Auto fans in America have been watching the arrival of the Fiat 500 with a wary eye, unsure of whether or not the adorable city car will be the vehicle to return affordable Italian automobiles to the American market. Finally, the changes deemed necessary for American consumer appeal have been made, and the list isn't exactly surprising.
In order to meet Mini-esque cute-luxury requirements, the car will get a slightly softer ride, stronger engine, and a revised center console to fit 'Murrican cup-holders for those 64-oz. jugs o'cola from KFC. A new set of bumpers and body cladding is also on the menu.
The engine is essentially the same 1.4-liter 4-cylinder found in Europe, equipped with Fiat's MultiAir tech to make it meaner and cleaner. It will be matched to either a new six-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission
The car will be built at Fiat's plant in Toluca, Mexico, so I wouldn't advise heading down to the factory to pick it up without a Kevlar vest and armed security detail. Expect to see the US-spec Fiat 500 (doesn't that sound weird?) on dealer lots in December, with official numbers showing up later this week from Los Angeles.
By Phil Alex