Photos: Fiat returns to U.S. with super cute 500, 500c, Arizona's first look

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX – Fiat is trying again to make its mark on the United States, and it’s using a little gas saver – the Fiat 500 – to do it.

Jim Prueter of AAA Arizona gave Scott Pasmore the lowdown when he brought one of the cute little cars to 3TV for Arizona's exclusive first look.

The Fiat 500 has been in Europe since 2007, and it’s been a huge seller.

The Italian car maker has been absent from American for nearly 30 years. Its reintroduction into the American market was a natural move after the company, which is based in Turin, Italy, bought a controlling interest in a bankrupt Chrysler.

The Fiat 500 is an Italian version of the Mini Cooper and VW Beetle. With a decidedly European look and an artsy flair, it’s an automotive fashion icon.

It’s small and round, with soft lines, and is sure to be a hit with the younger crowd. With a starting price of just $16,000, it comes in a choice of 14 Italian colors, has room for four, and seems rather perfect for daily commutes and just pure driving fun, according to Prueter.

It’s a small car but it does seat four comfortably.

“The car actually drives bigger than what it is,” Prueter said. “I think this car is more about lifestyle than anything else.

“People are going to buy this not based on performance of the car, although it runs about 75 on the express lane without a problem. … It’s pretty peppy.”

The starting price is $16,000. With every option possible, it’ll top out at about $23,000, $24,000 or so, Prueter said.

“You’re going to see these buzzing all over the streets,” he said. “It’s a fun car. I think it’s going to be a big hit.”

While there is not a Fiat dealership here in Arizona yet, you can expect one to open sometime this summer.