2019 Fiat 500 Abarth Driven
The reborn, retro-chic, Fiat 500 first graced North American shores back in 2011 and now, eight years down the line, we got behind the wheel of the peppy Abarth version to get one final sting from the scorpion as the entire 500 range is being discontinued by Fiat-Chrysler. Prepare for some top-down driving as we assess whether we’ll miss the 500 for what it is or for its vibe akin to an endless summer holiday in the rolling hills of Tuscany.
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.
A New EV-Only Fiat 500 Is on the Way, But What Will It Look Like?
Fiat has been selling the current 500 city runabout for over ten years, mostly unchanged, and it will have to replace it with an all-new model fairly soon. Back in 2007, when it was first revealed, it was a response to the success that BMW was having with the MINI Cooper and VW with its revived Beetle, both of which were unashamedly retro-inspired.
Times are changing now, and the focus is more on how green cars are these days, as well as their level of perceived quality - how “premium” they feel. Fiat is reportedly working on the next-gen 500 and it is apparently not only going to be slightly bigger than the current car, but also fully-electric and considerably more luxurious.
2019 Fiat 124 Abarth and 500 Abarth
Fiat 500 Jolly Icon-E by Garage Italia
Ask every non-car nut out there what automobile spells Italy best, and you’re likely in for an overwhelming percentage of answers saying that’d be the Fiat 500. Of course, Italy’s crème de la crème has more to do with the likes of Ferrari and Lamborghini these days, but don’t be quick to judge until you’ve got a glimpse at Garage Italia’s 500 Jolly Icon-E. Where E stands for electric.
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 Fiat Concept Centoventi Points to the Automaker’s Future While Celebrating its Past
Fiat is at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show with the goal of flipping the narrative in terms of electric car ownership. That “goal” arrives in the form of the Centoventi EV Concept, a futuristic interpretation of a future mass-market electric car. The Centoventi EV Concept’s existence is not only owed to Fiat’s long-awaited plans for electrification but to also celebrate the automaker’s 120th anniversary. Yes, Fiat has been around that long. Celebrations aside, Fiat aims to turn the Centoventi EV from a concept showcase of its future to an actual production model with the cheapest electric battery on the market. Whether the automaker can pull it off remains to be seen, but the important thing, at least for now, is that the wheels are in motion for that to happen.
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 Abarth 124 Rally Tribute
Abarth is headed to 2019 Geneva Motor Show with a spicy special edition sports car that pays tribute to the Abarth 124 Rally racer that triumphed in the 2018 FIA R-GT Cup. The special edition 124 Spider is appropriately called the Rally Tribute Special Edition, and it packs a collection of exclusive features that celebrates its status as a tribute car to the rally racer that, in addition to winning the R-GT Cup, also collected 40 class victories in the 12 national championships in which it competed. Only 124 units of the Abarth 124 Rally Tribute will be made. Pricing and allocation details haven’t been announced, but expect the special edition 124 to fetch north of $30,000 on account of the base Abarth 124 that starts at $28,295.
Fiat didn’t really want to make the 500e, but it was forced by emissions regulations to add a full EV to its lineup, which it reluctantly did back in 2013. The vehicle itself wasn’t received particularly well at the time, being criticized for its limited range and availability, as well as its high price - it can only be ordered in the states of California and Oregon, although there are plenty you can now buy second hand wherever you live, even in Europe where it was never intended to be sold.
Believe it or not, the 500e is still on sale and has gone essentially unchanged for the last six years, but it’s never really been that popular, an issue with which it hasn’t been helped by the constant introduction of new and better EVs. But, the 500e is not all bad, thanks to its instantly recognizable styling, peppy performance, and decent usability if you’re buying it exclusively for short journeys not too far away from a charging point.
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.”
$7.2 Billion - That’s the Check FCA Gets to Cash for Offloading Magneti Marelli
This was in the to-do list for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles ever since the company’s new CEO, Mike Manley, filled the shoes of the late Sergio Marchionne. Now, the company has sold its component unit, Magneti Marelli, to Calsonic Kansei Corporation for €6.2 billion, which is approximately $7.2 Billion at current exchange rates.
What is the Cheapest Fiat?
Fiat’s Cheapest model is the base 500 which, surprisingly, really hasn’t changed much over the years. Sure, it’s been updated as it evolved through different generations, but it’s still the small flamboyant car it’s always been. It starts out at $16,495 and is suitable as a city car or those without big families.
What is the Sportiest Fiat?
Since Fiat produces mainly city cars and small, 500-based SUVs, the only sporty model in its range is the 124 Spider. That model is based on the Mazda Miata and is powered by a 1.4-liter four-cylinder that delivers 160 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. If you go for the Abarth model, you’ll get 164 horsepower and sportier design cues. Pricing for the 124 Spider starts out at $24,995.
What is the Most Popular Fiat?
Fiat might be struggling in the United States, but the brand as a whole sells pretty well over in Europe. The most popular model, not surprisingly, is the 500. I know, you were probably expecting to hear me say it’s the 124 Spider, but the truth is that the 124 is a low-volume car, and the 500 is perfect for the parking and traffic congestion nightmare that is driving through almost any European city.
What is the Most Expensive Fiat
Fiat isn’t a high-end automaker, so every one of its models are considered affordable. The most expensive of all, with the exception of Abarth models, is the Fiat 500e – the all-electric 500. It looks nearly identical to the standard, gas-drinking 500, but is powered by a battery and electric motors. With the right setup, the 500e can be charged in just four hours and can go a not-so-impressive 84 miles on a single charge according to the EPA.
What is the Fastest Fiat?
If you want the fastest Fiat, you won’t find one here in the U.S. Instead, you’ll have to fly over to Europe and find yourself a Fiat 695 Biposto. It’s basically a glorified Fiat 500 that has a 1.4-liter that’s been tuned to deliver 190 horsepower. Billed as the “fastest street legal Abarth ever,” the 695 can hit 60 mph in less than six seconds – more than an inch quicker than the best 500 we can get here in the United States.
Are Fiats Reliable
Like a lot of models produced under the FCA umbrella, the Fiat brand could have better ratings. Just back in 2015, the 500L was named as one of the most unreliable vehicles on the road thanks to a faulty infotainment system that only worked when it wanted to. However, according to Repair Pal, the Fiat brand is actually quite reliable overall, with a rating of 4 out of 5, which places it above average in terms of reliability. According to that outlet, the cost of yearly repairs averages $556 while the frequency of unscheduled repairs is 0.2 times per year. Severity of there repairs is quite low with only 15-percent being considered urgent.