Fiat has announced a revised version of its 500 subcompact will debut on July 4. The planned changes are not expected to be significant, as the retro-styled model has stayed true to its original design over the years.
Exterior changes will include restyled front and rear bumpers and refreshed headlights. Inside, the 500 will have new air vents, new trim colors, and an updated infotainment system.
The current generation 500 has been in production since 2007, and besides minor cosmetic tweaks, it has remained unchanged since then. The range of 500’s include the Pop, Sport, Lounge, and Turbo which develop between 101 and 135 horsepower from non-turbocharged and forced-induction versions of a 1.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine. For more grunt, there’s the Fiat 500 Abarth with 160 hp and 170 pound-feet of torque on tap. The subcompacts weigh about 2400 pounds.
By comparison, when the first 500 went on sale in 1957, it weighed a scant 1,034 pounds, but also made do with a tiny two-cylinder motor that was positioned at the rear and rated at 12 horsepower. That translated to about 86 pounds per horsepower. At full bore, the ’57 model could just barely manage 50 mph.
The 500 has always been a combination of styling and fun-to-drive properties, and while it has grown in size since its inception, the current generation still remains a quirky, nimble vehicle that has sold very well here in the U.S.
Fiat will be looking to continue that success with the new version. If you live in the states, you’re welcome to pretend Fiat is celebrating our nation’s birthday with a Fourth of July reveal, but either way, 58 years later, the new 500 is guaranteed to stick to its roots.
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