Love It Or Hate It - There’s An Interesting Story Behind How the Fiat 500 Came to Be
The current Fiat 500 dates back to 2007 when it was introduced as a modern incarnation of an iconic and very successful city car that the Italian firm produced from 1957 to 1975. Developed in an era when Fiat was struggling, the 500 managed to put the Italian firm back on track and eventually in a successful partnership with Chrysler. Frank Stephenson, the man who designed the production version of the 500, recently posted a video in which he discusses how he designed the city car that’s now considered one of the most successful classic car revivals.
The Only Two Surviving Fiat 600 Multipla Mirafioris Drop By Jay Leno’s Garage
Jay Leno’s classic car collection is one of the biggest and most impressive out there. And it includes an amazing amount of rare vehicles. However, Leno is missing the weird and somewhat anonymous Fiat 600 Multipla Mirafiori, an MPV-style hauler built in just five units in 1958. Only two survived and they’re owned by the same enthusiast and he paid Leno a visit to showcase them.
The Fiat 500 Is Now Only Sold as an EV - Here’s What You Need to Know About It
EV technology is still not foolproof and people still have range anxiety. That is one of the reasons why buyers are steering clear from EVs until the range issue becomes as minuscule as it is in internal combustion cars. Perhaps that is why automakers are focusing on building urban EV commuters where the range anxiety is not the biggest issue.
Fiat is the latest automaker to dive into the urban EV market with its offering, the 500. Although it seems to be the electric version of the 500 hatch, the 500 is actually built new from the ground up.
The Fiat 500 L is classified as a Compact MPV – Minivan, as we know the term here in the United States – but it’s really more of a compact SUV or large hatchback. It’s been on the global market since 2012, but Fiat didn’t bring it to the states until the 2014 model year. It’s been on the market ever since, and was updated in 2018, but the truth of the matter is that the 500 L is still nearly eight years old. With this in mind, we’re kind of curious if the city car on steroids – remember, it’s based on the 500 city car – is still a viable choice in today’s market.
So, we spoke with our press fleet coordinator and managed to get our hands on a 2019 Fiat 500 L. A couple of weeks later, a 2019 Fiat 500 L Trekking showed up at Top Speed headquarters. This trim level sits above the entry-level Pop trim, but below the upper-class Urbana and Lounge trim levels with a starting price of $23,575. It is certainly positioned right in the middle of the affordable price bracket, but how does it drive? Is the aging 500 L comfortable and up to par with the competition? Does it provide the same thrills and entertaining experience as the smaller 500 that it’s based on? Well, after spending a week with the 2019 Fiat 500 L, we have answers to these questions and more – this is our story.
2019 Fiat 124 Abarth and 500 Abarth
2019 Fiat Centoventi Concept
For its 120th birthday, Fiat went to the 2019 Geneva Motor Show to present a concept car, except it’s really not a concept car. It’s called the Centoventi Concept, which literally translates to “one hundred and twenty” in our language. It’s not the most creative concept name in the world, but it’ll do, especially when you begin to understand what it’s really all about. Fiat’s press release calls the Centoventi Concept a vehicle that “perfectly expresses the Italian brand’s idea of electric mass mobility in the near future.” What that phrase doesn’t tell you is that the Centoventi Concept is a lot more than just a representation of Fiat’s vision for its future electric. The concept is also a blank canvas that invites user customization. It’s a design-your-own ride that lets you personalize the car’s design from the ground up. Future urban mobility? Sure, the concept is that, too. But it’s really a modular platform for creativity. The Centoventi Concept doesn’t really have a “look,” in large part because that “look” will depend on how you design it.
2019 Abarth 595 Esseesse
Fiat will launch a new performance flagship model for the 500 range in the form of the new, 2019 Abarth 595 esseesse that’s set to debut at the 2019 Geneva motor show. The Italian brand is also not only celebrating its 120th anniversary this year but the 70th anniversary of Abarth too, hence why it’s bringing this 500 and a limited series version of the Abarth 124 roadster to the auto show.
2019 Fiat 500X
Fiat has revealed its revised 500X crossover which has been nipped and tucked for the first time since its 2014 European debut (in the US for the 2016 model year it was launched). It comes with a refreshed exterior with new front and rear light clusters, more tech, and improved engines.
Update 12/12/2018: We’ve updated this review with images taken at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. Check them out in our gallery below!
Is The 2018 Fiat Panda a Death Trap? Here’s the Crash Test Video
Back in 2015, EuroNCAP rated the 2014 Fiat Panda Cross with three-star safety rating. Four years before, the same organization - the European New Car Assessment Program (EuroNCAP), tested the car and granted it a rather high four-star rating. Fast forward to 2018, and a recent safety evaluation tallied the Fiat Panda up as erringly bad. It received zero stars after EuroNCAP safety test performed in Brussels.
