Search This Site

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Don't Miss the Fiat End of Year Sale

Heads up! Now is the time to get your Fiat 500 before the end of year factory incentives go away on January 3rd. The $199 lease* and other deals are going on, so don't miss out.

Give one of these top Fiat dealers a call to find out more:

Criswell FIAT of Gaithersburg
Criswell FIAT of Gaithersburg, Maryland - 1-888-878-2488

FIAT of Austin
FIAT of Austin, Texas - 1-877-908-3428

Bergstrom FIAT of Milwaukee
Bergstrom FIAT of Milwaukee, Wisconsin - 1-888-616-5893

FIAT of Tysons Corners
FIAT of Tysons Corners, Virginia - 1-888-716-2490

FIAT of Fredericksburg
FIAT of Fredericksburg, Virginia - 1-888-904-4977

Palmen FIAT of Kenosha
Palmen FIAT of Kenosha, Wisconsin - 1-888-379-0295

FIAT of Larchmont
FIAT of Larchmont, New York - 1-888-405-2249

or go to the Fiat USA website here to find your nearest dealer.

*Well-qualified consumers can lease a 2012 Fiat 500 Pop manual for $199 a month with no money due at signing through Ally Financial or US Bank. Tax, title and license are extra. This 42-month lease allows for 12,000 miles per year. Lessees under this program must take retail delivery by January 3, 2012. See your Fiat Studio for more details.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays From Fiat500USA

I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a very happy holiday. Thank you for making the most popular Fiat 500 site based in the USA.

In appreciation, I've opened up my image archive of historic Fiat ads and brochures. There are over 170 pieces of Fiat memorabilia starting from the late 1960s through the early 1980s.

Historic Fiat Brochures

Vintage Fiat Ads

click on the slide shows to go to the albums

Additionally, here is a link to the public archive that contains over 1,300 Fiat related images for you to enjoy.

Don't forget to visit the YouTube Channel here.

and while you are at it

the Facebook page here (don't forget to like us!).

Thank you for all your kind comments and here's to a great new year for everyone!

Friday, December 23, 2011

US Fiat 500 Abarth Price and Other Rumors

US 500 Abarth
US Fiat500 Abarth

Here is the latest, heard through the grapevine. Back on November 18, I reported that a very good source told me the Fiat 500 Abarth would be priced below $25K (read about it here). How far below was not specified, but the general feeling from the conversation was somewhere between $24 and 25 thousand.

Now comes word that the Fiat 500 Abarth will come significantly under that first assessment. What has been relayed to me is that the US Fiat 500 Abarth will start at $22,500. Now this is not official, but it does come from another particularly reliable source.

Fiat 500 TwinAir
Fiat 500 TwinAir - Will the new Fiat 500T look more like a 500 or more like a 500 Abarth?

Also talked about being in the works is a higher horsepower version of the 500. Known at the moment as the Fiat 500T, it will be slotted between the 500 Sport and the 500 Abarth. Power output has been reported as high as 135 HP or the same as a European 500 Abarth.

Fiat ElleZero
Fiat 500 ElleZero

Finally, the 4 door Fiat sedan, currently known under the code name ElleZero, will make its way to the US rather quickly following the European launch at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

Abarth pricing is expected to be revealed next month - stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

'Tis the Season for a Fiat 500

US Fiat 500 Pop

Fiat End of Year Sale

It's Christmas time and you're buying everything for everyone else.  Hey, what about you?  Treat yourself right this year. For about six bucks a day and no money down,* you can drive a Fiat 500 and really get into the holiday spirit. OK, I know it's better to give, etc., no problem, you'll be saving the environment and making your friends happy 'cause they won't have to ride in your beater anymore.

