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2019 Fiat 500 Abarth Driven

2019 Fiat 500 Abarth Driven

One last go in Fiat’s fun and spirited city car

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.

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Wallpaper of the Day: 2106 - 2019 Fiat 500

Wallpaper of the Day: 2106 - 2019 Fiat 500

The Fiat 500 might be a bit unconventional by modern styling trends, but it has its own loyal following. Never has that been more evident than when we look at its sales figures, which have exceeded more than 1.5-million units sold since 2007. Needless to say, it’s an old favorite among its followers and it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere soon. It was updated for the 2016 model year and will probably get a revamp in the near future. Until then, we want to cater to our 500 fanboys out there and declare the Fiat 500 our wallpaper of the day. We’ve hand-picked our favorite, but there’s plenty more in the gallery at the bottom of this page if you find yourself wanting a little more. Go ahead and snag them up – they are free!

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2017 Abarth 695 Rivale

2017 Abarth 695 Rivale

Special edition Abarth 695 joins the 695 Rivale 175 Anniversary in honoring yacht-maker’s long and storied history

The Abarth 500 has been on the receiving end of some interesting special edition models in the past. We’ve seen the Abarth 695 Biposto Record, the 595 Yamaha Factory Racing Edition, and the 500 Track Experience, among others. None of them, though, can lay claim to the title of being the “most sophisticated Abarth ever.” That distinction, according to Abarth itself, now rests on the shoulders of the 695 Rivale Special Edition.

Developed specifically to celebrate the company’s close ties to yacht maker Riva, the 695 Rivale is the physical embodiment of the premium luxury that goes into the craft of building those sea vessels. Safe to say, that “most sophisticated Abarth ever” title fits the 695 Rivale. It’s inundated with aesthetic features that shine a big spotlight on the nautical theme of the compact car. Inside and out, the 695 Rivale is decked to the brim with luxury, the kind you expect from any one of the yachts that Riva has built in its 175-year history. The special edition Abarth 695 doesn’t pack any power or performance upgrades, but that’s an inconsequential omission when you compare it to the quantity and quality of cosmetic additions given to the hot hatch. There’s no word yet on how many models Abarth plans to build of the 695 Rivale, but another special edition model, the Abarth 695 Rivale 175th Anniversary, is limited to just 350 units, divided into 175 units for the coupe model and another 175 for the cabriolet version.

Update 02/21/2018: Our friend Cyril stopped by a showroom in Paris and snapped a few shots of the Abarth 695 Rivale. Check them out in the gallery below!

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If The US-Spec Fiat 500 Received an Updated Styling, Why Does it Still Look the Same?

If The US-Spec Fiat 500 Received an Updated Styling, Why Does it Still Look the Same?

I guess new fog lamps count as "upgrades" now?

The updated Fiat 500 has been revealed at the Chicago Auto Show, and as far as revelations go, it didn’t really reveal anything of importance other than the hatch getting a standard 1.4-liter turbocharged engine. The new 500 also received what Fiat described as a “sportier appearance.” That would’ve been great, except that, by and large, the 500 still looks the same.

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The Chicago-Bound Fiat 500 Is Really Old, Including the "New" Turbo Engine

The Chicago-Bound Fiat 500 Is Really Old, Including the "New" Turbo Engine

Get a Mini Cooper instead!

The Fiat 500 may have received a turbocharged engine at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show, but it’s not something you should get excited about. The force-fed 1.4-liter four-cylinder is actually at least five years old and its introduction is more of a return to the market. The engine was first offered in the 500 Turbo model in North America in 2013 and remained into production until 2016. It was rated at 135 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque, only two pound-feet short of the "new" engine. A similar unit, but with the full 152 pound-feet, was previously offered on Euro-spec Abarth models.

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Fiat Adds Turbo Fun Across The 500 Lineup At Chicago Auto Show

Fiat Adds Turbo Fun Across The 500 Lineup At Chicago Auto Show

Forced induction adds a youthful vigor to the base model and mid-grade

When the Fiat 500 was first introduced way back in 1957, it was offered as a zippy little runabout that could tackle the pressures of city driving in style. While not necessarily fast, the 500 was considered quick enough, and it offered the diminutive exterior dimensions desired for urban living. Since then, the 500 has changed. It’s bigger now, and the name has been applied to other segments as well, with both a tall-riding crossover and all-electric iterations making their debut over the years. Unfortunately, as we all know, these segments aren’t necessarily bywords for fun, and the world’s standard for “quick enough” has moved on. Now, though, it looks like the Italian icon is getting a little closer to its fun-to-dirve roots thanks to a solid dose of turbocharging under the hood.

