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Register Now For The Fiat FreakOut!

The Fiat FreakOut is the largest Fiat event of the year. Make plans now so you don't miss it!

Fiat 500X All- Wheel-Drive System Explored

The Fiat 500X has an advanced All-Wheel-Drive system. See how it outperforms the competition.

Driving the New Fiat 124 Spider and Abarth!

A look at how the new Fiat 124 Spider stacks up against the original

Fiat 500L Design

Within its compact dimensions, the Fiat 500L has the room of a full-sized car. See how Fiat did it and the concept and goals of the design team

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Debut

Watch the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Debut Video at the LA Autoshow

Fiat 500X Uconnect Update

How to update the Uconnect 6.5 in a Fiat 500X

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Fiat 500 and Abarth Headlight Bulb Change

Fiat 500 Headlight
The Fiat 500 headlight uses a premium, high-performance 9012 HIR2 halogen bulb that puts out 87% more light than a common 9006 bulb.

This tutorial will show you how to change the headlight bulb in your Fiat 500 or Fiat 500 Abarth. It is a simple job that you can do yourself and will get you acquainted with one of the neat features of your Fiat 500. The headlights used on the NAFTA Fiat 500 are a marvel of engineering. They are a bi-halogen, projector beam design that allows a single bulb to function as both the low and high beam.

European Fiat 500 Headlight

This is an image of the headlights used in a European Fiat 500. Note, while they look similar to the US model's, the high beam headlight is mounted separately and is below the main upper headlight. The Euro car's high beam is in the same location as the US 500's turn signal assembly. The reason is in the US, it is illegal to have headlamps in a staggered or offset position, so headlamps need to be lined up next to each other or stacked directly on top of each other. The upper light on the European 500 contains the H7 low beam headlight bulb and a turn signal bulb. The lamp below contains an H1 high beam bulb and a daytime running / parking light.


This is different than the headlights used in European and other markets which utilize separate low and high beam assemblies. The new design is space efficient plus eliminates separate high and low beam electrical circuits and the extra fuses, relays and wiring that would be required.

9012 HIR2 Original Design with IR Coating
This is an original first generation 9012 HIR2 bulb with an infrared reflective coating. Newer bulbs look different and technology now eliminates the need to coat the bulbs with an HIR coating to achieve the same results.


They also allow the use of special high performance 9012 HIR2 headlight bulbs. The HIR designation stands for Halogen Infrared, a technology that enables the bulb to be much brighter than a similarly sized, conventional 9006 halogen bulb without having to increase the wattage. As the specification list for headlight bulbs below show, the 9012 headlight bulb used in the Fiat 500 is the brightest and longest lasting headlight bulb available for its size.

Compare the specifications for the 9012 headlight bulbs used in the North American Fiat 500:
  • Fiat 500 9012 HIR2 bulb: 12.8V, 55W, 1875 lumens, 875 hour rated life
  • Standard Philips 9006 bulb used in many cars: 12.8V, 55W, 1000 lumens, 320 hour rated life
  • GE 9006 bulb: 12.8V, 55W, 1000 lumens, 850 hour rated life
  • Sylvania 9006 Silverstar: 1000 lumens, 200 hour rated life
  • Sylvania 9006 Silverstar Ultras: 1000 lumens, 200 hour rated
  • Sylvania 9006 Xtravision: 1000 lumens, 850 hour rated life



Fiat 500 Coolant Reservoir

Changing the bulbs is relatively easy, especially on the drivers side. The passenger side has you unbolt the coolant expansion tank and swing it out of the way. That's not a big deal and reminds you that the car is a marvel of space utilization and automotive packaging. Depending on your car, you may be able to get your hand in there, but unbolting the reservoir is easy.


Fiat 500 Coolant Reservoir  Lug
After you remove the bolts, there is a locating lug in the back of the coolant resevoir that needs to be wiggled out. You can then just push the reservoir out of the way.

Fiat 500 Headlight Cap 6002TR0013

Headlamp cap used on the Fiat 500 and 500 Abarth.

