The Fiat 500 or in its original Italian, the Cinquecento is a beautiful example of modern engineering from an inspired original, the modern 500 is by no means a compromised or even cheap descendant of the Nuova 500. To put it in a more poetic form, whereas the Nuova 500 was designed to be practical, and functional first, much like your dressed down mother who raised you through two economic recessions and does not really see the point of getting anything for form. Whilst the modern 500 is your little sister, raised in the internet age, savvy, smart, with some money to spend, and she’s all about fashion, looks, but wants stuff to have all the luxuries. Jerrick, our intrepid editor attended the Singapore launch of the 500 and survived to tell the tale.
The launch for this wonderful little miniature car was held at the National Museum of Singapore at the Glass Atrium.
As I entered the atrium, I was greeted by the sight of the nuova 500, a black tarp covered 500 and a 500 covered with a tarp designed to look like an old 500. All very cool. The announcement was made to the press first (I had crashed the Press conference by simply showing up early.) Eitherway, I did manage to get some really great pictures.
The interior of the car looks unbelievably hip, with the interior colour matched. One of the most interesting features of the 500 are its immense number of customisations.
According to Robert Tripoli of Fiat Commercial, there are up to 500,000 customisations available. Robert was also very kind to share with us one of the 500’s great technological enhancements, The one I am particularly excited about is Blue&me, a collaboration between Fiat and Microsoft, allowing you to use USB to connect to your Car’s entertainment system, allowing you to connect your phone via Bluetooth to pick up phone calls and the like, you will also be able to see the information of your caller and messages on your car’s display panels. Voice recognition is also included in the car, though previous experience with such technologies have been tenuous and we’ll just have to see how good this iteration will be. Nevertheless, the use of such advanced technologies is very impressive for a car with its target audience and the fact that it is incredibly safe only serves to help it.
This car has an amazing 7 airbags with all the techonological doohickies you would normally expect on a much more expensive car, ESP and so on, all this culminates to give this car an EuroNCAP 5 star rating, the first small city car that has such a strong safety rating. This was one of the features touted by the CEO of TTS Eurocars and no wonder. In her speech, she stated that she was really quite passionate for this car and it is not at all hard to see why.
Addendum: My only complaint is that the design of the rear makes it tough for tall people to sit in the back, and local prices of this car will make the average consumer choke a little, but to be honest, those who would buy a car like this are trying to be ahead of the curve, and in doing so are willing to spend a bit more. It seems that one’ll be able to snag one from anywhere between S$76,900 to S$89,900 from TTS Eurocars in Singapore. Personally I’m just waiting till I’m in the UK and maybe I’ll just loan one or something, where I can try the Diesel.
Ultimately, this car represents a tradition that has been strongly held by the Italians. A car that looks good, is function and desirable. I spoke to the wife of the Italian representative in Singapore. She told me about how she had driven the original 500 everyday to get to school on time as it was about 20 miles from her home to her university. And how wonderful it was as an experience. It is this association that the 500 has, and the memories that the Italian nation has of this car is something that Fiat hopes will translate universally, and we can see from the response at the event that the 500 fever has caught Singaporeans too! Its “happy” looking face, its classically italian style that makes it unequivocally 2007’s Car of the Year has shown that it truly is a car for the people.
I have also posted a gallery of the Photos from the launch. Have a look!