US Fiat 500 Pop Interior

Six bucks a day for a Fiat 500 filled with genuine Italian style and loaded with features unheard of at this price:

Leather-Wrapped Steering Wheel
Tilt Steering Column
Air Conditioning with Micron Filter
Speed Control
Remote Keyless Entry
Sentry Key Immobilizer
Body-Color Power Heated Mirrors
Electronic Stability Control
Hill Start Assist
Bi-Function Halogen Projector Headlamp
AM / FM / CD / MP3 Radio
BLUE&ME(TM) Handsfree Communication with USB Port
Steering Wheel-Mounted Audio Controls
Auxiliary Audio Input Jack
Chrome Exhaust Tip
Driver and Passenger Front Seatback Pockets
Driver Height Adjustable Seat
Driver Seat Memory
Electric Power Steering
Front Floor Mats
Front Reading / Map Lamps
Front Seat Reactive Head Restraints
7 Air Bags
Plus much more...

Call one of these Fiat dealers and find out more. You and your friends deserve it!

Criswell FIAT of Gaithersburg, Maryland - 1-888-878-2488

FIAT of Austin, Texas - 1-877-908-3428

Bergstrom FIAT of Milwaukee, Wisconsin - 1-888-616-5893

FIAT of Tysons Corners, Virginia - 1-888-716-2490

FIAT of Fredericksburg, Virginia - 1-888-904-4977

Palmen FIAT of Kenosha, Wisconsin - 1-888-379-0295

FIAT of Larchmont, New York - 1-888-405-2249

or go to the Fiat USA website here to find your nearest dealer.

*Well-qualified consumers can lease a 2012 Fiat 500 Pop manual for $199 a month with no money due at signing through Ally Financial or US Bank. Tax, title and license are extra. This 42-month lease allows for 12,000 miles per year. Lessees under this program must take retail delivery by January 3, 2012. See your Fiat Studio for more details.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Abarth 595 Turismo and Competizione Premier

Abarth 595 Turismo
Abarth 595 Turismo in two-tone metallic Rosso Officina and Grigio Pista

The new Abarth 595 made its premier at the Bologna Motor Show last month. The Abarth 595 will be available in two versions -"Turismo" and "Competizione". Both use the 1.4 Turbo T-Jet engine with the output raised to 160 hp courtesy of the standard esseesse tuning software.

The engine is a 1368 cm3 4 cylinder 16 valve unit (turbocharged with a fixed-geometry IHI turbocharger) that delivers 230 Nm of torque at 3000 rpm in Sport "overboost" mode. Top speed is 211 km/h and acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h takes 7.4 seconds. Fuel consumption is 6.5 l/100 km over a combined cycle. It is important to note that this engine is different from the one that will equip the North American Fiat 500 Abarth. The NA Fiat 500 Abarth will offer more performance due to the addition of MultiAir technology that increases torque and drivability, especially in part throttle operation.

The Abarth 595 Turismo version features distinctive trim such as aluminized logos and badging, titanium-colored 17" alloy wheels, and special "flocking" treatment for the central tunnel and dashboard. It is the first time a state-of-the-art treatment in the fashion and design industry is applied to the automotive field. Pedal unit, kick plate and gearbox trim is in Alutex aluminum glass fibre material.

Abarth 595 Turismo Flocking
Unique "flocking" treatment for the central tunnel and dashboard

The Abarth 595 Turismo uses the electrically-operated manual Competizione gearbox with paddle controls on the steering wheel. The recently revised software for this transmission has improved smoothness and reduced gearshift times.

Abarth 595 Competizione
Abarth 595 Competizione

The Abarth 595 Competizione is dedicated to the hard core enthusiast. This Abarth has the heavy duty C510 manual transmission, lightweight 17" titanium-colored alloy wheels with yellow Brembo brake calipers.

The interior has "Abarth Corsa by Sabelt" leather and natural leather-colored Alcantara seats bearing the 595 logo embroidered on the integrated headrest. Racing pedals and shift knob with Abarth emblems add to the package.

Abarth 595 Competizione

Keep in mind, these new Abarth models are for Europe, but don't think that we in the US will miss out on "specials" like these. You can bet there is something in the works...

