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2018 Fiat 500 Abarth

2018 Fiat 500 Abarth

Going for “molto bene” in a cutthroat segment

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?

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Fiat Bringing Abarth 124 GT with a Carbon Fiber Roof to Geneva

Fiat Bringing Abarth 124 GT with a Carbon Fiber Roof to Geneva

This is what a special edition Abarth 124 GT is all about

Fiat is bringing the Abarth 124 GT to the Geneva Motor Show with something no other roadster on the market has: a carbon fiber rooftop. The new special edition model will grace Geneva with a style upgrade we rarely see from a sports car in this segment. It’s got plenty of exclusive features beyond the carbon fiber rooftop; all adopted to make this particular version of the Abarth 124 GT stand out from the rest of its kind.

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2018 Fiat 500

2018 Fiat 500

The little Italian hatch gets mild updates for 2018

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.

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First Ever Zero Star Rating on the Euro NCAP? Don't Put Your Kids in a Fiat Punto

First Ever Zero Star Rating on the Euro NCAP? Don’t Put Your Kids in a Fiat Punto

Getting "0" on safety assists isn’t a good sign

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.

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2017 Fiat 500L City Cross Edition

2017 Fiat 500L City Cross Edition

The Fiat 500’s oversized alter-ego gets another special edition treatment

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

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Hoonigan Names New Female Racer For Fiat 124 Spider Abarth Rally Car

Hoonigan Names New Female Racer For Fiat 124 Spider Abarth Rally Car

Pushing the limits in a race-prepped two-door

For the past few months, Hoonigan and Fiat have conducted a talent search to find the “Next Female Hoonigan” racer. Today, it was announced that the search was over and a winner has been found. Taking the title is Sara Price, a 24-year-old hot shoe hailing from Canyon Lake in Southern California. Price started in motocross racing before taking on trophy trucks and side-by-side racers, and will bring that experience to rally racing in the Hoonigan Fiat 124 competition machine.

Price managed to secure her ride by beating five other finalists in a three-month long competition, which started with more than 150 individual entries from across the nation. To take the win, Price first had to take a road trip to the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving in Phoenix, Arizona, before continuing on to the Gridlife Music & Motorsports festival at Gingerman Raceway in South Haven Michigan. Eventually, Price showed she had what it took to be the next Hoonigan racer, and subsequently took the wheel of a 400-horsepower turbocharged Fiat 124 at the Mt. Washington hillclimb event in New Hampshire. Specs on the car include a six-speed pneumatic sequential transmission and anti-lag system, which is the right combo when tackling the 7.4 miles and 4,500 feet of elevation change at the hillclimb. Check out the video of Price’s run by hitting play above, including a glimpse at all the hard work it takes to run at the front at such a prestigious event.

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New Color Packages Should Jolt Some Life Back To The Fiat 500

New Color Packages Should Jolt Some Life Back To The Fiat 500

The little hatchback has always been a cosmetic car, so these new options help

The Fiat 500 should not be confused for a performance car, save for the Abarth edition. For the most part, the 500 is a cosmetic car and Fiat understands that better than anybody else. That’s a big reason why the Italian automaker is offering three new packages dedicated to the 2017 Fiat 500.

The new packages enhance the 500, bring more life to the sub-compact than it already has. Owners of the 500 can choose between the Sport Black Trim Package, the Two-Tone Appearance Package, and the lengthily named Abarth Roof, Mirror Cap, and Body Stripe Appearance Package. The three packages come with their own unique offerings, even if the overall purpose of adding more style to the Fiat 500 remains the same across all of them. Understandably, each package is also priced differently ranging from $295 for the Two-Tone Appearance Package all the way up to $1,295 for the Sport Black Trim Package. Fiat’s goal is clear in this regard: the three appearance packages are meant to entice customers. It’s a sound strategy that Fiat hopes could help bring sales of its hatchback up after rather disappointing numbers in 2016.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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2018 Fiat 500L

2018 Fiat 500L

Fix it again, Tony!

Fiat reintroduced the 500 nameplate back in 2007, and since then the subcompact has spawned a number of versions, including the 500L. The company’s only crossover-like vehicle until the 500X arrived, the 500L gained its first updates in 2016, after four years on the market, and another facelift for the 2018 model year.

The standard 500 is a funky little car that harkens back to the original in some aspects, while providing a modern feel that we all love. But, when it comes to the 500L, let’s just say it’s not the best looking car out there. It’s disproportionate in some areas and just odd looking in others – that’s just the nature of MPVs, though. Some might argue that Fiat really needs to ditch the MPV altogether and redesign the 500L into a full-fledged SUV, but the facelift fixes some of the old car’s design problems. With that said, let’s take a good look at what changed over the last few years.

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The 2016 Truck Rodeo: The Full Results

The 2016 Truck Rodeo: The Full Results

The nitty-gritty on the 70-plus vehicles at TAWA’s Truck Rodeo

By now you’ve probably read how the 2017 Ford Super Duty was crowned the Truck of Texas and that the 2017 Nissan Armada won the SUV of Texas. But the Super Duty and Armada were far from the only winners at this year’s Truck Rodeo put on by the Texas Auto Writers Association.

