Beside all the exciting premieres, the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show was also important from another point of view…it marked Fiat’s comeback to the United States. And the first model to go on sale here is the small Fiat 500, which was unveiled in its US-specs.
“The Fiat 500 has always been the right car at the right time,” stated Laura Soave, manager of the Fiat brand in North America. “With the new Fiat 500 a truly exclusive car in one of the most rapidly growing segments in North America is being introduced. It offers prestigious Italian design, value and efficiency, all smartly calibrated for our market.”
With the new Fiat 500 and helped by its Chrysler acquisition, the Italian company is trying to adjust to current American market requirements and capture a part of a popular market segment, small city cars, so practical in today’s urban society. “Like the historic model, the new Fiat 500 redefines the concept of transportation and gives a new sense to expression and individual opportunities,” Soave added. “At a time when America is returning to simplicity with renewed attention focussed on the environment, the new car identifies with the current minimalist bent and offers an advanced and eco-sustainable technology enveloped by an aura of top quality, precision and style.”
In the United States, the Fiat 500 will be offered with only one engine, a 1.4-liter four-cylinder petrol engine that delivers 101 hp (75 kW) at 6,500 rpm and 133 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm. The small Fiat also comes with the MultiAir technology, which decreases fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by 10 percent and which won the “Best of What’s New in 2010” award from Popular Science magazine. Fiat also offers a choice of two transmissions for the 500, a six-speed automatic with Auto Stick function available exclusive in the United States and a five-speed manual with ratios modified especially for the United States.
And speaking of modifications made for the US market, Fiat made a whole series of adjustments that specifically for North America, including a new, redesigned body structure aimed at increasing resistance, the suspension system was created especially for the US market and the four-wheel ABS system was also redesigned. In addition to these, 20 more body components adjustments were made in order to reduce noise in the interior, harshness and vibrations.
The fuel tank in the American Fiat 500 is also 10.5 gallons larger to allow an increased range and the front sears now have the “Easy Entry” system and were redesigned and feature new armrest and cushions to be more comfortable on longer trips. Also, the heating and cooling system were adapted to the more diversified American climate and the steering wheel maneuverability was changed to make the car more stable at high speeds. Fiat also thought about the more choosy American customers and the Fiat 500 is now offered with a Bose Energy Efficient Series audio system with six speakers and subwoofer.
Built in Mexico, the new Fiat 500 will come in three trims (Pop, Sport and Lounge) and will wear a starting price tag of $15,500.