Fiat Group Press

Friday, December 16, 2011

Fiat 500 byAbarth Package

Fiat 500 byAbarth

The new Fiat 500 TwinAir "byAbarth" package was recently displayed at this years Bologna Auto Show and drew a lot of attention. In addition to the usual TwinAir trim that consists of special burnished "anthracite" trim, a "piano black" (optional) roof and the Total Black environment with sports seats and the burnished dashboard fascia, the “byAbarth” customisation kit includes “Total Black” 16” alloy wheels with unique Abarth hub caps, side skirts, rear spoiler, racing graphics on the hood and a sport pedal kit.

Fiat 500 byAbarth rear

The new “byAbarth Pack” will be offered as an option combined with the Pasodoble Red and Crossover Black exterior colors.

Fiat's TwinAir engine is the "International Engine of the Year 2011", and features spritely performance along with low fuel consumption along with the lowest emissions in the world for a petrol engine.

The Fiat 500 "byAbarth" package is currently only available in Europe. Will the US see a similar option? We'll see...

Fiat Group Press

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Fiat 500 Nation America

Fiat 500 Nation America Blue

Fiat unveiled a new special edition Fiat 500 in Europe called the Nation America. Commissioned to celebrate the return of Fiat to the USA, the Fiat 500 Nation America is a trim package that pays homage to the traditional American red, white and blue colors.

Fiat 500 Nation America Mirror

Here is a more about the Fiat 500 Nation America courtesy of Fiat Group Press:

The 500 Nation America Limited Edition is offered in the exclusive metallic shade America Blue and it is distinguished by mirror fairings with "Stars & Stripes" graphics, stickers, dedicated beltline and 16" alloy wheels with red cap edge. American inspiration and iconography are also found in the interiors with red/ivory seats and contrasting white dashboard.

Fiat 500 Nation America White

The white three-layer paint and "Stars & Stripes" mirror fairings are combined with the red top and the graphics in the colours of the American flag in the beltline in the convertible version. In this case the elegant 16" alloy wheels are finished with a blue rim edge.

Fiat 500 Nation America Stripe

The 500 Nation is equipped as standard with manual air conditioning and is enriched with the kit complete with exterior chrome-plating in both saloon and convertible versions. Lastly, a badge on the pillar bearing the serial number of this limited edition makes this car unique.

Fiat 500 Nation America Mats

The new 500 Nation America Limited Edition can be ordered starting from late February 2012 at the approximate price of Euro 14,500 for the saloon version and Euro 18,000 for the convertible.

Fiat 500 Nation America Emblem

Fiat Group Press

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Future US Fiat ElleZero Spotted

Fiat ElleZero and

Images of the new Fiat ElleZero, expected to come to America, have surfaced on the Internet. The new Fiat, code named L0 or ElleZero, will be a roomy, 4 door MPV type vehicle. The Fiat ElleZero is expected to join the US Fiat 500 in showrooms sometime in 2013.

Fiat ElleZero rear

Produced in both 5 and 7 passenger versions, this B segment vehicle's length is approximately 161 - 169 inches compared with 139 inches for the Fiat 500.

New Fiat Panda
New Fiat Panda

The new Fiat ElleZero shows a strong family relationship with the Fiat 500, but also mixes the latest Fiat styling cues from the popular Fiat Panda, Europe's number 1 selling A segment car.

Fiat models coming to the US
This slide taken from Fiat's June 2011 investors presentation shows the new ElleZero due in US showrooms in 2013, but notice there is also a Fiat produced Jeep model due out at the same time...

In Europe, the Fiat ElleZero is expected to have a full range of engines available - the 1.3 L and 1.6 L MultiJet diesels and .9 L TwinAir and the 1.4 L MutiAir gas engines. This leaves a lot of possibilities open for us here in this country.

Fiat ElleZero CUV
The Fiat ElleZero chassis has all wheel drive capability. Could we see a Jeep version of that here?

The Fiat ElleZero chassis is different than the US Fiat 500. It is called the SUSW (Small US Wide), and is a widened and US-compliant platform based on the one used by the Fiat Punto and Alfa Romeo MiTo models. The revised chassis will have 4 wheel drive capability.

