Did The Lack of AWD Stop You From Buying A Fiat 500L?

Friday, September 19, 2014

Fiat 500X Revealed!

Fiat 500X

Images of the new Fiat 500X crossover have leaked out during the filming of a commercial at San Quirico d'Orcia in Tuscany, Italy. They show a car much sleeker than the Fiat 500L MPV and Jeep Renegade, a car it shares production facilities with at Fiat's Melfi factory in Italy.

Fiat 500X Spotted in Italy

The Fiat 500X crossover is much larger than the 500 hatchback (approximately 165 inches compared to 139 inches) and uses the chassis of the 5 door Fiat 500L MPV and Jeep Renegade. The all-wheel-drive capable chassis is a widened version of the current one used in Fiat Punto and Alfa Romeo MiTo models. In Europe, the Fiat 500X will be available in two-wheel and all-wheel-drive variants. It is not known if the North American 500X will also be available in both configurations.

Fiat 500X Close Up

Fiat 500 in San Quirico d'Orcia

Fiat 500X Rear View

Rumors are that the 500X will use a variety of engines in Europe, including the .9L TwinAir, 1.4L MultiAir and 1.6L MultiJet Diesel. In the US, the 1.4L MultiAir Turbo used in the 500L is a sure bet. Transmission wise, figure the C635 manual gearbox and the strong possibility the new nine-speed automatic from the Renegade will be available.

The Fiat 500X replaces the Fiat Sedici crossover that Fiat sells in Europe. The Fiat Sedici is a joint venture with Suzuki and will be recognized in the US as the Suzuki SX4.

The 500X wheelbase is expected to be 101.2 inches or 1.6 inches shorter than the 500L (102.8 inches) and a few inches longer than the Sedici (SX4).

The Fiat 500X front wheel arches bulge out giving the car a substantial look. Compared to the Jeep Renegade, the 500X is more urban sophisticate and less off road rumbler.

The 500X will debut at the Paris Auto Show, October 2. European deliveries follow during the fourth quarter. For the North America market, look for the 500X to debut at the LA Auto Show in November with sales beginning in the first quarter of 2015.

Images used with permission.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

FIAT on the Dragon Fall 2014 Event

Fiat 500 Abarth at Tail of the Dragon

Attention Fiat owners: The Fall Fiat on the Dragon event is coming soon! The event takes place at one of the most beautiful areas in the country and on one of the best roads anywhere in the world. The road called Tail of the Dragon is located deep in the Smoky Mountains on the North Carolina/Tennessee state line. With 318 curves packed into 11 miles, the road is a car enthusiast's dream.

The semi-annual Fiat on the Dragon events are held during the spring and fall seasons. The event has quickly become a big hit with all who attend with an atmosphere that is relaxed and friendly. It is something you shouldn't miss!

The Fall Fiat on the Dragon event starts on Thursday, October 2 and runs through the weekend.

Brett Melancon, Fiat on the Dragon event organizer dropped us a note explaining the details:

This fall, the FIAT on the Dragon will be a little different. This "unplugged" event is going to be more spontaneous than the planned event of the spring drive.

Some updates for the fall drive...

Thursday night, we are meeting for dinner and to discuss our drives. Please be sure that your car is topped off for fuel prior to Friday morning.

We will be staying at the Comfort Inn of Oak Ridge. Here is a direct link for the hotel to get the rate of $70!


This rate includes a hot breakfast too.

I suggest that you make reservations soon for October 2-5. We will be staying at this hotel for the entire weekend and work our drives around it. It is also very close to Harper FIAT. I am sure that they will welcome us over for some social time. Please contact me if you have any questions.

Early Friday am, we leave for our scenic route to the Tail of the Dragon. We will make a few stops along the way and hopefully make it to Highlands, NC for lunch. I plan to stop at Bridal Veil Falls along the way for a photo op. We will continue back towards Tellico Plains along the Cherohala Skyway. My hope is that we can see some really nice fall colors and maybe a killer sunset.

I am working out the details for the Saturday route and lodging options but I would love to make it back to Knoxville if possible for Saturday night. Saturday drive is still open, maybe the Devil's triangle or the Snake. Plan for our traditional visit to the local cruise in Saturday night.

Remember, this is the FIAT on the Dragon "Unplugged" so plan to have fewer plans. This drive will take shape differently than the spring event. If you like planned events that have everything taken care of, do the spring FIAT on the Dragon. If any questions, please let me know.

This will be a very loosely organized event and plan to wing it as we go. If you like spontaneous travel, this one is for you.