Headlight Cap 6002TR0013

Locate the large cap on the back of the headlight. Give it a turn counterclockwise and pull the cap off. It is only about an 1/8 of a turn. Put that cap safely out of the way because it is easy to drop it into the depths of the engine compartment. The cap is not available separately, but if you need one it does fit other FCA cars and you may be able to get a used one on eBay or at a salvage yard. The part number on the back is 6002TR0013.

Fiat 500 Headlight Bulb

Fiat 500 Headlight Bulb Socket
Note how the locking clip engages the locking tang. You need to lift the clip over the tang in order to pull the headlight connector off.

Removing Headlight Bulb Connector

Locate the headlight connector and carefully put a finger under the locking clip and unhook it from its catch.  Do not bend the clip too far or it will break.

Fiat 500 Headlight Bulb Connector
Once the clip locking tang has been disconnected, wiggle the connector up and off the bulb.  Make sure you just hold the connector and not pull on the wires. Using dielectric grease on the connector when reassembling will make changing the bulbs much easier in the future.

Fiat 500 9012 Headlight Bulb

This is the headlight bulb's socket orientation when installed. The bulb is keyed to keep it locked in place.

Fiat 500 9012 Bulb
You need to twist the bulb counterclockwise so you can then pull the bulb straight out. Compare this picture to the one above and notice how now the lower key tab is now lined up in the housing and can be pulled out. If you have difficulty turning the bulb, it can be easier if you push it in slightly while turning it. After you twist it until it stops, it should just come out without a problem, but if it is stuck, try to make sure you are pulling it straight out and you may need to wiggle it a little.

Removing Fiat 500 Headlight Bulb

The bulb being removed.

9012 HIR2 Headlight Bulb

The replacement bulb should say 9012/HIR2 on it. A couple of notes. First, do not touch the bulb's glass! That can create a hotspot and cause the bulb to burn out prematurely, melt or even explode. If you do touch it, no worries, just get some alcohol and a lint free cloth and give it a wipe. Second, try not to bang the bulb around when you put the bulb back in.


9012 HIR2 New Generation Bulb

When looking at the old bulb, make sure the rubber o'ring seal is still on the old bulb and did not get stuck in the headlight. Not the difference in the shape of this new generation 9012 HIR2 bulb and the original 9012 HIR2 posted above.

Dielectric Grease for Electrical Connectors

Using a little dielectric grease smeared into the connector would be a good idea, too. It protects the connector from corrosion and other issues arising from high resistance.

Putting Headlight Cap On

Reverse the procedure. Make sure the bulb is inserted all the way before giving it a twist to secure it. The bulb should be flush and not cock-eyed. Also make sure you push the connector all the way on and it locks onto the headlight bulb. Put your cap back on, install your coolant reservoir (if removed) and that's it!


Xenon headlight conversion are popular with the Fiat 500. Here is a How To of a typical HID conversion for the Fiat 500



Monday, June 12, 2017

Fiat 500 Abarth Roof Top Package

2017 Fiat 500 Abarth with Roof Top Package

The modern Fiat 500 Abarth takes numerous styling cues from Abarth's rich historic past that was filled with legendary performance cars and iconic designs.

1963 Abarth Monomille
Note the traditional rear quarter panel Abarth badging on this 1963 Abarth Monomille. According to road tests from the era, similar Abarths from the era equipped with 2 liter engines could out accelerate a Ferrari GTO.** More than just a cool badge, the Abarth name means performance.

1960s Abarth Logo with Lightning Bolt
Original 1960s Abarth logo with lightning bolts side badge.

Modern Abarth Logo with Lightning Bolt
Modern Fiat 500 Abarth logo with lightning bolt side badge

For example, the current car's side badging with its Abarth emblem struck through with the il Tricolore lighting bolt harks back to the 1960s Fiat Abarths and lets the viewer know that this Fiat has a sting or about 58% more horsepower  and 73% more torque than a standard Fiat 500.

