On July 4, Fiat launched the new version of its 500 model, a much-beloved small car originally launched exactly 50 years earlier. The new 500 has a few tech tricks, courtesy of Microsoft, up its sleeves.
The new 500 shares a similar front-end and sides with its predecessor, but the rear is a little different.
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Would you believe the new 500 has four seats and a hatchback? Yes, it retains the seating configuration of the original.
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The interior of the 500 looks very nice. Speakers molded into the A-pillars, along with speakers mounted in the doors, suggest this car will have at least six speakers for its stereo system.
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The 500 is fully loaded with technology. It gets a navigation system specially designed for it. One of the steering wheel buttons sports a Microsoft Windows logo, an indication of the Blue and Me system, which includes digital audio and Bluetooth cell phone integration.
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On the console, a USB port lets you plug in a USB key loaded with MP3 or WMA audio files.
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If you would rather bring your iPod along, it can also plug into the 500's USB port.
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There are a number of small engines available for the 500, starting with a 1.2-liter, four-cylinder putting out 68 horsepower. The top of the line is a 1.4-liter, four-cylinder with 99 horsepower.
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Safety equipment is impressive for such a small car. It can be had with seven airbags, including knee bags for the front passenger and driver.
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Here's a picture of the original Fiat 500. It has the same rounded roofline and creases in the sides as the new one.