What is it? The tiny Fiat 500 will be the first offering from Chrysler's partnership with Italian automaker Fiat. While there has been no official release of the U.S. specs, the first engine available will likely be a 1.4-liter, 100-hp four-cylinder with six-speed manual transmission. The engine will have Fiat's new Multiair variable-valve technology that helps to increase power and fuel-efficiency, and it promises to aid noise levels and refinement. A 170-hp turbocharged version and a six-speed manual are expected to follow a few months later in the sporty Abarth version. A semi-convertible version will also be available in the future. It's a roll-up canvas top that creates a large sunroof, as was in the original 500 in the 1960s.
In Europe, the 500 is a popular model among the urban hip crowd and comes in three trim lines with the top model adding standard air conditioning and aluminum wheels.
The U.S. version will be built in Mexico, and the size and price will slot between the Smart ForTwo and Mini Cooper. European pricing ranges from $14,000 to over $16,000.
CR's take We had a chance to drive a Euro-spec two-door hatchback and found that it was fun to drive, but the ride was rather harsh . We hope the U.S. version's suspension will address these issues without diluting the spry character.
When will it be available? Sometime in 2010.
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