Fiat Abarth OT1300 Coupe
Fiat Abarth OT1300 Coupe

Fiat 500 Abarth Lower Body Stripe

Another stylistic nod to the past is the lower side stripe that's an available option. A similar stripe was often seen on the 1960s Fiat Abarth models sold in the US.

For the past few years, this popular option consisted of an accent side strip and mirror covers in matching colors for the price of $395*. However, to spice things up, you can now order the 500 ABARTH “Roof Top Package” that extend the accent color of the body side stripe and mirror covers onto the roof and spoiler for the bargain price of just $495!

500 ABARTH Black Roof Top Package

Having a roof painted by a body shop could easily cost upwards of $1,000, plus a new roof spoiler because the old one is bonded to the hatch and can't be removed and reinstalled. The $100 upcharge is quite reasonable.

The package allows you to choose from four different accent colors: Black (AXB), Red (AXR), Grey (AXL) or White (AXW) to be applied to the body side stripe, mirror caps, roof and spoiler.

The 2017 Fiat 500 Abarth with the ABARTH “Roof Top Package” can be found at dealerships right now. Make sure you contact your dealer for more details.




*The Body Side Stripe and Mirror package is still available.  This year with a lower price :$295 versus $395 for previous years.

**Sports Car Graphic March, 1964
Images:
FCA US LLC
Fiat Abarth 1300 used under CC-BY-SA-2.0 Pat Durkin
Abarth Monomille used under CC-BY-SA-3.0 Mr.Chopper
Abarth Vintage Lightning Bolt Badge used under CC-BY-SA-3.0 Mr.Chopper

Friday, June 2, 2017

Fiat Sales for May 2017

Fiat 500 Abarth USA


Fiat sales for May were up just slightly compared to the previous month. Fiat sold a total of 2670 cars last month compared to 2,539 sold in April. Fiat 500, 500L MPV and 124 Spider sales were all up in May compared to April, with the 124 Spider, in particular, having a good month, posting its best sales ever.

Fiat 124 Spider Lusso in red


Other promising news was May sales of 500 hatch and Cabrio models were up 3 percent while 500L sales were up 42% percent compared to April. What is interesting is that Fiat 500 hatch and Cabrio sales have remained consistent over the past few years, despite it being largely unchanged since 2011. It is a testimonial to its classic, iconic design that remains engaging over the years.

While that was encouraging news, overall sales are still running below last year. So far this year, Fiat has sold a total of 12,440 cars compared to the 14,383 sold last year during the same period - a 14 percent decrease. Sales in the subcompact car market have been taking a hit this year, running about 25 percent below last year. If you factor out the 124 sports car, Fiat sales are about 27 percent off of last year's sales, or pretty close to the industry's average.


Fiat 500e Electric Car


Fiat News for May
In May, we published some hard to find Fiat 500e electric car wheel alignment specs. What was once an exclusive model to only the states of California and Oregon, second-hand 500e models have now been showing up all over the country at terrific prices. The 500e uses unique alignment specifications that may not be readily available to the average repair shop, so this information should be helpful.



Alfa Romeo Giulia QV


Alfa Romeo of Israel put out a funny commercial that takes a look at autonomous driving cars. While the ad is quite amusing, it also gives something to think about what it will be like to drive in the future.


Fiat on the Dragon


The Fiat on the Dragon Drive was a fantastic event that people from all over enjoy. Our friends at FOTD sent us a report on what went on this year. Make sure you don't miss the next one!

Redesigned Fiat 500L Urban


Fiat unveiled a redesigned 500L for Europe. Fiat 500USA.com was able to confirm that the new 500L will indeed show up in America. The versatile and roomy 500L is the perfect family car, and now the car looks more upscale and classier.


Fiat 500 Abarth with Roof Top Package

Help keeping the Fiat 500 fresh and attractive are new, optional appearance packages that are now available for the 500 and Abarth. The new Sport Black Trim; Two-Tone; and Abarth Roof, Mirror Cap and Body Stripe option packages are just the ticket to add some flair. Check with your dealer for more info.