The Fiat ElleZero will make its debut during the Geneva International Motor Show, March 8-18, 2012. Stay tuned!

Images: Fiat Group Press, Chrysler Media, Quattrororuote

Monday, December 12, 2011

Fiat 500 NHTSA Crash Test

The Fiat 500 has been tested by every major safety organization from around the world, and has always received outstanding results except for a single test done by the NHTSA. Euro NCAP, Australian NCAP and the IIHS rate similar side test results as excellent.

The Fiat 500 is known around the world for its impressive safety record. In Europe, it was the first car of its size to earn a 5 Star safety rating from Euro NCAP. In the US, the Fiat 500 was just awarded the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) highest honor - a Top Safety Pick rating. With all this in mind, the recently announced National Highway Transit Institute (NHTSA) crash ratings for the Fiat 500 comes as a surprise.

NHTSA front barrier test

In the NHTSA crash tests, the Fiat 500 performed well in 2 out of the 3 tests, receiving 4 Stars in both the front barrier and rollover tests, however, in the side impact test the car scored just 2 Stars. This gave the 500 an uncharacteristically low overall score of 3 Stars.

This is quite a baffling result, because the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) just tested the Fiat 500 and the car was awarded its Top Safety Pick rating (read here). In the IIHS test, the car was awarded a 'Good' rating - their highest score. Traditionally, the IIHS crash tests are considered more severe and real world than the NHTSA tests. Here are the differences:

In the NHTSA's frontal tests, cars are crashed into a solid barrier at 35 mph, representing a head-on collision of two cars of similar size and weight each moving at 35 mph. This tests the effectiveness of the restraint system with star ratings given based on the chance of receiving a serious injury.

The IIHS conducts a 40 mph front offset impact test designed to simulate two cars of similar weights colliding. This severely tests the passenger compartment integrity in addition to the restraint system. An offset test is more demanding of a vehicle's structure than a full-width test, while a full-width test is more demanding of a vehicle's safety belts and airbags.¹

Side Impact
Tests from both organizations simulate FRONT-INTO-SIDE crashes. In the tests, vehicles are struck by a moving barrier.

The NHTSA test is done with a 3,015 pound deformable barrier representing the front end of a midsize passenger car moving at 38.5 mph.

IIHS uses a 3,300 pound deformable barrier in the shape of the front end of a fullsize SUV traveling at 31 mph. The NHTSA doesn't assess the risk to people’s heads when their vehicles are struck by high-riding ones.²

The NHTSA also conducts another side test that the IIHS doesn't called the Side Pole Test.

The Results

Overall Front Impact Rating - 4 Stars

Driver seat rating - 4 Stars
Passenger seat rating - 3 Stars

The Fiat 500 scored an overall 4 Stars in the NHTSA front impact test. Breaking down the rating, we see the driver scored well with 4 Stars, the passenger receiving 3 Stars. The passenger score is lower than expected, but looking at the pre-test picture may give you a clue to the score. The passenger seat looks unnaturally close to the dashboard. In contrast, Euro NCAP guideline for the passenger seat requires it be adjusted in the same position as the driver's seat.³

Although this seat is adjusted according to test protocol, most will agree it is not in a natural position for most human beings this size. Would sitting too close to the dashboard effect the results? What do you think...

Notice how close the passenger's knees are to the glove box. Euro NCAP test procedures call for the passenger seat to be adjusted to the same position as the drivers. Compare this to the image below...

Drivers seat track position.

Overall Rollover Rating - 4 Stars

Dynamic Test - No-Tip
Risk of Rollover - 14%

The Fiat 500 scored 4 Stars with a No-Tip rating. This rating is determined by a mathematical calculation based on measuring the vehicles height and center of gravity, etc., but also with a dynamic test.

