By on March 26, 2018

2018 Fiat 500 Urbana Edition

Faced with a tough market, what’s an automaker to do when trying to make noise in a crowded arena? Introduce a special edition, of course.

Fiat’s done just that with its 2018 Fiat 500 Banana Cabana Urbana Edition. The company is dropping this version of the 500 at this week’s New York Auto Show.

Available as an option on the 2018 Fiat 500 in Pop trim (that’s the base model), the Urbana Edition gets black-trimmed exterior lights cribbed from snazzier 500s and a set of 16-inch black aluminum wheels. The all-black-everything theme continues inside with dark shades on the Sport Cloth buckets and an instrument panel spritzed with black paint. Urbana editions featuring similar visual frippery already exist on the 500X and sheep’s-head-ugly 500L.

This author never tires of reading the names bestowed upon paint colors by Italian designers. The Urbana Edition is available in Pompei Silver, Bianco White Ice, Perla White Tri-coat, Granito Gray, and Metallo Gray. Those are excellent names.

2018 Fiat 500 Urbana Edition

Fiat sales peaked in the 2014 calendar year, when the brand sold 46,121 little roller skates to the American public. Last year, that number totalled about half that amount: 26,492. All by itself, the 500 made up 47.9 percent of that number with the 500X and  500L comprising most of the remainder. The 124 Spider caught 4478 customers in its web.

During the first two month of this year, 2,470 Fiat have found homes, compared to 4,309 units during the same period of 2017. I’ll let you extrapolate what that may portend for the rest of this year.

Shoppers strolling into a FIAT store – sorry, studio – will find deep incentives on some models. The 2017 500X front-wheel drive in Lounge trim is advertising itself with $6000 worth of cash on the hood in some markets, not to mention subvented rates.

As we learned a few weeks ago, the entire Fiat 500 lineup is turbocharged for 2018. The 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine delivers 135 horsepower and 150 lb-ft of torque now across all models. Five years ago, your humble author piloted a turbo-equipped Fiat 500 over 1,000 miles in a snowstorm, finding it to be a tossable unit in the white stuff (unintentionally, sometimes) and quite efficient even in the face of snow drifts and winter tires.

One of the challenges facing Fiat (or is it FIAT? Both are listed on the company’s official docs) is a customer who desires, say, a rip-snorting 500 Abarth model can easily find one for less than $10,000 on the used car market, driving away with a machine that looks exactly like a brand new one costing twice the price.

The 2018 Fiat 500 Urbana Edition will be available this spring.

[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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28 Comments on “Freeze It Again, Tony: 2018 Fiat 500 Urbana Edition...”


  • avatar

    It’s almost like they’re out of ideas on this now 10-year-old design.

    • 0 avatar
      Garrett

      Suspension lift. Trim the fenders. BFG Mud Terrains. Light bar up front.

    • 0 avatar
      Jean-Pierre Sarti

      Even though the model is 10 years old She Who Must Be Obeyed goes awww every freaking time she sees one on the road.

      It boggles my mind that even after 10 years you still read about the failures of the fit and finish of this little car.

      • 0 avatar
        Plinth5

        I own TWO of these cars, an Abarth and Pop Cabrio, and after 4 years, neither of them has had a quality issue. The interior bits are somewhat cheap, but it’s a cheap car. None of its competitors will have anyone praising their luxury appointments. These are great cars. Owners LOVE them. Fiat has updated the interior with a digital dash that is similar to some supercarsr, and added the excellent Chrysler U Connect NAV and radio.
        The European market has seen some update on the front fascia and tail lights, but I doubt we’ll get them here. For the money these are really hard to beat.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      “It’s almost like they’re out of ideas on this now 10-year-old design..”

      One could say the same thing about many newer designs, too…

  • avatar
    Garrett

    The big mistake Fiat made was not figuring out how to sell the 500 for less than $8,000. Maybe less than $9000.

    The 500 can be a compelling vehicle at a bargain basement price. Once you’re talking over $10k, it doesn’t seem worth it.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Lol, and a candy bar used to only cost a nickel. The regulatory and legal barriers to US market entry set the price floor in the low teens.