Continue reading for the full story.

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2017 Fiat 500C - Driven

2017 Fiat 500C - Driven

Tiny, topless Italian

Dated and diminutive it may be, but the Fiat 500 remains a frugal and fun — and tiny — car. Adding a canvas top to the pint-size Cinquecento just increases the smiles-per-gallon it generates.

As a cheap-and-cheerful commuter, the Fiat 500 has long been a favorite of mine for its European style and driving characteristics. Among cars in its price range, the little Italian remains near the top of my fun-to-drive list. The Fiat 500C has even more charm thanks to its fully retractable roof.

For 2017, Fiat simplified the 500 lineup to just three trims: base-level Pop, leather-trimmed Lounge, and sporty Abarth. All are available with the “C” designation, which stands for “Cabrio.” In prior years, there were twice as many trims available. Most of the equipment from those additional trims is still available in the options list.

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2017 Fiat 500C Missoni by Garage Italia Customs

2017 Fiat 500C Missoni by Garage Italia Customs

One-off creation fetches huge bid in auction to benefit AIDS research

The fashion and automotive worlds have crossed paths many times in the past, often in the form of special edition creations such as this Fiat 500C. The ventures have not always yielded good results, but all of them are magnets for attention, for better or worse. The latest in a long line of these special editions come by way of Garage Italia Customs, which created this bedazzling 500C in the name of fashion designer Angela Missoni, the creative director of the Italian brand that wears the same name.

Those who are familiar with the Missoni fashion brand will know that it prides itself on colorful design palettes, something that we see in all its glory on the 500C. Garage Italia Customs’ treatment is also what you’d expect from an automotive custom shop whose past design works include the Fiat 500 Paco Rabanne Edition, another glistening collaboration with the fashion and automotive industries. The Missoni-inspired 500C is colorful to a hilt, and whether you like it or not, it received enough attention to gather what Garage Italia Customs called a “generous” bid when it was auctioned off at the ninth annual charity event organized by amfAR in Milan, Italy last September 21. The proceeds of the car’s auction are earmarked for AIDS research, so whoever ended up paying the “generous” amount to take home this one-off 500C should be happy that his money is going to the right place. Even better, he gets to take home arguably one of the most colorful Fiat 500Cs to come out in recent memory.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Fiat 500C Missoni by Garage Italia Customs

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1957 - 1975 Fiat 500

1957 - 1975 Fiat 500

It’s not often that a car becomes so indelibly tied to an automaker that the two become nearly synonymous, but that’s the case with the Fiat 500. While the new, third-generation 2007 Fiat 500 was created in 2007, its predecessor was first launched a half-century prior. Also known as the “Cinquecento” in Italian, the second-generation, or “Nuova” (“New”) 500 was originally billed as affordable, practical, small car for scooting around town. More importantly, it’s the model that marked the rebirth of Fiat and the beginning of recovery for post-war Italy. Nearly 4 million examples of the vehicle were produced over the course of its 18-year production, and today, it remains a true icon of European motoring.

Through the years, the 500 saw a few different body styles and minor equipment changes, but the basic formula remained unaltered from the original. The result was an enormous success for Fiat, and today, it remains part of the automaker’s identity, providing inspiration for the current model with the same combination of nippy performance, small packaging, big practicality and eye-catching looks.

Simply put, the Nuova 500 was, and continues to be, Fiat’s most famous car of the people.

Continue reading to learn more about the 1957-1975 Fiat 500.

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2015 Fiat 500 "I Defend Gala 2015" One-Off Edition

2015 Fiat 500 "I Defend Gala 2015" One-Off Edition

"The very rich are different from you and me," Fitzgerald once wrote. Let’s hope so. Let’s really hope so.

If you could capture and amplify the thoughts of most people upon seeing this Fiat, the collective "What the Hell??" would be heard around the world. This year, Fiat arrives at what is probably the world’s greatest and richest charity event. They do so with a one-off car destined for the auction block; the attendees will hopefully assist with checkbooks at the ready.

In the meantime, let’s take a moment to step back and truly appreciate one work of art(?) that could truly stand to make a difference in the world — especially to the lives of people who are very different from you and me.