More than 70 journalists and social media influencers descended upon the 1,623-acre Longhorn River Ranch in Dripping Springs, Texas to test approximately 71 pickup trucks, SUVs, crossovers, and commercial vehicles in TAWA’s annual event.

A total of 17 categories grouped the vehicles with their competition, ranging from compact crossovers and full-size SUVs to Off-Road pickups. Other categories included best connectivity, best technology, and best powertrain.

Keep reading for the full results.

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2017 Fiat 124 Spider

2017 Fiat 124 Spider

A turbocharged alternative to the Mazda Miata

The Fiat 124 Spider first hit the road in 1966 as a 2+2 roadster based on the 124 Coupe’s platform. The model lived a long life, as it ran all the way through 1982. When Mazda announced that it was creating an all-new 2016 MX-5 Miata, it also let out that it co-developed the roadster’s chassis with FCA. Initially, FCA was going to use the chassis to underpin an Alfa Romeo roadster, but it later chose to use it under a Fiat model. Then, in March 2015 at the Geneva Auto Show, FCA announced that the new Fiat convertible would resurrect the 124 Spider nameplate starting in 2016. The roadster was finally unveiled at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Although it shares underpinnings with the new MX-5 Miata, the 124 Spider received an exterior styling of its own, sharing not even a single body panel with its Japanese sibling. The engine is also different, with Fiat opting to use one of its very own turbocharged four-cylinder unit.

If you’re among those who were whining about Mazda not offering a turbo Miata, then the 124 Spider might be what you’re looking for.

While they feature different exteriors and engines, the roadsters share an almost identical interior. That’s not to say Fiat was lazy and didn’t want to give the 124’s cabin an identity of its own. It actually has to do with reducing costs and the fact that the MX-5’s interior is very spacious and comfortable for a small car.

Updated 05/16/2016: Fiat dropped two new commercials for its latest 124 Spider called "Free Like a Bird" and "No Blue Pill Needed." The first of them is the first commercial ever filmed by an eagle, while the second one leverages the strength of the original award-wining ’Blue Pill,’ which has over 30 million views on YouTube. Hit "play" to watch them.

Continue reading to find out more about the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider.

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2018 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth

2018 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth

The performance-oriented Miata you’ve been asking for; with an Abarth badge

Rumors that Fiat might revive the 124 Spider, a stylish roadster from the 1960s, surfaced in 2014 and were confirmed at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, when Fiat came clean and revealed that there was a new roadster underway with Mazda MX-5 underpinnings. Various reports then claimed that Fiat 124 Spider will also be followed by a performance-oriented Abarth version with a more powerful engine and all the goodies that come with the scorpion badge. With the standard roadster unveiled at the 2015 Los Angeles Show, Fiat took the wraps off the performance-oriented version at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show.

Not surprisingly, the 124 Abarth was conceived using the same recipe applied to the 500 Abarth. It features a sportier body kit, a mildly revised interior with Abarth trim, and a more powerful version of the engine used in the standard model. On top of that, Fiat sprinkled a bit of its classic Abarth heritage in order to link the modern roadster to the original 124 Rally, a limited-edition homologation special.

Set to arrive in European showrooms for the 2017 model year, the 124 Spider Abarth is an extremely important car for this tight niche. The main reason for that is because Mazda said it won’t develop a high-performance version of the new Miata. So Abarth will exploit the potential of Mazda’s new chassis and give Miata lovers the power that the Japanese roadster has failed to deliver.

While Fiat has yet to confirm or release data about the U.S.-spec version, a similar model is very likely to cross the pond to North America and join the standard model. Until that happens, let’s have a closer look at the European version.

Updated 04/29/2016: FCA dropped prices on the 2018 Spider Abarth. Check the "Prices" section for the full details.

Continue reading to find out more about the 2018 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth.

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2018 Fiat C-SUV

2018 Fiat C-SUV

A bigger 500 buoy

Love it or hate it, the compact crossover segment remains as popular as ever, both domestically and abroad. Automakers of every stripe are cashing in on consumers’ love for small, jacked-up passenger vehicles, and Fiat Chrysler is certainly no exception. The Italian-American company’s current product lineup already includes the 500X, a sub-compact crossover based on the iconic Fiat 500 city car, but the marque lacks a contender for the slightly larger compact SUV segment. That could change with a new, as-of-yet unconfirmed C-SUV.

While official details are still under wraps, rumors have been swirling that Fiat is prepping the new model (which will possibly adopt the name “500XL”) for a reveal sometime in 2017 or 2018, with production kicking into shortly thereafter. The release will reportedly shadow the upcoming replacement for the Jeep Patriot and Compass, a.k.a. the “Jeep 551,” with the same platform shared between the two models.

Further speculation points to South America as the first market slated to receive the new model, given its construction on the continent. A global release would quickly follow.

We recently received a batch of spy shots that could very well have captured the upcoming Fiat C-SUV out doing some testing, although we’re not yet total certain. Either way, read on for my speculative review.

Continue reading to learn more about the Fiat C-SUV.

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