The five-speed manual version of the 2012 Fiat 500 is set to arrive with fuel economy ratings of 30mpg city and 38mpg highway, combining for an average of 33mpg. That puts the Fiat 500 on par with the Ford Fiesta and MINI Cooper, which both combine for 32mpg when equipped with a manual transmission.
The six-speed automatic version of the 500 is expected to be the line's volume model, but some buyers might be less than impressed with its fuel economy. At just 34mpg highway and 27mpg for the city, the automatic version of the 500 combines for 30mpg - trailing the MINI Cooper by 1mpg and the Ford Fiesta by 3mpg.
Production of the manual 500 began in early January with the automatic version joining production on January 24. The first wave of 500s should arrive on dealer lots sometime in March, with a full inventory expected by April.
About 50 of Fiat's planned 130 dealerships will be up and running by March, with the rest scheduled to open by year's end.
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