Give these dealers a call or check the link below for one nearest you:







Fiat Brand Sales in the United States, January - May 2017
Fiat 500Current MonthLast YearVol ChangeCurrent YTDLast Year YTDVol Change
May
500
500L
500X
124

    1,240
    163
    703
    564
    2,670

 1,573
 335
 1,262
 0
  3,170

  -21%
   -51%
   -44%
    New
   -16%

    6,461
    562
    3427
    1990
    12,440

        6672
       2,063
       5,648
           0
       14,383

    -3%
    -73%
    -39%
    New
    -14%
April
500
500L
500X
124

    1,201
    115
    758
    465
    2,539

 1,504
 466
 1,128
 0
  3,098

  -20%
   -75%
   -33%
    New
   -18%

    5,221
    399
    2724
    1426
    9,770

        5099
       1728
       4,386
           0
        11213

    2%
    -77%
    -38%
    New
    -13%
March
500
500L
500X
124

    1,671
    106
    726
    419
    2,922

 1,494
 535
 1,056
 0
  3,085

  12%
   -80%
   -31%
    New
   -5%

    4,020
    284
    1966
    961
    7,231

        3595
       1262
       3,258
           0
        8,115

    12%
    -77%
    -40%
    New
    -11%
Feb
500
500L
500X
124

    1,131
    72
    640
    302
    2,145

 1120
 370
 1,161
 0
  2,651

  1%
   -81%
   -45%
    New
   -19%

    2,349
    178
    1240
    542
    4,309

        2101
       727
       2,202
           0
        5,030

    12%
    -76%
    -44%
    New
    -14%
Jan
500
500L
500X
124

    1,218
    106
    600
    240
    2,164

 981
 357
 1,041
 0
  2,379

  24%
   -70%
   -40%
    New
   -9%

    1,218
    106
    600
    240
    2,164

        981
       357
       1,041
           0
        2,379

    24%
    -70%
    -42%
    New
    -9%



Sources: FCA US LLC.
Images: FCA and Fiat on the Dragon

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

New, Refreshed Fiat 500L Coming to US

New Fiat 500L Cross

We have confirmed a new, refreshed Fiat 500L MPV will arrive in North America for 2018. Fiat has released images and details of the new 500L which is set to debut in Italy the weekend of June 17-18. In Europe, the redesigned 500L is available in three trim levels/versions: Urban, Cross, and Wagon.

Fiat 500L Cross

Although we have confirmation the redesigned 500L will indeed be available in the US, details on which versions are coming have yet to be released. The 500L Urban and Cross models seem to be roughly the equivalent to the previous available in the US Lounge and Trekking models. While it is highly likely the Cross will make its way over the Atlantic, the longer, 7-passenger 500L wagon is more of a question.

New Fiat 500L Urban

Since its introduction five years ago in Europe, the Fiat 500L has been the best-selling car in its class. The combination of room, versatility, and comfort making it a favorite in its segment. The best way to think of the 500L is to consider it a Minivan for those who would never drive one.

Fiat 500L interior custaway

This is a very European car, meaning this family car is all about function and the driving experience. Stand out features in the 500L are the interior roominess of a full-size car and front and rear seats that adjust forward, back, recline and fold, giving 1500 possible ways to configure the seating arrangement. The 500L's versatility is unmatched.


New Fiat 500L interior

Strangely, all these family car attributes haven't resulted in any meaningful sales figures in this country, where it seems there is a preoccupation with form rather than function. Sources inside Fiat USA say the North American 500L will be redesigned to address this and take some of the quirkiness out of the car and upgrade the styling. Expect to see a more sophisticated look that fit more into North American tastes and expectations. Assumptions are the NAFTA car will look similar to the European one.