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Video: killboydotcom
Image: Brett Melancon

Monday, September 15, 2014

Fiat 500e to Power Homes

Fiat 500e being charged

Nothing like coming home after work to find the power is out in your home. That may not be a problem for owners of a Fiat 500e in the future. Chrysler and NextEnergy are working on technology where the Fiat 500e all-electric vehicle can power your home right through its charging station. Owners of the Fiat 500e could use the car to offset their energy usage for their home or even to supply power to others. A fleet of Fiat 500e models is being used at this time to help power the NextEnergy headquarters, potentially saving the company $15,000 in a year. The video below explains the technology being developed.

Currently, the Fiat 500E is only available in California and Oregon. However, there is always the possibility that 500e sales will expand to other markets in the country. Keep your fingers crossed!

Source: Chrysler Media

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Fiat 500 Can Take a Hit!

Fiat 500 Chassis

What happens when a 2,500 lbs Fiat 500 gets hit by a 4,000 lbs Dodge Charger? Michael Passage, noted Fiat enthusiast and Fiat Specialist over at Van Nuys Fiat shares what happened when he went on a test drive that went bad!

"took a couple on a test drive, she driving, him next to her and me in the back, making a left turn we got hit by a Dodge Charger doing at least 40 mph and hit us on the right side making the Pop spin 360 degrees ending up into a pole...Watch and believe."

Follow up: Everyone was OK and the 6'1" husband was so impressed he signed the purchase papers for his wife immediately!

In Europe, the Fiat 500 was the first A-segment vehicle to achieve a 5-star Euro NCAP (New Car Assessment Program) adult occupant protection rating. In the United States, the 2012 Fiat 500 was named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

The Fiat 500 chassis features advance design and high strength steel reinforcements. The body is designed to absorb impact and the standard seven air bags, reactive headrests and more than 35 safety and security features contribute to making the Fiat 500 one of the safest small cars on the road.

Below is a look at some of these features, courtesy of Fiat USA:

Seven standard air bags and reactive head restraintsThe Fiat 500 features an all-new air bag system to offer unique protection for its passengers to meet all U.S. regulatory requirements. Its seven standard air bags include: driver and front-passenger advanced multi-stage air bags, driver’s knee air bag, full-length side-curtain air bags and standard seat-mounted side pelvic-thorax air bags, all to offer enhanced occupant protection to all occupants in the event of a collision.

Reactive head restraints, which activate during a rear impact, are another innovation helping minimize injuries by reducing the gap between the head restraint and the passenger’s head.

Fiat 500 Airbags

Innovative TomTom® Navigation with BLUE&ME™ Handsfree Communication technologyDeveloped as a collaboration between Fiat and Microsoft, BLUE&ME™ Handsfree Communication technology is an in-vehicle, voice-activated communication system that allows the driver to operate a Bluetooth®-compatible phone while keeping his or her hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. Using a series of voice commands, the driver can place phone calls, access the phone’s address book or listen to MP3s. BLUE&ME Handsfree Communication technology supports most mobile phones with Bluetooth technology.

With the available TomTom® Navigation with BLUE&ME Handsfree Communication technology, the system integrates an innovative 4.3-inch TomTom hand-held navigation unit that docks on top of the Fiat 500’s instrument panel. With its large touchscreen display, simple map displays with available real-time traffic, weather and more than 7 million points of interests, TomTom navigation with BLUE&ME Handsfree Communication technology is intuitive for the driver to use. And with its direct integration into the Fiat 500’s interior system, the driver is able to use steering-wheel-mounted controls to make operation even easier.

Thanks to its portable design, the TomTom Navigation system allows passengers of the Fiat 500 to remove the hand-held device from the vehicle and use it as a guide for walking tours or finding their way back to the vehicle.

Fiat 500 Rame Driving

Upgraded Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
The new Fiat 500 features standard electronic stability control (ESC) for improved braking performance in wet or panic conditions.

Behind the scenes, the ESC system is ready to intervene by integrating key chassis control systems including electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), anti-lock brake system (ABS) and traction control systems (TCS) to control all four wheels in response to yaw and steering input.

In effect, ESC determines the driver’s intentions and adjusts the vehicle’s dynamic forces to maintain the driver’s intended course. Should the driver exceed the performance limits of the road surface – such that the vehicle starts to oversteer or understeer – ESC instantly analyzes input from the wheel sensors and corrects the pending loss of control by applying any one, several or all of the system’s brakes.

