For 2016, the Fiat 500 gets a face-lift that redefines the word “subtle”

Fiat has given the retro-flavored 500 and the open-top 500c a discreet mid-life face-lift.

The Turin-based automaker promises its engineers have made over 1,800 modifications to the 500, but most of them are seemingly invisible to the naked eye, and the exterior updates are subtle at best. Up front, the 8-year-old hatchback gains redesigned headlights, a new strip of chrome trim above the license plate, new fog lights and a wide air dam flanked by chrome accents.

Don’t look for more significant changes out back. The 500 only receives new tail lamps with body-colored inserts and a redesigned lower bumper. As expected, additional paint colors and new alloy wheel designs are part of the updates.

The big news for 2016 is that the 500 can finally be ordered with a touch screen-based infotainment system. Lounge models are available with a five-inch screen that runs Chrysler’s Uconnect technology, though it should be noted that the feature is offered as an extra-cost option. The cockpit also benefits from more comfortable seats and a new three-spoke steering wheel, and it’s quieter than last year’s model thanks to an extra layer of sound-deadening material.

Fiat has hinted the 500’s entry-level, 100-horsepower, 1.4-liter, four-cylinder engine is going to carry on without any major modifications, but technical information for the U.S.-spec model has not been published yet. In Europe, the city car carries on with a three engines including a 69-horsepower 1.2-liter four-cylinder, a 0.9-liter two-cylinder TwinAir mill available with either 85 or 105 horsepower and lone turbodiesel, a 1.3-liter MultiJet rated at 95 horsepower.

The 2016 Fiat 500 will be presented to the public this September at the Frankfurt Motor Show, and it will go on sale across the nation shortly after. An updated version of the sport-focused 500 Abarth will be introduced before the end of the year, possibly in November at the Los Angeles Motor Show.

Product Review

Mercedes-Benz updates the timeless G-wagen for the modern world

For decades, the G-Class has been an outlier in the Mercedes-Benz portfolio, a body-on-frame brute with the soul – and driving manners – of an off-road pickup. With the all-new G550, Mercedes seeks to smooth out some of the rough edges.
Cars

Mercedes lets the sun shine in one last time with SLC Final Edition convertible

The Mercedes-Benz SLC convertible sports car is going out of production. Launched in 1996 as the SLK, the model has been a fixture in the Mercedes-Benz lineup across three generations.
Cars

2020 GMC Acadia toughens up on the outside, gets smarter on the inside

The 2020 GMC Acadia crossover gets styling updates and a more rugged AT4 trim level. Under the skin, the Acadia sports a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a wider array of tech features.
Cars

2019 RAM 1500 Classic Warlock special edition: Badass style without the whoop

If you like the looks of blacked-out badass trucks without the cost of a desert racer, FCA announced the 2019 Ram 1500 Classic Warlock, a special edition pickup that focuses on appearance with only a touch of additional off-road capability.
Cars

2020 Kia Soul and Soul EV continue to think inside the box

The 2020 Kia Soul is the third generation of Kia's boxy curiosity. The Soul maintains its signature look, but gets tech and powertrain upgrades. The all-electric Soul EV returns as well.
Cars

Nissan is using old Leaf batteries to power and connect off-the-grid campers

Nissan has teamed up with trailer manufacturer Opus to design a mobile, weatherproof power pack built with battery cells sourced from the first-generation Leaf. Called Roam, the pack stores enough electricity to power a camper for up to a…
Cars

Alfa Romeo’s latest Ferrari-powered F1 race car is ready to hit the track

Alfa Romeo is doubling down on Formula One racing after a decades-long hiatus. Now essentially a support team for Ferrari, its 2019 driver lineup includes a former world champion and a potential future star.
Cars

Researchers teach self-driving cars to predict pedestrians’ next moves

University of Michigan researchers are developing a system that teaches self-driving cars to predict pedestrian movement. Humans don't always act in their own best self-interest, so autonomous cars will need to practice protective driving.
Cars

Subaru’s latest VIZIV concept car is pumped full of adrenaline

The Subaru VIZIV Adrenaline is the seventh member of the Japanese automaker's family of VIZIV concept cars. It debuts at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, but for now, all we're getting is a shadowy teaser image.
Cars

Audi is advancing the tech that teaches cars to talk to traffic lights

Audi is teaching its cars the language of traffic lights. The company developed technology that tells motorists what speed they should drive at in order to catch as many green lights as possible.
Cars

Waymo rules and Apple trails in California self-driving car benchmarks

California's DMV releases annual reports of self-driving car disengagements on public roads. In the most recent reports. Waymo had the best performance, GM Cruise came in second, and Apple's self-driving program was in last place.
Cars

Watch a modified Audi e-tron electric SUV drive straight up a ski slope

A modified Audi e-tron climbed up an 85-percent gradient on an Austrian ski slope in a tribute to a classic Audi commercial. The vehicle used for the stunt sported an extra electric motor and spiked tires.
Cars

Mamma mia! Alfa Romeo will unveil a new model at the Geneva Auto Show

Alfa Romeo told Digital Trends it will unveil a new model at the 2019 Geneva Auto Show. It stopped short of revealing what it has in store, but rumors claim it will be a crossover positioned below the Stelvio.
Cars

Citroën says you could drive its tiny Ami One electric car without a license

Citroën's Ami One concept car is an electric vehicle that's as cute as it is compact. The miniature motor only has a top speed of 28 mph, so the French automaker imagines it as a shareable runaround for short drives.