Fiat's launch of its new 500 model will make fans of Italy in the 1950s, those who dream of Sophia Loren riding a Vespa, as happy as the new Mini made Anglophiles. Fiat combined the new trend toward city cars and retro design to come up with this new version of its iconic car. The original Fiat 500 was launched on July 4, 1957, and the new 500 was launched exactly 50 years later. Fiat takes a page from Mini by offering the 500 with all sorts of cosmetic accessories, including checker patterns for the roof.
Fiat used the Web to gather over 3 million suggestions about how the new 500 should be designed. The car retains the essential look of the original but adds modern equipment. It has excellent safety gear for a small, inexpensive car, including seven airbags, an electronic stability program, and antilock brakes. Fiat also makes Microsoft's Blue and Me available in the 500. This system, which Fiat has already incorporated into other models, combines digital audio with Bluetooth cell phone integration, features not often seen on cars in this price range, which ranges from 10,500 to 14,500 euros.
Yes, pricing is in euros because Fiat isn't exporting the car to the U.S. any time soon. We'll just have to be content with the Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit, and Nissan Versa.