More than 35 available safety and security featuresThe following is a list of the Fiat 500’s more than 35 available safety and security features which include:
• Active turn signals: Turn signal flashes three times when stalk is depressed for 1 second to indicate a lane change (standard)
• Advanced multi-stage air bags: Inflates with a force appropriate to the severity of the impact. In addition, Fiat 500’s unique driver’s air bag design includes tethers to shape the air bag. The passenger airbag has a unique air bag venting system, allowing one vent of the air bag to remain open while the air bag is fully inflating. A secondary vent is actuated as the passenger contacts the air bag at the end of a crash event, offering protection of passengers of all sizes
• All-speed control traction: Helps to keep driving wheels from spinning during acceleration from a stop or during all speeds by applying individual brakes alone or in combination with engine torque limitation to prevent wheel slip
• Anti-lock brake system (ABS): Senses and prevents wheel lockup, offering improved steering control under extreme braking and/or slippery conditions (standard)
• Auto-dimming rearview mirror: Detects and reduces glare from rearward headlamps without driver intervention
• BeltAlert: Activates a chime and/or illuminates an icon in the instrument cluster to remind the driver and front passenger to buckle up if the Fiat 500 is driven without belted front-seat occupants (standard)
• Bi-halogen projector headlamps: Provides wider, more focused light spread and improves forward visibility at night (standard)
• BLUE&ME™ Handsfree Communication technology: Provides an in-vehicle, voice-activated communication system that allows the driver to operate a Bluetooth compatible phone while keeping his or her hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. Using a series of voice commands, the driver can place phone calls, access the phone’s address book or listen to MP3s
• Brake Assist: In an emergency brake situation, the system applies maximum braking power, minimizing the stopping distance (standard)
• Brake Override: When a disagreement exists between the throttle and the brake, the brake signal causes the engine controller to reduce engine power, allowing the operator to stop the Fiat 500 (standard)
• Brake/Park Interlock: Prevents a Fiat 500 with six-speed automatic transmission from being shifted out of Park unless the brake pedal is applied (standard)
• Brake-traction control system (BTCS): Helps to keep driving wheels from spinning during acceleration from a stop or during slow speeds by applying individual brakes to the slipping wheel(s) (standard)
• Child seat anchor system: LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) is designed to ease installation of compatible aftermarket child seats (standard)
• Constant-force Retractors (CFR): Regulates the force exerted on the occupant by the seat belt and then gradually releases seat-belt webbing in a controlled manner. The system features a digressive load limiter for the driver and adaptive load limiter for the front-passenger (standard)

Fiat 500 Crash Test Car
• Crumple zones: Designed to deform during an accident in order to absorb energy from an impact which decreases transfer of that energy to occupants (standard)
• Daytime running lamps (DRL): Provides additional forward illumination for improved vehicle awareness
• Electronic stability control (ESC): Enhances driver control and helps maintain directional stability under all conditions. Provides the benefit in critical driving situations, such as turns, and is valuable when driving on mixed-surface conditions, including snow, ice or gravel. If there is a discernible difference between driver input through the steering wheel and the Fiat 500’s path, ESC applies selective braking and throttle input to guide the vehicle back on to the driver’s intended path (standard)