Is this now a worse car than it was before? How did it devolve? How can anyone buy it?
Well, let me tell you right away, the 2018 Fiat Panda is still the same car that it was in 2011. It did not change - at all. However, the EuroNCAP testing procedure is not the same. It is dramatically stricter, now requiring far more in terms of active safety gear. It also uses different dummies for testing (with a system that recognizes potential injuries better than before), and it tests the car for speed assistance, lane support, seat-belt reminders, and automatic emergency braking. None of this was required back in the day.
To answer the question from the title of this article I have to tell you that the latest 2018 Fiat Panda is not actually a death trap. It is just a simple city car that actually “meets or exceeds federal safety requirements in every market in which it is sold.”
2018 Fiat 500 1957 Edition
Fans of the Fiat 500 can’t seem to get enough of the 500 1957 Edition, so much so that the Italian automaker is rolling out a new version of the special edition model. The “new” 500 1957 Edition arrives this fall at a starting price of $20,740. There’s no stated cap on the model’s volume, but the package is available on hardtop and convertible versions of the 500.
2018 Fiat 500L S-Design
Fiat adds another name to its line of S-Design models, this time the family-friendly 500L. Based on the crossover-inspired 500L Cross, the aim of the S-Design version is to inject some extra style into the package, like it’s already done with the Tipo, 500X and 124 Spider.
2018 Fiat 500 Spiaggina by Garage Italia and Pinninfarina
Marking the 60th anniversary since the unveiling of the first special edition car based on the model 500 - the 500 Jolly, known as "Spiaggina," Fiat showcased their new limited edition of the latest Fiat 500. Called the Fiat 500 Spiaggina ’58, the new model is limited to 1958 units. A number which is an homage to the year Fiat showcased the original 500 Jolly, a car adored by rich and famous of the time.
However, apart from Fiat showcasing a rather cool Spiaggina ‘58 production model based on the 500C with a 1.2-liter, 69 horsepower engine, Garage Italia and Pininfarina prepared their own celebration model. It is a better one.
As the first Fiat car with an all-wheel-drive system, the Fiat 500X is definitely a unicorn when it comes to the Italian producer. It seems, though, that Fiat is only stuck with this unicorn, as their plan for the next five years does not include any major revitalization or rejuvenation. And, if the brand wants to survive, that is exactly what it needs. Actually, having Fiat completely disappear in a few years’ time isn’t that of a far-fetched idea.
Yet, despite all the media scrutiny that has been present ever since cheerful Marchionne laid out the new plan for the FCA group, Fiat revealed a new car called the 500X Adventurer Edition.
It is obviously yet another attempt at freshening up the car which appeared all the way back in 2014.
2018 Fiat 500 Urbana Edition
Originally introduced in 1957, the Fiat 500 remained in production for nearly 20 years, during which it became one of the most iconic vehicles in history. The nameplate was revived in 2007 as a competitor for the modern Volkswagen Beetle and Mini Cooper and was received with great enthusiasm. However, Fiat didn’t do much to upgrade it over the last 11 years, with only two minor facelifts launched as of 2018. The latest update was unveiled at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show, where Fiat also brought the turbocharged 1.4-liter engine back to the U.S. in a non-Abarth model. Two months later and the Italian brand launched a new special edition model called the Urbana Edition.
It’s become quite common for automakers to add special edition models when their facelifts aren’t very consistent, and this is exactly what the Urbana Edition is all about. With add-ons that include black trim, new wheels, and a limited color palette, the Urbana Edition was designed to keep things interesting for a vehicle that’s getting a bit long in the tooth. The 500 is not alone in this though, as both the 500L and 500X received identical packages. The 500 Urbana Edition will become available this spring.
Continue reading to learn more about the Fiat 500 Urbana Edition.
2018 Fiat 500 Abarth
Without a doubt, the Fiat 500 is an absolutely iconic automobile. First rolling off the production line way back in 1957, this tiny little go-getter found owners across Italy, eventually selling nearly 4 million units by the time it was discontinued in 1975. In 2007, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reintroduced the nameplate as a modern front-engine, FWD city car, infusing it with as much charm and fun as possible in an attempt to rekindle the old Cinquecento flame. Although bigger and heavier than those first 500’s, the new model managed to offer some real smiles behind the wheel, especially with the go-faster Abarth versions. Taking cues from the old school sport models, the new 500 Abarth gets more power, firmer suspension, and nippier steering, not to mention every aesthetic performance nod possible in such a small package. Fast forward to today, and the entire Fiat 500 lineup was upgraded for the 2018 model year with a turbo engine and a new look, but the fastest and most aggressive of the bunch remains the Abarth model. Upgrades over the normal 500 once again include all the right stuff – big wheels, big brakes, hard suspension, and more power, not to mention the requisite go-faster stripes in the flanks.