Continue reading to learn more about the Fiat 500 "I Defend Gala 2015" One-Off Edition.

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Mopar Is Already Making The New 500 Unique

Mopar Is Already Making The New 500 Unique

It’s been about a week since Fiat unveiled the refreshed 2016 Fiat 500, and the folks over at Mopar have already introduced a line of accessories for Italy’s neo-retro hatch. As usual, we’re talking about "more than 100 specific accessories" that can be used to customize the 500 in many ways. The opportunities are manifold, and allow buyers to take home personalized cars.

Customers can choose between three exterior Sport packs. Dubbed Black, Red and White, each adds a colored stripe along the beltline of the car, as well as matching mirror caps. Additionally, the roof and mirror caps can be wrapped in a choice of five wrapping films, including Microcarbon Black, Matt Silver, Matt Titanium, Military Green and Jeans. Other exterior parts include an array of alloy rims in different designs and sizes (14- to 16-inch), side badges, chrome-plated moldings for the roof and rear spoiler, and a tailgate rack for transporting winter sports equipment like skis and snowboards.

Interior options might not be as varied, but include sporty goodies such as aluminum pedal covers and foot rest and steel kick plates. Buyers can also opt for customized carpet mats and accessories like a coat hanger on the front head restraint.

But wait, there’s more...

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2016 Fiat 500

2016 Fiat 500

Fiat has unveiled its latest refresh for the 500, giving the diminutive hatch a tweaked exterior style, a much improved interior appointment, and an updated drivetrain, all with that characteristic 500 flair. For the 2016 model year, the 500 isn’t a dramatic departure over the outgoing model, but it does well to keep the iconic model feeling new.

Keeping the 500 from going stale is critical for Fiat, as the automaker has been inconsistent when it comes to moving units as of late. After all, the 500 is one of the brand’s most visible products, with a history of offering the masses style, self-expression and mobility, all without breaking the bank.

Originally offered on July 4th, 1957, the “new” Fiat 500 was reintroduced in 2007, and now, eight years later, Fiat hopes to continue to capitalize on its heritage with a modern take on the old 500 vision. So far, the 500 has done well to capture buyer’s interest, with 1.5 million vehicles sold worldwide since 2007.

All told, the 2016 model offers a renewed look at an old favorite.

Updated 07/03/2015: Fiat dropped the official details on the revised Fiat 500 with just one day before its world debut.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 Fiat 500.

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Fiat Recalls Electric 500e For Cruise Software Update

Fiat Recalls Electric 500e For Cruise Software Update

Fiat Chrysler Automotive has issued a voluntary recall for 3,975 2014 Fiat 500e electric hatchbacks. The issue is related to faulty cruise-control software that was installed on some 500es that could potentially misread torque levels of the electric motors. This can cause the motors to engage a fail-safe mode and shift to neutral. The fault can occur when cruise control is being used and the driver attempts to override it by stepping on the accelerator. FCA engineers discovered the problem after an investigation and review of warranty data.

The recall affects roughly 40 percent of the 10,462 Fiat 500es sold in the United States between 2013 and 2015, and FCA says no known injuries, fatalities or customer complaints have occurred as a result of the problem. FCA is providing a software update to dealers as well as service instructions and will notify owners of affected vehicles. The fix is being provided at no cost to owners.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Fiat 500 Facelift Caught Testing: Spy Shots

Fiat 500 Facelift Caught Testing: Spy Shots

It’s been only a week since our paparazzi spotted a pair of facelifted Fiat 500s resting in a garage, and we’ve just received photos of the exact same cars on the go. Unfortunately, both the hatch and the convertible are still covered in swirly wrap top to bottom. However, the good news is that our spy photographers managed to find out precious information about the updated 500. Specifically, they basically confirmed what I already suspected: the 500’s front fascia has borrowed most of its styling from the 2016 500X crossover.

Whether this is good or bad is a matter of taste really, but it also depends on the number of details the city car got from its larger sibling. If you ask me, the bigger, oval headlamps would be a dramatic improvement over the previous model, but I’d prefer that the turn signals below would be kept significantly smaller than on the crossover.