Fiat 500L Cross Bumper Detail
Redesigned Fiat 500L Cross detail

Fiat 500L Trekking Bumper Comparison
Previous Fiat 500L Trekking front fascia detail



Highlights of the new, refreshed 500L are:

  • Redesigned front and rear fascias.
  • More convenience and technologies: Uconnect ™ HD Live 7-inch high-resolution touchscreen system, Apple Car Play, and Android AutoTM compatibility.
  • New personalities: Urban and Cross.
  • Cross version introduces a new Drive Mode Selector.
  • 40% of all components are new.

Fiat 500L Urban Front

The 500L Urban edition carries a sophisticated, high-class look with chrome details and trims with almost a jewel-like quality. The front bumper takes styling cues from the recently updated 500 hatch and Cabrio models and now sports LED running lights in the shape of the stylized zeroes in the 500 logo.

Fiat 500L Urban Rear

Chrome is used tastefully all around the car and gives the car an upmarket look. New body side protection mouldings replace the older design. The fog and reverse lights are on the underside of the bumper for increased effectiveness.

Fiat 500L Cross Front

The new Cross version is geared towards crossover buyers with an athletic sporty persona and rugged good looks. There is a new bumper design featuring prominent front and rear skid plates and Cross rides an inch higher than the Urban edition. Brushed aluminum brightwork replaces the chrome trim used on Urban models.

Fiat 500L Cross Rear



Inside the Cross version is a new Drive Mode Selector that allows you to select three different drivetrain calibrations depending on the desired driving style and road conditions: Normal, Traction+ and Gravity Control. Normal is self-explanatory, while Traction+ gives enhanced take off traction in slippery conditions like snow, ice, and mud. It can be activated up to 30km/h. Gravity Control is borrowed from Jeep and allows descending steep slopes at a controlled constant rate.

Fiat 500L Dash

All versions of the 500L get a redesigned instrument cluster that consists of a round speedo and tach on either side of a 3.5-inch TFT color display similar to the one used in the 500X crossover. The TFT in the center displays the trip computer as well as other useful vehicle information.

Fiat 500L Sunroof

The lower part of the dashboard now features larger storage compartments and the introduction of new for Europe central armrest (NAFTA cars already had an armrest). The gear shift position is redesigned and placed higher up for greater driving comfort. Interior illumination has been improved with ambient lighting located in the central console and doors.
The rear park assist camera now has improved resolution in poor visibility.

A new steering wheel with chrome trim that resembles 500 hatch and Cabrio models has also been added.

New Fiat 500L 7-inch Uconnect

Connectivity is an essential requisite in any modern car, and the 500L has this well covered with what looks like an endless list of available features.

  • UconnectTM HD Live system with 7-inch high-resolution touchscreen
  • Apple Car Play integration and is compatible with
  • Android AutoTM.
  • Hands-free Bluetooth interface, audio streaming,
  • text reader and voice recognition.
  • AUX and USB ports with iPod integration and controls on the steering wheel
  • Rear parking camera.
  • New TomTom 3D built-in navigation system.
  • UconnectTM LIVE services for your smartphone:
  • music streaming with Deezer and TuneIn, news from Reuters and connected navigation with TomTom LIVE, and you can keep in touch with your friends via Facebook Check-in and Twitter.
  • Eco-friendliness and monitoring functions wherever you choose to go with eco:Drive and my:Car.

Keep in mind; these features will vary from market to market.

Redesigned 2018 Fiat 500L Urban

The new 500L can be had in 37 color combinations when you factor in the ten pastel or metallic colors it comes in combined with three types of available roof finishes: body-coloured, glossy black and white or matt black.

Redesigned Fiat 500L Urban Rear

Exact availability in the US for the redesigned 500L has not been released, but it can be assumed it will be later this year or beginning of 2018. Along with the new 500L, the US is getting redesigned 500 hatch and Cabrio models that will arrive spring 2018. We'll be watching this closely.



Source and Images: FCA

Friday, May 19, 2017

FIAT on the Dragon Celebrates 5th Year

Fiat on The Dragon

Couldn't make it to the Fiat on the Dragon event this year? Our friends over at FOD sent us a report on their Spring Drive for those who missed out. If you aren't familiar with Fiat on the Dragon, it is a family fun driving event that is the perfect place to enjoy your Fiat, Abarth or Alfa Romeo. 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 an Italian car enthusiast's dream.

