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Unstoppable: The Fiat Lineup Expands To Fit 2015
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In 2012, a Lilliputian car weighing less than 2,400 pounds alighted on American shores. It was curvy, adorable, and slipped through the wind like sanded glass. It was a modest car. Its aspirations were anything but.
That car was the Fiat 500, and that year, American car customers discovered that Fiat meant more than Italian style and reliable engineering. They discovered that to drive Fiat was to drive with charisma, with confidence. More than 80 international awards for the Fiat 500 backed that up. The 500 was a small car that lived big. And its modern progeny prove the point.
For the 2015 model year, the Fiat lineup is expanding to six models: the iconic 500 and 500c, the spirited 500 Turbo, the high-performing 500 Abarth and Abarth Cabrio, the five-passenger 500L and the all-electric 500e.
Fiat 500: Small yet Mighty
Welcome the car that started it all. The 500 is much like the Little-Engine-That-Could, except that whereas that locomotive was consigned to the lonely rails, the Fiat 500 can go anywhere covered by asphalt. Each trim has Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port and an iPod hookup to sate the Millennial Generation. A Beats Premium Audio package is optional. Not only is the Fiat 500 easy on the ears; it is also easy on the eyes. It comes in 15 bold exterior colors and daring interior color schemes. Fashionistas may prefer appearances to numbers, but one statistics stands out: 40 mpg.
Fiat 500c: Top Down and Long Gone
The Fiat 500c is the topless variant, a loveable roadster with a semi-retractable soft-top roof in one of three colors. Its targa-style roof folds like a Chinese fan, leaving the windows and frame intact, keeping the bugs outside while inviting the sun inside. Unlike conventional convertible roofs, the 500c’s cloth top can recede at speeds up to 60 mph.
The “c” suffix stands for cabriolet, the European equivalent of convertible. Like all 500’s, the 500c is rigorously designed for passenger and pedestrian safety, incorporating both front and rear crumple zones and a built-in steel roll cage.
Fiat 500 Turbo: Turn In, Tune Up
Available only as a hatchback, the Fiat 500 Turbo comes with big brakes, a roof spoiler and a turbocharged 135-horsepower engine with 5-speed manual transmission. Perhaps the only music which sounds better than the roar of silvery exhaust pipe is the standard Alpine audio system. Its fire truck-red calipers, clasped onto its pizza-sized disc brakes, herald its inspiring power.
Fiat 500 Abarth: Wild and Wonderful
“Small and wicked” aptly describes the Abarth twins. One has a top, one does not, and both boast a 160-horsepower engine and 34 mpg. Riding on high-performance suspensions with selective damping, the Abarth twins can make short work of any twisty road. Be it the Tail of the Dragon in the Tennessee Smokies, Highway 50 through Ohio’s Hocking Hills or Seventh Avenue through Lower Manhattan, any road must succumb to the Turbos’ glue-like 17-inch wheels and powerful acceleration. Independent professionals have clocked the 500 Abarth hatchback at 0 to 60 mph in just 6.8 seconds.
Fiat 500L: Larger than Life
If two are better than one, why not five? Priced at less than $20,000, the 500L has room for five passengers in its tall, spacious cabin. The model is split into four feature trims: Pop, Easy, Trekking and Lounge. Each one achieves up to 33 highway mpg and has 160 rollicking horses. Models can be equipped with Uconnect, a cabin control and infotainment system. Heated seats, leather upholstery, parking sensors and other modern features are also available.
Fiat 500e: Memories per Gallon
Green never came in so many colors. The 40 mpg of the base 500 and the 34 mpg of the Abarth are nothing to sneeze at, but what can compare to 108 MPGe? Outfitted with a 24-kilowatt lithium-ion battery pack, the Fiat 500e achieves 108 highway MPGe and 122 city MPGe. In keeping with its avant-garde design and purpose, the 500e also has a voice-activated Tom-Tom navigation system and an onboard smartphone telematics system.
The Fiat 500 is the car suited to modern American life. It conserves fuel but not fun. It can hold four to five passengers, a bicycle, a stroller, or a weekend’s worth of family luggage. Its fashion foot never falters, and neither do its sprightly engines. More than one million Fiat 500 vehicles have been sold worldwide since the model launch in 2007, and with the Fiat lineup expanding, that number, those satisfied customers, will continue to rise.
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