      • 0 avatar
        Garrett

        Adjusted for inflation, the Yugo would weigh in at $9k today.

        With literally no features, you could easily hit that. Nissan more or less did that with the Versa.

        • 0 avatar
          bumpy ii

          And once you redesign the unibody to pass modern crash tests, redesign the drivetrain to pass modern emissions tests, add half a dozen airbags, stability control, and a backup camera, you end up with… the Mitsubishi Mirage which rolls up in the low teens.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I had an ex with one, I want to say she paid 16 at least five years ago.

      I truly wonder if a sub $10K new car is even possible in USDM. Certainly needed, would certainly sell, but could it be done (or would it be allowed)? A sub $10K new vehicle would impact the entire market to some degree, as well as wholesale valuations depending on demand/success of the model.

      Different market entirely, but imagine if these were greenlit in a region near you. Real estate valuations would plummet, so therefore it won’t be legalized through code, zoning, muni ordinances etc. I have no doubt it is the same in the automotive industry, regulations serve to create a nice floor. In an economy with stagnant wages and increasing inflation, the cheap new car helps to level the playing field. Watch for that to not happen.

      singularityhub.com/2018/03/18/this-3d-printed-house-goes-up-in-a-day-for-under-10000/

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Wasn’t Nissan running a special on Versas for under $10k in the not too distant past? The thing is that people in North America don’t actually want to drive $10k new cars. And they don’t have to with the financing options available.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        Very different market, since real estate costs are based on desirability of location far more than method of construction.

    • 0 avatar
      MrIcky

      Pops are 10999 at my local dealer. If the updated version with the turbo runs about that much, it would be pretty compelling if I was looking at a new small car. The 4 cars in the market that you can actually purchase in the sub 13k range that I can think of are the Nissan Versa, Chevy Sonic, Mitsubishi Mirage, and this. I’d rather drive one of these than the other 3 by a long shot.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    Maybe these guys could take ideas from DeLorean owners for future special edition Fiats. Other than the obvious time machine DeLorean (time machine Fiat with gull wing doors, steam vents on the tail, and a flux capacitor anyone??), there are custom stretch limo DeLoreans, custom 4×4 bro truck DeLoreans, custom DeLorean trailers (rear clip of a DMC 12 car), custom amphibious DeLoreans (sorta like 007’s Lotus)…

    I feel like Benjamin Buford Blue describing shrimp.

    A marketing genius, I am not.

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    Has FiAt improved its lira-store interior bits?

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    More Catrinel Menghia ads might help. Even if they don’t, it’s still a good idea just to be on the safe side.

  • avatar
    NeilM

    University of Illinois edition: the Fiat 500 Champaign Urbana!

  • avatar
    65corvair

    My local dealer, I mean studio has 2017 to sell. There is no point to have Fiats in the U.S. market.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      25000 people disagree with you.

      Why is it necessary for a car to sell 500K copies to be worthwhile? That just means it is boring. I loved my 500 Abarth, would have another one if I had a place to put it. Cheap and cheerful in the best way. Now that all of them are turbos I’d probably just buy a Pop in a fun color though. Especially the oh so 50’s light green or light blue.

      • 0 avatar
        seanx37

        Because it takes billions of dollars to develop a modern car platform. It has to sell a LOT of vehicles to make money. And has to able to spawn lots of different models off that platform for the various brands that company has

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Worldwide, they have sold a pile of these. And it was a development of an existing platform at that. Cheap and cheerful all around.

          It was never, ever going to be more than a very niche product in the US.

          • 0 avatar
            WallMeerkat

            It shares a platform with the 2nd generation Ford Ka (a sub-Fiesta hatchback).

            The 2nd gen Ka wasn’t a huge seller, it looked like a generic hatchback compared to the wacky original. (Same could probably be said of the Twingo too).

            That itself was replaced a couple of years ago by the Brazilian Ka+.

            Meanwhile MINI are on their 3rd generation since 2001, which has already been mildly facelifted.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    This really appeals to me. I like the idea of a little shoebox on wheels anyway.

    FWIW, it’s about time the 500 got some Special Edition love like other FCA models.


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