Fiat Updates 500 Lineup for 2015


Visitors to the 2014 New York International Auto Show this month will find a 2015 Fiat 500 lineup with updated offerings inside, outside and under the hood. Perhaps the most significant among these is a newfangled gauge cluster with a 7-inch high-definition display, which will be standard on the 2015 Fiat 500 Sport, Lounge, Turbo and Abarth models, and optional on the Pop. Meanwhile, the performance-focused Abarth, Abarth Cabrio and Turbo models will offer a new six-speed automatic transmission.

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Fiat says the new Thin Film Transistor, or TFT, instrument cluster allows drivers to more easily monitor data including speed, fuel level, Eco index and trip info. On the main screen, an image of the vehicle is surrounded by info such as distance traveled, gas mileage and range; other display options include audio and phone screens showing station and call info, respectively. For models equipped with rear parking assist, a screen shows drivers their backup camera view.

By Matt Schmitz | April 7, 2014 | Comments (3)

More Electric Cars Than Ever, Still Not Available Everywhere

Where the electric cars are

As more manufacturers introduce electric cars, these battery-powered vehicles are becoming something people see on the road every day. At least in some parts of the country, they are.

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The number of purely electric vehicles offered in the U.S. will grow to a dozen by the end of this year. Many of those EVs are available only in a small number of states, however, with California being the epicenter of electric-car sales.

By Rick Popely | March 11, 2014 | Comments (1)

IIHS: Chevrolet Spark is Safest Microcar


This probably doesn't come as much of a surprise, but microcars just aren't as safe as larger vehicles, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's new round of crash tests. Of the 11 model-year 2013 and 2014 microcars and subcompacts evaluated, the agency reported that only the Chevrolet Spark earned an acceptable rating in the challenging small overlap front crash test. The 10 others in the group earned marginal and poor scores, the two lowest ratings. "Minicars are the worst performing group so far in this test," IIHS said in a statement.

22 Cars Earn IIHS' Revised Top Safety Pick Plus Award

The 40 mph crash test simulates the front corner of a vehicle striking a smaller-diameter object like a tree or a telephone pole. The Honda Fit and Fiat 500 got the lowest scores of the group. "In both the 2013 Honda Fit and the 2014 Fiat 500, intruding structure seriously compromised the driver space, and the dummy's head didn't stay in contact with the frontal airbag. The 500's driver door tore open at the hinges," IIHS said in a statement. The agency also reported that the side-curtain airbag failed to deploy in the Toyota Yaris (pictured below), leading to its low score.

By Jennifer Geiger | January 22, 2014 | Comments (20)

Fiat 500 Special Edition Dishes Italian Nostalgia


On July 4, 1957, the introduction of the Fiat Nuova 500 marked the beginning of the automaker's mission to provide an efficient, affordable car for the masses of Italy during the nation's post-World War II recovery. Now, the automaker is dipping into the nostalgia well with the limited-run, vintage-styled 2014 Fiat 500 "1957 Edition." It is set to arrive in spring 2014, which is 38 years after the last Nuova 500 hatchback rolled off the line in 1975; pricing will be announced closer to the launch.

Fiat says the two-door 1957 Edition is meant to be evocative of the romance surrounding Italian cars, brands, fashion and design.

By Matt Schmitz | November 14, 2013 | Comments (5)

Most-Read Car Reviews of the Week


The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class sedan returns to the top of the heap for its third week in a row, landing at No. 1 on our list of most-read reviews. The only other movement of note on this week’s list came courtesy of debuts from the 2013 Volkswagen Passat sedan and 2013 Fiat 500e electric car. They could only muster Nos. 8 and 10, respectively, but rest assured, the Passat did so without offending anyone with its tastefully un-showy style and the 500e with zero emissions. Check out what else was popular:

1. 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class
2. 2014 Subaru Forester

3. 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe
4. 2014 Jeep Cherokee
5. 2013 Toyota RAV4

6. 2014 Mazda3

7. 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek

8. 2013 Volkswagen Passat

9. 2013 BMW 328i

10. 2013 Fiat 500e
By Matt Schmitz | October 20, 2013 | Comments (0) Reviews the 2013 Fiat 500e

