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2016 Fiat 500 Refreshed with New Look, More Efficient Engines

A new look keeps the city car fresh.

Although it only came to the U.S. market for the 2012 model year, the current generation of the Fiat 500 city car was launched in Europe in 2007. The 500 received only mild improvements for the 2015 model year in the U.S., which means the car is well overdue for a refresh. The 2016 Fiat 500's new look, better interior technology, and efficient new engines should represent a significant update.

The 2016 Fiat 500 is the same size as before, but with a completely redesigned front fascia including a rounded lower grille opening, oval-shaped LED running lights, a wider center grille slit, and new chrome grille "whiskers" on higher trim levels. The car's taillights are still tall parallelograms, but now with the lights illuminated in a ring around body-painted center panels; Fiat says the appearance is "almost like an illuminated tattoo." The rear fascia has been reshaped, too, with the reversing lights now located in the lower bumper panel. In addition to several new paint colors and new wheel designs, the 2016 Fiat 500 offers "Second Skin" vinyl wraps that can apply colorful geometric designs to the car's roof, beltline, and hood.

Big changes also come to the interior of the 2016 Fiat 500, starting with a new digital instrument cluster in high-trim models (an analog speedometer is standard on base models). There is also a revised version of Fiat Chrysler's Uconnect touchscreen infotainment system perched atop the dash, flanked by reshaped new air vents. The front seats are said to have a more ergonomic design, the cupholders have been redesigned, and extra sound deadening in the front fenders and firewall is said to keep the interior quieter.

Under the hood, the European-market 2016 Fiat 500 adopts a 69-hp, 1.2-liter inline-four engine, as well as Fiat's 0.9-liter two-cylinder turbocharged TwinAir engine in both 85- and 105-hp configurations. Other gasoline engines, as well as a 1.3-liter turbodiesel, will also be available. Fiat has yet to confirm which engine will be offered in the U.S.-market; the 2015 Fiat 500 has a 101-hp, 1.4-liter inline-four as its base engine.

The 2016 Fiat 500 goes on sale in Europe later this year in three trim levels, Pop, Pop Star, and Lounge. Stay tuned for exact U.S.-market specifications and pricing for the new city car.

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