Hooray for (Italian) Clown Cars!
The Fiat 500 gets my vote for the car you’d most like to hug, a car that threatens to unload 17 tumbling clowns when it pulls into the middle of the Big Top. Just looking at one makes you want to buy a ticket to Italy—or at least a DVD of Gidget Goes To Rome. The 500 is so small and inexpensive it seems to shout, “I’m a death-defying cheapskate and I don’t care who knows it.” In other words, a perfect car to be introduced into the United States in these trying times.
Chrysler, which recently signed an alliance with Fiat, is eager to get the Cinquecentos (as they’re known in Italy) onto the sales lots of their U.S. dealerships, ideally in the next 18 months. But first the 500s need to be retooled to meet stringent U.S. crash standards.
Mark Orwoll is Travel + Leisure's senior consulting editor.