 isn’t available as a sedan.

Economic Advantages

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The Civic Si will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Civic Si will retain 54.01% to 55.27% of its original price after five years, while the 500 only retains 26.63% to 34.46%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Civic Si is less expensive to operate than the 500 because it costs $209 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Civic Si than the 500, including $156 less for a water pump, $3 less for a muffler, $20 less for front brake pads, $220 less for fuel injection, $49 less for a fuel pump and $11 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Honda Civic Si will be $1404 to $2275 less than for the Fiat 500.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/15

Consumer Reports® recommends the Honda Civic Si, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Fiat 500 isn't recommended.

The Civic Si was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 2 of the last 2 years. The 500 has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The Civic was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 2 of the last 23 years. The 500 has never been an “All Star.”

A group of representative automotive journalists from North America selected the Civic as the 2016 North American Car of the Year. The 500 has never been chosen.

The Honda Civic outsold the Fiat 500 by almost 61 to one during 2018.

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

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