@ Fiat of Louisville

In case the Chinese calendar had you fooled, 2012 is not the year of the dragon; it’s the year of the Fiat.

The Italian-made car can be seen just about anywhere these days, including on TV commercials, reality show “Jersey Shore,” and beginning January 3, it can be found at the first-ever Fiat dealership in Kentucky.

Fiat of Louisville, 4311 Shelbyville Road, of the Sam Swope Auto Group, opened to the public on Tuesday with an array of 2012 Fiat 500s available for purchase.

“We just feel like the trend in our business is headed in this direction and Fiat is out ahead of the trend,” said Richard S. “Dick” Swope, president and CEO of Sam Swope Auto Group. “Even though the Fiat 500 has been around since the 50s, it’s been updated, and it’s a car for the times.”

Earlier this week, I stopped by the dealership to find out what the “2012 Fiat Experience” is all about by taking a test drive of the Fiat 500 down Shelbyville and Westport Road.

Before hopping inside the “rame” (Italian for copper) colored Fiat, I couldn’t resist sitting behind the wheel of the large black Fiat by Gucci on display inside the show room.

I instantly fell in love with the lustrous exterior complete with the Gucci logo on various spots of the car, including the hubcap of each wheel and the body of the vehicle.

The interior, too, was elegant, with a leather steering wheel, black and ivory fabric, as well as a green and red stripe on the seat that matched the graphic located on the exterior.

Ashley Anderson sat inside the 2012 Fiat by Gucci.

Ashley Anderson sat inside the 2012 Fiat by Gucci.

After admiring the Fiat by Gucci’s beauty, I took the keys to the Fiat 500 parked outside and began a leisurely cruise down Shelbyville Road. I’ll be honest, I was a little nervous I’d wreck the car somehow, but turns out the Fiat is a completely smooth ride and a ton of fun to drive.

Best of all, it’s fuel efficient and eco-friendly, which is a quality that has become increasingly important to many car-buyers, like me.

Though the car was originally designed 50 years ago, the 2012 version is definitely top-of-the-line and builds on the Fiat’s tradition of sleek, simple, functional and user-friendly.

In addition to the Fiat 500 and Fiat by Gucci, a performance version of the car, the Fiat 500 Abarth, will arrive at the dealership in mid-January.

For those seeking a one-of-a-kind Fiat, you can also custom-design it. There are 14 paint colors available in metallic, non-metallic and premium tri-coat pearl finishes; two different available interior environments, Nero (Black) or Avorio (Ivory); 14 unique seat color and ambient interior combinations and a full line of authentic accessories. The possibilities are practically endless. In fact, there are well over 500,000 different combinations.

The car, said Swope, is for just about any age group, too. “The demographic is anybody who thinks young. People who are early adopters and interested in being eco-minded but want to have fun.”

I certainly had fun driving the Fiat the other day and think I’d have even more if that Fiat by Gucci were parked in my driveway. If you’re reading this Mom, I’d like to remind you I have a birthday coming up.


Fiat of Louisville
4311 Shelbyville Road

Price Range:

$15,500 (Fiat 500 Pop) – $24,700 (Fiat by Gucci).

About the Car

1.4 Liter Engine
7 Air Bags
BLUE&ME Hands-Free Communication
Speed Control
Electronic Stability Control
5 speed Manual Transmission
30 MPG in town; 38 MPG on the highway.

For more information, visit www.fiatusaoflouisville.com or call 888.377.5566. Contact writer Ashley Anderson at aanderson@voice-tribune.com, 502.498.2051.

photos by ASHLEY ANDERSON | Voice-Tribune