All told, the Fiat 500 remains a quirky and fun little city car with a decent splash of performance, a modern take on a classic micro machine. However, with so many other killer hot hatches on the market, such as the Ford Fiesta ST and Mini Cooper S, can the 500 Abarth keep pace, or has the scorpion lost some of its sting?
Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Fiat 500 Abarth.
2018 Fiat 500
One of Fiat’s most iconic nameplates, the 500 was originally introduced in 1957 and kept in production for almost two decades, until 1975. The nameplate was revived in 2007 as a neo-retro design based on the first mini car. It was Fiat’s answer to the modern Volkswagen Beetle and Mini Cooper, introduced in 1997 and 2000, respectively. The new 500 was received with great enthusiasm, and the addition of convertible and Abarth models made it that much more popular. However, unlike the Mini Cooper, the 500 soldiered on unchanged for years, with its first update launched in 2015. Three years have passed, and Fiat is again updating the small hatchback.
Unveiled at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show alongside the rest of Fiat’s North American lineup, the update is far from spectacular, but it does add a few new features to the 500’s cute exterior. The interior carries over unchanged, which is somewhat disappointing, but the drivetrain department has a new engine to brag about. It’s not as new as it is rehashed from an old model, but it’s significantly more powerful than the outgoing unit. More about that in the review below.
Continue reading to learn more about the Fiat 500.
First Ever Zero Star Rating on the Euro NCAP? Don’t Put Your Kids in a Fiat Punto
It’s rare for a car to be so bad at the European New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP) that it scores zero stars in the crash tests. It has actually never happened in the 20 years NCAP has been crashing cars. History has arrived, though, in the form of the Fiat Punto. The aging hatchback doesn’t have many distinguishing traits about it, but from this day forth, it will now live in infamy as the first and only car to ever get a goose egg in the European crash tests.
2017 Fiat 500L City Cross Edition
The Fiat 500L is effectively an oversized version of the 500 hatchback so, in essence, its identity is tied to the 500 name. Don’t mistake the 500L though for not having its own appeal because it has that in abundance, or at least enough to have become the subject of a string of special edition models over the years. Harken back to versions like the Beats Edition, the Urbana Trekking, and the Panoramic Edition, and you’ll see what’s up with the 500. Today, a new special edition version is added to the list. It’s called the City Cross Edition, and as the name suggests, it’s coming to the party with a host of rugged features.
There’s a lot to like with the Fiat 500L City Cross Edition. Apart from receiving new exterior bits and pieces, it also carries an exclusive paint color, upgrades to the interior, and a set of new wheels that can be availed in as many as nine different color options. There are no engine upgrades to speak of so don’t even bother looking for one. If that isn’t a problem, the 500L City Cross Edition holds a lot of appeal, especially to those who want to see more personality out of the high-riding 500 SUV. At least then, in that regard, Fiat did its work on this new special edition. It may not be the flashiest SE we’ve seen out of the 500, but it’s certainly bubbling with identity. That should be more than enough for a lot of people.
Continue after the jump to read more about the Fiat 500L City Cross Edition
2017 Fiat 500X Urbana Edition
The Fiat 500 is, without a doubt, the Italian automaker’s most famous and popular model. Drawing from the legendary and hugely successful model of the same name produced between 1957 and 1975, the modern 500 is a small, quirky little runabout designed for faultless urban transportation duty. The diminutive dimensions assist in tight parking spots, while a fun-loving attitude and nippy suspension set-up make it a blast behind the wheel. Don’t forget a stylish exterior as well. In 2014, Fiat reimagined the 500 as an ultra-compact crossover, and thus, the high-riding 500X was created. Given the popularity of compacts crossovers like the 500X, it makes sense that Fiat is giving it a new aesthetics package. It’s called the Urbana Edition, and it adds unique trim and colors to help it stand out from non-Urbana’d editions.
Based on the Trekking trim level, which Fiat has declared as the most popular trim level for the 500X, the Urbana Edition keeps all the same bits and pieces buyers have come to expect, including a functional interior with lots of space for hauling things, and the option for AWD as well. Mechanically, the Urbana Edition goes unchanged, and still gets the same 2.4-liter gas-burning engine producing 180 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque through a nine-speed automatic transmission (lower trim levels get a 1.4-liter engine with 160 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque). If you’re looking for a unique take on this Italian compact crossover, then continue reading for the details.
Continue reading to learn more about the Fiat 500X Urbana Edition.