Drive Like an Italian


The Cinquecento’s arrival in America follows on the heels of Fiat’s mandated control of Chrysler after the US automaker was forced into bankruptcy in 2009; Fiat’s expertise at building economical and efficient cars clinched the deal. Now these little Italian beauties have started rolling off an assembly line at a Chrysler plant in Mexico that used to make gas-guzzling PT Cruisers.

Federal mileage ratings for the 5-speed manual are 30 miles per gallon in town and 38 on the highway. Although the 6-speed, fully automatic transmission isn’t yet available in Chrysler showrooms, its expected mileage is 27/34. The US version is about 80 pounds heavier than its European cousin, to improve the car’s crash worthiness and its handling on the road, while the seats have been reconfigured to accommodate fuller-figured Americans.

Many consider the Fiat 500 to be the car that helped to modernize war-ravaged Italy and fuel its postwar industrial recovery. In these uncertain times, it looks like the reborn Fiat 500 of the 21st century might do a similar thing for North America!

Have you ever spotted one? Do you remember what color it was?

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