SAN DIEGO -- In Laura Soave's view, the Fiat 500 appeals to the two opposite poles that drive automotive purchase decisions: the brain and the heart.
With its 38 mpg EPA highway rating and a price starting at $15,995, including delivery, the 500 will play to customers who want sensible, economical and green transportation. And, with its Italian heritage and brio, the 500 will tug at the heartstrings.
"We can play the best of both worlds with a balance of great style and design at a great price," said Soave, Fiat's North American brand chief, at the 500 media launch here.
Soave believes the 500's high mpg, near the top of the nonhybrid small-car standings, will lure customers who might also consider such vehicles as the Toyota Yaris, rated at 36 mpg highway. For those customers who buy cars based on emotional factors, the Mini Cooper is the target, Soave says.
"The Yaris gets you from point A to point B as long as you want a beige or gray interior," Soave said. "We're at a $4,000 value vs. the Mini."
Edmunds.com lists a base Mini Cooper at $20,100 and a base Yaris at $13,615. Both prices include destination.