Fiat Chrysler Automobile (FCA), the people who build the iconic Fiat 500, chose the fourth of July as a date earmarked for the launch of the new Fiat 500. The original compact city car was launched in 1957 and was kept in production until 1975, in which time over 3.8 million examples were produced.
Reincarnated half a century later in 2007, the not-so-compact city car was previewed to the world on the very day that Fiat chose to launch its new 500. In the eight years of production over, 1.5 million specimens were built. This new model hasn’t grown in terms of size but does get new technological upgrades and more efficient powertrains.
Just like the previous model, there will be hatchback and convertible body shapes. Aside from that, the new 500 will be available in three trim levels namely Pop, Pop Star and the range topping Lounge.
Not much has changed in terms of looks. The basic shape and styling has not changed in this new refreshed model. The front end gets a new lower gloss black mesh grille with the fog lamps and chrome trimmings to go with it. The lower light cluster has been reshaped to have a more slanted look. The 500 now gets LED day-time running lights.
Around the side however, there is no changes to the lines that run the length of the compact little Italian scamper. The previous version had a slab of chrome on the lower rear bumper. This new one incorporates a sleeker look with reflectors built in to it. The tail lamps, which Fiat calls an “empty light clusters” has a body coloured centre with the lights appearing around it to emanate from the bodywork, almost like an illuminated tattoo.
The interiors have been given a work over with a new dashboard that comes equipped with the Uconnect infotainment system. The range topping Lounge trim gets a touch screen display head unit. To accommodate this new unit, the air-cond vents and dashboard dome had to be reworked.
Aside from that, the new 500 gets a new multi-function steering wheel and instrument cluster which still retains analog style dials for the rev counter and speedometer. Although on the Lounge trim, an eight-inch Magneti Marelli manufactured TFT screen (optional) displays the gauges just like the newly launched Audi TT.
The new Fiat 500 never made to tear the streets of Rome. The newly expanded engine line-up for the British market has yet to be confirmed but Euro6 compliant bunch consists of the 69 hp 1.2-litre and the 900 cc two cylinder TwinAir duo that puts out 85hp and 105hp.
The range will be expanded after the launch with the 1.2-litre 69hp engine in ‘Eco’ configuration that will be equipped with a smart alternator, an aerodynamic pack and a new set of 14- or 15-inch tyres with low rolling resistance. The result ? The 58 hp TwinAir has an official fuel consumption figure of just 3.8 litres per 100 km on the combined cycle. Joining it is the 1.3-litre 16v Multijet II 95hp turbo diesel unit.
The Fiat 500 boasts as being one of the safest cars in its segment. The 1.2-litre variant is now armed with larger diameter brake discs for more effective braking. Standard across the range is seven airbags (front, window and side airbags, plus a driver’s knee airbag) remain as before. Active safety systems include ABS with electronic brake distribution (EBD), advanced electronic stability control (ESC), anti-slip regulation (ASR), Hill Holder and hydraulic brake assistance (HBA) to aid the driver in emergency situations.
A full range of Mopar accessories is also available from launch, including vintage-style wheels and a range of alloy wheels with different designs, colours and finishes. The mirror caps are available either in chrome or painted in a variety of different colours. New distinctive side badges, chrome roof mouldings, a rear spoiler and not to mention a whole range of decals for the sides and roof. Prices start in the UK from £10,890 or RM64,329.