Fiat shut down all productions and sales of new models in North America back in 1984, leaving Phoenix Arizona residents and North Americans as a whole wanting for one of the most successful and practicality based automotive brands on the planet. Based out of Turin Italy, Fiat is sort of the Vespa of the small car market, a perfect blend of Italian cool which has been shaped and melded by post war Mediterranean pragmatism. While certainly not the most flashy of all Italian car manufacturers, there is a very good reason that Fiat is the largest auto manufacturer in Italy, because their cars are designed to work. The company has developed a reputation for being able to go to any country in the world, be it a first world super power, a Balkan state, a former Soviet state, or a developing nation along the ancient spice trade route, and delivering models that tailor Fiat quality to the needs of the individual market and culture.
This year Fiat is returning to the US market with the Fiat 500 (pictured below). The Fiat 500 is a fuel efficient (up to 40 mpg) hatchback powered by a 1.4-liter, four-cylinder engine producing 101 horsepower. Customers have the choice of either a six-speed automatic transmission or a five-speed manual gearbox.
With chrome elements, two-tone seats, and a dashboard that perfectly matches the body color combined with handy storage compartments and small details, like a fragrance dispenser, to create an environment that is both elegant and functional, the interior of the Fiat 500 is where this vehicle really comes to life. With the layout and feel of a vintage European racing vehicle, updated to look and operate like a fighter jet cockpit, this car offers an interesting mixture of vintage class and charm with plenty of modern comforts and amenities.
Prices start at $15,500 for three trim levels of the car called Pop, Sport and Lounge. The various options include 16-inch aluminum wheels, fog lamps, body cladding, sport-tuned suspension, sunroof, and satellite radio. And there are always new and customized versions available, such as the luxury Gucci version which debuted at this year’s Geneva Motor Show.
Phoenix Valley residents can view and test drive the new 2011 Fiat 500 at Fiat of Scottsdale,which shares space with Airpark Dodge Chrysler Jeep at 7801 E. Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd.