Could This Small Car Come Back (Again)?


Stellantis is nevertheless figuring out how to make the Fiat brand name rebound in the U.S., the place CEO Carlos Tavares is confident the Italian little car brand has a foreseeable future. He thinks there are customers in North The united states who want a little vehicle as a next or third car, especially in regions like California.

Driving a European Spicy Pink Fiat 500

The 500 we hopped into was a spicy crimson quantity with a removable fabric prime. It evidently is a descendent of the first Cinquecento and adorable as a button.

Inside was a lacquered red dash with significantly amazing cloth seats, and not just due to the fact of the “Fiat” pattern or the purple piping and badging. It was a exclusive version (Crimson) model where by only the driver’s seat was red, the relaxation of the seats ended up black. So Italian stylish. We didn’t even brain the weighty use of black plastic in the relatively spartan interior. It made the “500” in red in the middle of the steering wheel pop.

The Fiat 500 may be small, but it presents tons of head place earning the entrance seats a excellent area to be—the compact back seats not so substantially.

It’s been a whilst given that we drove the outdated Fiat 500e, which debuted in the U.S. for the 2013 model year with a vary far too constrained for the American market. It experienced a 24-kWh battery onboard, and an EPA-rated range of about 84 miles. (The outdated 500e was a so-called “compliance automobile,” built entirely to suit regional rules these kinds of very low-variety, cheap EVs have mainly been outdated in the previous ten years by similarly very affordable solutions with extra energy, variety, and dimensions.) Contrast that with this new third-era 500 that has a 62-kWh battery pack and will get about 198 miles of selection on the much more generous WLTP tests cycle.

Even with a gasoline engine, early second-gen 500s ended up not powerful. They had a small 1.4-liter engine that pushed out a meager 101 horsepower and 98 lb-ft of torque. In our screening, it took 9.7 seconds to go -60 mph and the quarter mile necessary a relatively leisurely 17.2 seconds at 78.5 mph. Being lightweight and nimble, the aged 500 was most fun in tight corners or on, say, a go-kart track (or MotorTrend’s figure eight screening system). For the 2019 product year the motor vehicle was upgraded with a 135-hp, 150 lb-ft turbocharged variation of the 1.4-liter motor, and there ended up saucier Abarth efficiency products, way too.

Punchy and Exciting

The new, all-electric powered Fiat 500 that Europeans are snapping up has good punch off the line and enough electricity for a small generate all around the streets of Amsterdam courtesy of an 87-kW motor that would make about 118 horsepower, which increases the zero-to-60-mph scoot to about 9 seconds.

The a person-pedal driving labored flawlessly—remove your foot from the accelerator pedal and the car or truck speedily arrives to a end with no will need to contact the brake pedal.

The most up-to-date 500 is even more pleasurable to travel with its light-weight fat and immediate torque. Getting small, it feels related to the road, and has the reflexes of a go-kart. Our check car’s navigation technique was a little bit wonky, and we acquired lost—which gave us double the excursion time. The tiny car or truck can change all over quickly, helpful for slim European streets.

Our tiny spin erased any previous reminiscences of cute but ragged and underpowered rides in a 500. If the new 500 is any indication of the variety of Fiats headed stateside in the upcoming, we have additional hope for the manufacturer. Tavares has presented each of the 14 brands beneath the Stellantis umbrella 10 a long time of funding for main products to prove by themselves.

Driving the Quirky 2021 Citroen Ami

If we had any uncertainties about the competitiveness of the Fiat 500, they had been promptly set apart soon after our subsequent experience in a 2021 Citroen Ami, which is essentially an electrical quadricycle. Really don’t get us wrong, the Ami is lovable to search at with its massive entrance window and solitary wiper, glass roof that extends in front of the driver and connects to a flimsy hardtop, and long side window that does not roll down. From the outside the house, press a button at the front to open up the rear-hinged driver’s door—the passenger doorway is hinged from the entrance which enabled Citroen to use similar doorways. To open the doorways from inside of, pull an orange nylon strap.

In front of the driver is a little display that reveals which equipment you are in (quick to make a slip-up with the gearshift buttons in a pod on the facet of the driver’s seat near the floor), pace, and demand degree. The navigation technique: a holder for your cellular phone. The plastic dash has cupholders, but they are so considerably in front of the driver and passenger, they are difficult to get to.

But it is not a genuine automobile and does not fake to be. The Ami has an 8-hp motor and a prime velocity of 28 mph, producing it a 1,000-pound scooter for two with protection from the features and a lot more stability. It can take off like a golf cart, has about 43 miles of vary, and stops on a dime. The car or truck is loud and jerky, the journey bumpy and practically uncomfortable, with small assistance from the skinny leatherette cushions on the two molded-in plastic seats. Want quirky? The Ami scores top rated marks. Want a thing modest, attractive, electrical, and (ideally) inexpensive? The new 500 would make a compelling solution even in this article in The us…

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