As noted in the previous spy shots article, there will be a longer grille and revised fog lamps relocated further apart. There’s no word as to what changed around back, but the photos suggest redesigned taillight clusters and a beefier, reshaped rear bumper. We should find out more about it as we move closer to the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show in September, where the face-lifted 500 is reportedly set to break cover. Stay tuned for more spy shots with less camouflage and more details to talk about.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Facelifted Fiat 500 Parked In A Garage: Spy Shots

Facelifted Fiat 500 Parked In A Garage: Spy Shots

Since its revival in 2007, the Fiat 500 has yet to receive a comprehensive styling update. Sure, the Italians launched the half-convertible version known as the 500C, the performance Abarth model, and even an electric version, but, eight years later, mostly all body panels are the same. That’s about to change with the arrival of the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, where Fiat should unveil the facelifted 500 our paparazzi just caught resting in a parking lot.

Before you get too excited, let me point out that this facelift is not as revolutionary as it sounds. Fiat may change a few things inside and out, but not to the extent that the 2016 500 will be perceived as an all-new car. The neo-retro design and most of the styling cues that made the Nuova 500 famous are here to say, despite the nips and tucks.

Last time we saw the 2016 500 testing in the wild, the hatch was only wearing camouflage to its front and rear fascias, suggesting those were the areas Fiat had focused on. These new spy shots, on the other hand, depict a completely camouflaged car, a hint that the update may include a lot more new details. We’ll probably find out more at the Frankfurt Motor Show, but until the German event begins, let’s have a look at what we already know about the upcoming 500.

Continue reading for the full story.

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2014 Fiat 500 Abarth - Driven

2014 Fiat 500 Abarth - Driven

The Fiat 500 may be a relatively new vehicle to the U.S. market, having swam across the pond for the 2010 model year, but the little hatchback can trace its clear roots to the original Fiat Nuova 500 of 1957. The little car was pure Italian with character to boot. A ragtop, suicide doors, and a two-cylinder engine that produced a modest 13 brake horsepower and displaced — you guessed it — 500 cc. For U.S. buyers, the latest 500 comes in a cute Italian wrapper powered by a modest four-cylinder. The Abarth edition that showed up for 2012, however, eats the cuteness and spits it out its sport exhaust. The 500 Abarth might be small, but it packs a wallop.

I recently got a second stint in the Fiat 500 Abarth, though this one had a solid roof. You may recall my previous 500c Abarth review. Surprisingly the roof was nearly the only difference between the two cars. Even the paint matched. This gave a great comparison of the differences between the hatchback and cabrio versions.

But first, let’s look at what sets the Abarth apart from the standard 500. Most notable is the engine. The Abarth replaces the 500’s 101-horsepower, 98-pound-feet of torque 1.4-liter four-cylinder with a turbocharged 1.4-liter MultiAir engine making 160 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. The transmission is swapped for a heavy-duty, five-speed manual. The ride height is dropped 0.7 inches and includes much stiffer shocks, the front brakes are an inch larger in diameter, the appearance is upgraded inside and out, and of course, that loud exhaust system is added.

Click past the jump for more on the 2014 Fiat 500 Abarth

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2014 Fiat 500c Abarth - Driven

2014 Fiat 500c Abarth - Driven

The Fiat 500 first saw life back in 1957 as the Fiat Nuova 500 and was an inexpensive little city car that became extremely popular throughout Italy. Its small, two-cylinder engine displaced roughly 500cc — hence the name — and produced a modest 13 brake horsepower. It enjoyed a ragtop roof that slid rearward and a pair of suicide doors. In comparison to today’s cars, the original Fiat 500 was a toy, only standing chest height to the average person. Production ended in 1975 and the 500 name laid dormant until 2007 when the current version became available in Europe.

The Fiat 500 swam the pond in 2010, marking the first time Fiat sold vehicles in the U.S. since 1984. The return happened, thanks to Fiat’s purchase of Chrysler and the two automakers’ global alliances. The car has remained unchanged for the most part, except the additional Abarth trim level new for 2012. That sporty trim added a ton of go-fast, have-fun goodies to Fiat’s spunky little run-about.

I recently spend a week getting to know the Fiat 500c Abarth. You’ll notice the ‘c’ in the 500’s name, well that signifies it carries a ragtop roof, just like the original Fiat 500 did. This 500, however, has 147 more horsepower than the original, a sweet exhaust note, and a superb five-speed manual gearbox. This thing is like the Mazda Miata of Italy — the tossable plaything that begs to be driven hard.

Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Fiat 500c Abarth

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