Fiat 500 Third Load Path
• Energy management system: Three front load paths designed from high-strength steel manage vehicle crush and minimize cabin intrusion (standard)
• Express down windows: One-touch powered express down window button located on the center console (standard)
• Full-length side-curtain air bags: Extends protection to all outboard front- and rear-seat passengers. Each side air bag has its own impact sensors that autonomously trigger the air bag on the side where an impact occurs. This type of air bag is housed in the headliner just above the side windows (standard)
• Head restraints: Includes all seating positions (standard)
• Hill-start Assist (HSA): Assists drivers when starting a vehicle from a stop on a hill by maintaining the level of brake pressure applied for a short period of time after a driver’s foot is removed from the brake pedal If throttle is not applied within a short period of time after the driver’s foot is removed from the brake pedal, brake pressure will be released (standard)
• Intelligent battery sensor (IBS): Continually measures the flow of current into and out of the battery. If the battery is running low, the system intelligently shuts off less critical electrical systems to help prevent a customer being stranded due to a low or depleted battery. When IBS conducts load shedding, an icon appears in the cluster display (standard)
• Knee air bag (driver’s side): Located below the instrument panel, air bag deploys when the driver’s air bag deploys and is designed to properly position the occupant during impact and offer additional lower leg protection
• Occupant restraint controller (ORC): Detects an impact and determines whether a crash is severe enough to trigger air bag deployment and whether the primary or secondary stage inflation is sufficient. In addition the controller detects side impacts and determines whether the rail-curtain and side seat-mounted (pelvic-thorax protection) airbags should deploy. Engagement of front seat belt pretensioners are also managed through the controller (standard)
• ParkSense® rear park assist system: Assists at low speeds in reverse to detect stationary objects. Consists of audible warnings for the driver and has a display in the instrument cluster’s Electronic Vehicle Information Center (EVIC)
• Reactive head restraints: Activates in the event of a rear collision. Restraints are designed to reduce injuries by minimizing the gap between the driver and front-passenger head restraint and the passenger’s head (standard)
• Remote keyless entry: Locks and unlocks doors and turns on interior lamps. If the vehicle is equipped with the optional security alarm, the remote also arms and disarms that system (standard)
• Safety cage body structure: Protects occupants by managing and controlling energy in the event of an impact (standard)
• Seat belt pretensioners: During a collision, impact sensors initiate front seat belt pretensioners to remove slack in the seat belt system, thereby reducing the forward movement of the occupant’s head and torso (standard)
• Sentry Key® engine immobilizer: Uses a key fob that has an embedded transponder with a preprogrammed security code to shut off the engine after a few seconds and discourage vehicle theft (standard)
• Seat-mounted side pelvic-thorax air bags: Provide enhanced protection to the driver and front outboard passenger in certain impacts. Each side air bag has its own impact sensors that autonomously trigger the air bag on the side where an impact occurs. Standard side air bags are housed within the outboard side of each front seat (standard)
• Side-curtain air bags: Provide enhanced protection to all outboard occupants (standard)
• Side guard door beams: Provide occupant protection during a side impact (standard)
• Three-point seat belts: Front seating positions and all rear seating positions have lap and shoulder belts (standard)
• Tilt steering column: Allows steering column to achieve a safe and comfortable driving position (standard)
• Tire-pressure monitoring (TPM): Informs driver when tire pressure is too low. Pressure-sensor modules within the valve stems of all four road wheels send continuous radio-frequency signals to a receiver and the system. Individual tire pressure can be displayed in the EVIC (standard)
• TomTom® Navigation with BLUE&ME™ Handsfree Communication technology: This innovative navigation system adds a 4.3-inch touchscreen TomTom hand-held navigation unit to the standard BLUE&ME Handsfree communication system. The system features an instrument panel docking system for added driver convenience, real-time traffic, real-time weather updates and more than 7 million points of interests
• Vehicle theft security alarm: Deters vandalism and theft, frequently lowering insurance premiums. System protects the vehicle from theft by monitoring door-ajar switches and the ignition circuit for unauthorized entry

Thanks: Michael Passage for sharing and Fiat USA for information

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Fiat 500 License Plate Bulb Change

Fiat 500 Tailgate Handle

There have been more than 165,000 Fiat 500s sold in North America since 2011. As the cars age, it is inevitable that things like light bulbs eventually burn out. One item that caused owners of early Fiat 500 models some annoyance was replacing the license plate LED bulb located in the tailgate lift handle.

Early cars required you to change the entire tailgate lift handle at considerable expense - normally well over $100. However, starting somewhere around March 2012, Fiat revised the license plate LED to make it replaceable, with a cost of around $20. Below is how to change the license plate LED bulb in late model Fiat 500, 500 Cabrio and 500 Abarth models.

Fiat 500 License Plate Bulb

Take a small screwdriver and insert it into the notch at the one end of the license plate lamp lens on the underside of the liftgate light bar and handle unit.  Gently release the latch tab that secures the lamp in the light bar assembly.

Fiat 500 Abarth License Plate Bulb

Carefully pry the light out of the liftgate handle.

Fiat 500 License Plate Light Connector

Late model cars will have this style connector with locking tabs that allow you to unplug the bulb from the wire harness. Early cars will not have these tabs and the light bulb is serviced as a complete assembly. If you are handy you may be able to modify the harness with a new connector so you can use the late model bulb.

Fiat 500 License Plate Bulb Removal

Using the small screwdriver, carefully unlock each tab and remove the bulb from the connector. The tabs are delicate and the connectors will become fragile as the car ages, so proceed with care. Plug your new bulb in and just reverse the procedures and you are done!

Fiat 500 License Plate Bulb Part Number

  • Right 68212034AA
  • Left 68212035AA

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Monday, September 8, 2014

Fiat 500X Under Wraps Images

Fiat 500X Front

The sneak peek video of the Fiat 500X released last week gave viewers a 40 seconds hint of what the new B-Segment crossover will look like. Of course it wasn't enough time to satisfy Fiat enthusiasts who have been waiting for the 500X since talk of it began early in 2012. These screenshots help capture some of the details on the 500X that you may have missed in the brief video. Make sure you follow the links throughout the story to learn more about the Fiat 500X. Enjoy!

Fiat 500X Grille

Fiat 500X Front Image

Fiat 500X Headlight

Fiat 500X Rear

Fiat 500X Rear Image Details

Fiat 500X Taillight

Fiat 500X Side View

Fiat 500X Prototype