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Available in Europe since 2007-- the brand-new FIAT 500 arrives in North America for the 2012 model year.
FIAT's 500 for America delivers Italian panache with an enthusiastic punch. A standard 1.4L 4-cylinder engine delivers 101 horsepower. Not a lot of power, but the 500 weighs just over 2300 lbs. The car is front-wheel drive and comes with 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and standard stability control.
FIAT supposes the new generation FIAT 500 owner wants his or her car to be engaging, individualized, ecologically responsible and technologically savvy as they are. To that end FIAT delivers a 4-adult-passenger package clothed in a modern interpretation of details from its tiny predecessor, filled with sporting comfort and 21st-century science. The car has attracted an enthusiastic following among young urban professionals since its 2007 introduction in Europe.
The first of three trims is the "Pop," which comes with 15-inch painted wheels with shiny trim and includes seven air bags, climate control, an AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with an auxiliary audio input. There is a Vehicle Information Center with a broad range of analysis and display reporting, including tire pressure. The "Sport" is recognized by its 16-inch alloy wheels and unique front and rear panels, includes all this and adds a number of visual cues to the exterior, while upgrading the audio system to a BOSE with six of their premium speakers. FIAT's BLUE&ME hands-free communication technology is included as is a USB port and iPod control capability. Top of the line is the "Lounge" as the name suggests is a bit softer and has a 6-speed automatic transmission, and the BOSE system adds satellite radio and a security system. A fixed, tinted glass roof is also part of the Lounge style kit.
All current FIAT 500 models are front-wheel drive and powered by a 1.4-liter, DOHC, 16 valve, 4-cylinder engine with sequential multi-port fuel injection. It delivers 101 hp and 98 lb-ft of torque. While those are modest numbers for 2011, the FIAT 500 weighs 200 pounds less than a Mini Cooper. A 5-speed manual gearbox is standard on the Pop and Sport models, with a 6-speed automatic an option. The Lounge model comes only with the automatic. The manual transmission can attain 30 mpg city and 38 mpg highway.
Five different wheel and tire packages are available, and a range of unique striping and graphic materials can be dealer-installed. Interior environments can be had in black or ivory and 14 seat color and material combinations compliment 14 different exterior/interior paint colors.