This is an interesting test. The dynamic test involves a fishhook maneuver to represent an obstacle avoidance situation. With the vehicle traveling at 35-50 mph, the steering wheel is turned 270 degrees in one direction, then 540 degrees in the other direction, both within about one second. Instruments on the inside wheels measure if the wheels lift off the pavement during the maneuver. If both inside tires lift at least 2 inches, the vehicle is considered to have tipped up. If a vehicle doesn’t tip at 35 mph, it is run again at 40, then 45 and finally 50 mph. If it doesn’t tip at all, it is listed as “No-tip.” **

Overall Side Impact Test - 2 Stars

Drivers Seat (overall) - 5 Stars
Rear Passenger (overall) - 2 Stars

NHTSA side crash test

In the Side Impact tests, the Fiat 500 driver's seat earned a rating of 5 Stars, however, the rear passenger earning only 2 Stars brought the overall rating down to 2 Stars. The NHTSA has not made public any specific details other than the star ratings, so we don't know exactly what caused these results.

What we do know is that, in the IIHS side impact tests, the 500 earned their highest rating of "Good."

IIHS Crash Test

The IIHS also provided observations from their test:

Injury measures:
Driver — Measures taken from the dummy indicate that a fracture of the pelvis would be possible in a crash of this severity.

Rear passenger — Measures taken from the dummy indicate a low risk of any significant injuries in a crash of this severity.

Head protection:
Driver — The dummy’s head was protected from being hit by any hard structures, including the intruding barrier, by a side curtain airbag that deployed from the roof.

Rear passenger — The dummy’s head was protected from being hit by any hard structures, including the intruding barrier, by a side curtain airbag that deployed from the roof.

The current lack of documentation by the NHTSA on the test and the strikingly different results in similar tests have spurred a lot of questions and speculation on enthusiast sites.

The below is taken from a thread on the Fiat 500 USA Forum and represents a typical thought on the situation:

"... I find it very unusual that the Fiesta was tested by NHTSA, had a dummy in the rear experience a lower spine acceleration of 87 times the force of gravity (5g's above their threshold rating) and STILL received a FIVE STAR side impact rating for that passenger. Say wha?

I'm also saying I find it highly unusual that the 500 scored extremely well in IIHS testing and poorly in NHTSA whereas I would have expected to receive similar ratings in both tests as did the Fiesta. The radically different scores in similar testing is very odd to me." - author Felnus, member of Fiat 500 USA Forum.

My observation
The Fiat 500 has been crash tested by independent safety organizations from all over the world, and in each and every test- all the front end, front end offset, rollover, rear impact, roof crush, and side impact tests - the Fiat 500 received a good to outstanding result except for this one NHTSA test in this one seating position.

Euro NCAP - 5 Star (possible 6 Star if implemented)
Australian ANCAP - 5 Star
(scored 15.80 out of 16 in the side impact crash test)
USA IIHS - Top Safety Pick

Make up your own mind... for me, it is clear.


Development of the Fiat 500, like all Chrysler Group LLC vehicles, makes safety and security a priority. In fact, the Fiat 500 features more than 35 safety and security features including: 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.

In addition, the company strives to continuously improve vehicle performance for third-party tests. We do know that the 2012 Fiat 500 has been named a "Top Safety Pick" for 2011 by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The IIHS recognizes vehicles that demonstrate "good" performance in front, side, rollover and rear crash test evaluations performed at its Vehicle Research Center.


*Beginning with 2011 model year vehicles, NHTSA began using new test dummies and different injury criteria for the side impact test, so ratings are not comparable to previous model years. The agency also added a new test that simulates a side impact into a pole. Previously, 5 Star ratings were easy to come by via the old NHTSA testing criteria.

"...It's expected that many cars that had been earning five stars will earn only three under the new system. That's because NHTSA is now factoring in more injury parameters, has added more tests, and is including data from dummies representing a small adult female instead of just an average-sized adult male..." taken from Consumer, "Understanding Test and Ratings"

Sources: NHTSA, IIHS, Euro NCAP, ANCAP, Fiat 500 USA Forum, Chrysler Media, Fiat SpA

3. Euro NCAP