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Driving the Fiat 500 Abarth Automatic

With lightning fast shifts, the Fiat 500 Abarth automatic is not your typical slushbox automatic

Fiat 500X Earns Highest Safety Award

The Fiat 500X has the highest possible IIHS safety rating in its class

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 Giulia Quadrifoglio Debut

Watch the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio Debut Video at the LA Autoshow

Fiat 500 Abarth Oil Change

Everything you need to know about changing the oil on a Fiat 500 Abarth and 500 Turbo


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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

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