2013Fiat500e reviewer Aaron D. Bragman is all charged up over the 2013 Fiat 500e, calling it "one of the best small cars I've ever driven, electric or otherwise." That's high praise for a tiny electric vehicle, especially since it's considered to be little more than an appeasement of a zero-emissions mandate in California — the only place you can get one. But with horsepower outgunning the gas-powered base model, spirited ride and handling, Fiat's funky styling and an 80-mile range, the 500e is anything but a mere "compliance car." Read Bragman's review below.

2013 Fiat 500e Review
By Matt Schmitz | October 14, 2013 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2013 Fiat 500e


Chrysler is recalling 491 model-year 2013 versions of the Fiat 500e electric hatchback due to a problem with the half shaft joints, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The affected vehicles were manufactured from Dec. 16, 2012, through Aug. 13, 2013, (check your vehicle's build date on a sticker on the driver-side doorjamb) and have faulty half shaft joints. If the joints separate, a loss of driving capability could result. This increases the risk of a crash, but Chrysler said it is not aware of any accidents or injuries related to the recall.

Chrysler will notify owners this month, and dealers will replace the fasteners attaching the half shaft inboard joints for free. Owners can call Fiat at 888-242-6342 or NHTSA's vehicle safety hotline at 888-327-4236 for more info. 

Research the 2013 Fiat 500e
More Safety News
Check out Other Recalls

By Jennifer Geiger | August 26, 2013 | Comments (0)

Fiat Gets Naughty With Special Edition 500


Fiat's 500 — with its tiny footprint and retro-themed styling — is cute, but a new special edition version is ditching cute and aiming for cool. The 2013 500 Cattiva — which Fiat says is Italian for a "person or situation that's naughty yet cool" — is a limited-production version with aggressive styling cues.

The Cattiva model features blacked-out headlamp, tail lamp and parking lamp bezels along with 16-inch Nero black painted aluminum wheels. Other exterior additions include a glossy black roof and matching spoiler. Inside, there's Nero/Grigio (black/gray) cloth sport seats with silver stitching; leather is optional. The instrument panel is finished in a matte black, and the black theme continues with a leather-wrapped Nero shift knob and sport steering wheel.

By Jennifer Geiger | August 13, 2013 | Comments (0)

2014 Fiat 500L Video reviewer Kelsey Mays says the 2014 Fiat 500L might be just what car buyers are looking for in a small four-door hatchback. This longer, wider and taller offshoot of the Fiat 500 boasts easy entry and exit, comfortable and versatile rear-passenger seating and impressive cargo space. However, driver comfort is debatable, negotiating curvy roads feels clumsy and the premium-fuel-for-best-results necessity is annoying. Watch the video above and see if you agree with Mays that the 500L's overall value outshines its shortcomings.

2014 Fiat 500L: Test Car Gallery Reviews the 2014 Fiat 500L
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By Matt Schmitz | August 7, 2013 | Comments (1)

2014 Fiat 500L: Test Car Gallery


In his critique of the 2014 Fiat 500L, reviewer Kelsey Mays says the drivability and refinement of this new enlarged four-door hatchback could solidify its position among European compacts sought by U.S. buyers. Our test metallic gray 500L Easy model with a black interior and cloth seats started at $20,995, including an $800 destination charge. Its turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine is paired with a six-speed manual transmission and has an estimated fuel economy of 25/33 mpg city/highway. The hatchback included two options packages, as well as $350 heated front seats and a white roof for $500, which brought the total to $23,245, including destination.

Standard equipment inside included active head restraints, power windows and door locks, remote keyless entry, cruise control, hill start assist, a rear window defroster, Bluetooth connectivity, a leather-wrapped tilt/telescoping steering wheel and a leather-wrapped shift knob. Outside, the 500L came with 16-inch aluminum wheels, daytime running headlamps, heated power mirrors and deep-tinted glass.

By Matt Schmitz | July 19, 2013 | Comments (1)

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