I'm happy to say, Fiat 500 USA Forum and this site have been significant sponsors of Fiat on the Dragon since its first run in 2013. It really is something that shouldn't be missed as you can read below. Next year's event will be held April 6-8, 2018.

2017 Fiat on the Dragon Panorama


FIAT on the Dragon Celebrates 5th Year with Biggest Turnout Yet

By Larry Smith

Springtime came roaring into the hills of East Tennessee and Western North Carolina as the 5th annual FIAT on the Dragon event brought FIAT enthusiasts and their favorite rides back for more of the twisty mountain drives they’ve come to crave. Over 150 Italian cars made their way to this year’s event, including lots of modern FIATs, several new Alfa Romeos, and even some classics. The numbers were nothing short of impressive, considering that the first FOTD in 2013 drew around two dozen participants, mostly from the surrounding area. In 2017, drivers traveled from all over the Eastern U.S., reaching from New York to South Florida – and even as far west as Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska. All in all, 26 states were represented! What is so amazing about this is that so many people willingly drove hundreds of miles for, wait for it… a driving event! It’s truly a testament to both how much FIAT owners love their cars and how much fun they have driving them.

2017 Fiat on the Dragon Corner

The presenting sponsors for FOTD were EuroCompulsion and Auto Ricambi. Both, along with several additional sponsors and friends, provided amazing support and have helped tremendously in building the event into what it is today.

2017 Fiat on the Dragon Cars

The weekend unofficially kicked off on Thursday, March 30, as many of the registered participants arrived at the base of operations: the long-standing Talley Ho Inn in scenic Townsend, Tennessee, widely known as the “Peaceful Side of the Smokies.” Of course, as waves of FIATs took to the town’s streets over the next few days, that title took on a bit of a disclaimer. As always, that first night was a great time of friends catching up and new connections being made. The anticipation was high as a steady stream of folks made their way through registration, settled into their rooms and broke off into groups for dinner at area restaurants.

Fiat on the Dragon Cars

The last of the March showers greeted the participants on Friday morning, but the weather did not dampen spirits at all. With the initial drive of the weekend being the famed Tail of the Dragon itself, it was impossible to feel anything but excitement. Still, all were thankful as the rain gradually began to taper off and the skies opened a little as the line of cars made its way to the day’s main attraction. For those who’ve never visited, the Dragon is a serpentine stretch of Highway 129 that crosses the Tennessee-North Carolina border. Its 11 uninhabited miles contain an astounding 318 curves, some much more treacherous than others. The road is extremely popular with car enthusiasts and motorcyclists alike, though even a small error or miscalculation can have dire consequences. It is definitely a road to be respected.

Fiat X1-9 on the Dragon

The merry band of FIATs and Alfas made it through without a hitch, as the group reconvened at Deal’s Gap at the NC end of the ride. Cars had departed from the hotel in smaller groups, sorted by driving styles from the most spirited to those who preferred more of a touring pace. This worked out well, as everyone got to enjoy exactly the drive they wanted. From there, the group headed to nearby Fontana Dam for lunch and group photos before continuing further on to Bryson City in Swain County and the intriguing Road to Nowhere.

124 Spider Abarth on the Dragon

A popular addition to the FOTD itinerary last year, the Road to Nowhere extends about eight miles out from town before it ends abruptly just after passing through a 1200-foot tunnel. The short version of its storied past is that the National Park Service agreed to build the road around Fontana Lake, after much of the county’s land was given up to create the lake and a portion of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Due largely to environmental issues, construction on the road was suspended and, once everything was eventually resolved, never completed. Though born out of unfortunate circumstances, the road is
nonetheless a fascinating discovery. To travel to the very end, the group had to park and walk through the long, dark tunnel before emerging to a forest area with multiple trailheads and a spectacular view of Fontana Lake.

Fiat on the Dragon Bonfire