Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Small and Fun 2015 Fiat 500

Confounding the experts who said an Italian subcompact wouldn’t do well in the US, the FIAT 500 has become one of the hottest and “gotta have it “, cars on the road today.  With models that range in attraction for different crowds the FIAT 500 has made a name for itself that is showing off and creating apprehension in the competition such as the Mini Cooper and Ford Fiesta.  Across the board, the 500 comes in a wide array of colors making it very attractive to younger generations, offers a playful attitude that the back to school crowd will enjoy.  Add an Abarth engine for some performance-oriented driving for those who are looking for a really nice ride, and even offers an all-electric model that makes the environmentalists very happy.

As a practical, affordable, and very fuel efficient offering from FIAT, the 500 is small and easy to enjoy for anyone who dares to have some fun.  Added for the new model year, the Abarth engine is mated to a new transmission, all models except the base model add a new seven-inch TFT instrument cluster and Bluetooth streaming and an additional USB port have been added.  These additions help to make the 500 an even better car to own than before and make the drive more enjoyable across the board.

The 500 feels like a super-sized go-kart on the road with its diminutive size and superior handling.  The steering is absolutely perfect and the braking is strong which allows this little performer to be a great choice for navigating city streets quickly and easily.  The suspension keeps things in order, not being the most finely tuned, but it doesn’t allow the car to lose its grip at all.  As an easy to enjoy choice, the FIAT 500 would make a great car for the back to school crowd in any one of the funky colors to choose from.  The manual transmission is so easy and fun the thought of using an automatic almost seems lazy in this fun little car.

Four engine setups are available for the 500 making it easy to find one that is going to suit the needs of just about any driver, as long as they aren’t looking for a large vehicle to drive.  The base engine found on the hatchback and cabriolet is a 1.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine that comes in with 101 horsepower and 98 lb.-ft. of torque.  All engines except the electric can be mated to either the five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.  For this base engine when paired with the transmissions the fuel efficiency offered is 31 city/40 hwy mpg for the manual and 27 city/34 hwy mpg for the automatic.

The second engine offered is placed in the engine compartment of the 500 Turbo and is a 1.4-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine that beefs up the power to 135 horsepower and 150 lb.-ft. of torque.  When matched to the transmissions the powertrain offers 28 city/34 hwy mpg for the manual and 24 city/32 hwy mpg for the automatic transmission of fuel mileage.

Third on the list is the engine found in the Abarth model which is a 1.4-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine that pushed the power number up to 160 horsepower and 170 lb.-ft. of torque.  Matched to the transmissions this offering comes in with fuel efficiency of 28 city/34 hwy mpg for the manual and 24 city/32 hwy mpg for the automatic.

Finally, the all-electric version called the 500e is powered by a 111 horsepower 147 lb.-ft. of torque electric motor that is mated to a single speed automatic transmission allowing a 122 city/108 hwy mpg equivalent to be achieved.  The charge range for the 500e shows up at 87 miles allowing for a decent amount of city driving on a single charge.

Comfort inside the FIAT 500 is reserved mainly to the front seat.  Passengers can fit in the back seat, but not for long periods of time.  With a unique style on the inside that matches it’s fun and cute appearance on the outside the interior is laden with controls that are easy to understand and use as well as enjoyable materials that look great and seem right at home in this fun little car.  The Abarth model adds a bit of sportiness to the interior with red stitching and a flat-bottom steering wheel.

Inspired by the 1957 version of the FIAT 500, this model looks similar but certainly upgraded and modernized for today’s crowd.  The exterior offers a tiny slit grill and two rounded headlights that give the look of a mustachioed foreigner driving down the road.  The short, stout and squat appearance of this interesting looking car makes it look like a lot of fun to drive, but not to haul anything at all.  As a very versatile vehicle, the hatchback offers Pop, Sport, Lounge and Turbo trim levels to enjoy.  A soft top version, the Cabriolet comes in Pop and Lounge trims to add some beach style fun to the equation.  Regardless of the model chosen, the 500 is a fun and inviting car that wants to enjoy life with its owner.

The FIAT 500 offer a very nice array of standard equipment including a leather-wrapped steering wheel, 15-inch covered steel wheels, air conditioning, cruise control, power windows/locks/mirrors, Bluetooth connectivity and a six-speaker audio system with a USB port.  For the Abarth model the standard equipment offered adds a Bose premium audio system, 16-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension and a leather-wrapped dashboard.  All models receive seven airbags, hill-start assist, and many other safety features to help keep everyone inside safe and secure.

The optional features offered for the 500 Lounge includes leather seats, heated front seats, rear parking sensors, a Bose audio system and automatic climate controls.  For the Sport model a sport- tuned suspension, 16-inche wheels, red brake calipers and a rear spoiler are all added to the mix. The Turbo model shows up with larger front brakes, an even more finely tuned suspension, 16-inch wheels and some cool trim accents.  The optional features for the Abarth model include 17-inch wheels, two-tone leather-trimmed seats and a choice of either red or white body striping.

The base model of the FIAT 500 starts out at $17,000 making this a very affordable and fun car to drive.  At the other end of the spectrum is the FIAT 500e which reaches as much as $32,500 making this a decent and affordable price range for those who want to drive a fun little car.

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