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L.A. Auto Show: Fiat 500 brings Italian style to subcompact segment

November 18, 2010 |  6:21 am

Fiat500 Subcompact shoppers are typically concerned with two things: price and fuel economy. But increasingly, they are also looking for style.

Enter the Fiat 500, a sleek subcompact that will start at $15,500 and achieve fuel economy in the high 30s for highway driving and low 30s in the city, according to a Chrysler spokesman. On sale in January, the Fiat 500 marks the Italian manufacturer's return to the United States after a 27-year absence.

The Cinquecento, as it's known in Europe, where it's been on sale since 2007, is powered with a 1.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine that uses MultiAir technology. Developed and patented by Fiat, MultiAir increases engine power up to 10% while reducing fuel consumption and emissions by the same amount versus similar engines without such a system.

The Fiat 500, available in 14 exterior colors and in three trim levels, will be built in Mexico. About 50,000 units will be manufactured for the North American market for the 2011 model year.

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-- Susan Carpenter

Photo: Damian Dovargan / Associated Press

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