This article is part two of an earlier post where we began examining the differences and improvements of the 2012 North American Fiat 500 over the European version (read part one here).
We'll continue the story of the new Fiat 500 with a look at the interior and other key features.
The US Fiat 500 Sport seats...note the armrest.
To adapt the Fiat 500 to American driving requirements Fiat looked at how we drive.
Americans typically spend more time commuting in their cars, with commutes of an hour or more being typical. To accommodate these requirements, Fiat redesigned and improved the driver and passenger seat comfort, specifically in the seat cushion area.
An armrest was also added to enhance comfort and entry to the rear seat has been improved over the European car with an easy access system.
Another shot of the Fiat 500 Sport seats. Compare them to...
... the European Fiat 500 Sport seats. The US car has a more cushioned seat, more suitable for long distance driving. The differences between the two cars are very hard to detect in this picture.
The US Fiat 500 has round power window switches outlined in chrome trim and no parting seam (see below).
The European Fiat 500 console has squared off power window switches with a construction seam running just below them.
The US Fiat 500 has optional heated seats. You can see the controls just to the left and right of the shifter. In Europe, heated seats appear to be a dealer installed option with switches installed between seats near the handbrake.
New heated-seat controls have been relocated to the lower instrument panel for added convenience, while larger heated-seat elements provide front-passenger comfort in colder weather.
The US Fiat 500 has cruise control with the control buttons having been added to the right side of the steering wheel. These replace the radio controls of the European car, which are now combined with the left side steering wheel controls.
The European Fiat 500 has radio controls on both sides of the steering wheel.
One area often mentioned in road tests on the European 500 was its road noise level. This has been thoroughly examined and addressed with newly designed floor, tunnel, trunk and instrument panel sound-deadening material. Additionally, new body and door seals, along with foam-in-place carpeting, help make the US Fiat 500 the quietest version yet.
The heating and ventilation system has also been upgraded for the North American climate. Be it the frigid weather in northern Canada or the torturous heat of Death Valley, the Fiat 500 has been adapted to handle these extremes in stride.
Here is another shot of the console in the US Fiat 500. It has a cleaner look without the seem running through the middle of it. Also note the glove box lid and the storage netting on the side of the console. Just visible are the enlarged cup holders.
The console on the European Fiat 500 has a large assembly seam that breaks up the the smooth look. The European car also has an opening compartment on the side of the console but no glove box lid. Just visible are the smaller European cup holders (yes, the Euro car has cup holders!)
The European Fiat 500 has a package shelf under the dash with a small drop down compartment for the owners manual.
The European Fiat 500 Sport interior. Compare the seats, headrest and head liner...
... to the US Fiat 500 Sport. They look very similar but there are some differences, the seats appear to be taller and slightly larger. The front seat headrests are of the active type (they move to protect the neck in an accident) and the head liner is in black. The Pop and Lounge versions have a light color headliner like the European car.
The European Fiat 500 dashboard
The US Fiat 500 dashboard...nearly identical
In Europe, Fiat offers a premium stereo upgrade for the 500 called the "Interscope" sound system, and comprises of six speakers (two tweeters, two woofers and two full-range, all 40 W), one 100 W sub-woofer and a 30 W amplifier.
In the US, a new BOSE® Energy Efficient Series (EES) premium audio system is available. The Bose system is engineered for a vehicle's unique acoustic signature and in the Fiat 500, features six premium speakers and a subwoofer.
This component of the Bose sound system is the amplifier.
The European Fiat 500 projector beam headlight
The US Fiat 500 projector beam headlight...note the 500 logo
The US Fiat 500 Pop has a plain tailpipe
The US Fiat 500 Lounge and 500 Sport have a polished tip
The US Fiat 500 stows the optional space-saver spare tire under the car. The European car keeps its spare inside the trunk. Speculation suggests this was moved to increase luggage capacity and/or to accommodate the strengthening of the rear chassis for higher speed US rear crash standards. We'll try to confirm this.
You might think this is the end of the story, but, as they say, this is just the beginning. There is still plenty to explore on the new Fiat 500, so watch this space....
With thanks to Chrysler Media
Photo Credits: Matt from Midwest Bayless, an Anonymous Fan, Patrick and Chrissy,
Fiat Group Press and Chrysler Media