Fiat 500 Lounge 1.3 Multijet - Conclusion

By Jeremy Laird

Reviewed:

Summary

The sight of a Windows Mobile logo attached to a device is often the harbinger of frustration and disappointment, if not outright doom. In the case of Blue&Me and Fiat's feisty 500, that remains true to a certain extent. There's plenty of room for improvement in areas like support for mobile phone handsets and iPods, for example.

But it's not the whole story. eco:Drive in particular is a rather delightful little application that is both fun and adds real value. And with Windows Mobile providing the platform, fixing faults and adding functionality over time could become routine.

One obvious aspect missing from all this, of course, is a GPS navigation system. In fact, Fiat does offer an optional sat-nav unit that plugs fairly neatly into a slot on top of the 500's dash. Physically, it's much like an aftermarket unit. However, it integrates wirelessly with the car's Blue&Me system via Bluetooth and therefore behaves more like a built-in system, muting music when directions are relayed and all that jazz. Unfortunately, it was not included with our test vehicle.

It's also worth noting that Blue&Me is not unique. Ford, to take one obvious example, has developed a platform with a very similar on-paper feature set known as Sync. It's also based on Windows Mobile and available as an option on many of the latest Fords from the new Ka hatchback upwards. With any luck, we'll bring you our impressions of Sync in the coming months.

Our broad brush conclusion, therefore, is that the basic approach and feature set Fiat has chosen for Blue&Me is worthy of a firm thumbs up. A few niggles notwithstanding, it's a thoroughly contemporary system that eschews chintzy visual gimmickry in favour of using tried and tested USB, Bluetooth and Windows Mobile technology to provide real utility and upgradeability. We'll certainly be watching with interest as Fiat develops and improves Blue&Me.

Ohmz

March 24, 2009, 5:23 pm

About time we see some car tech here!





TR is shaping up to be even better than before!

ilovethemonkeyhead

March 24, 2009, 6:02 pm

i thought it was a printer review >.>

Rich 42c5

March 24, 2009, 6:38 pm

awesome work guy's keep it up

TheMonkeyHead

March 24, 2009, 6:45 pm

I am not sure if I am ready for a move to Ecoville just yet, but I certainly think the car tech channel is a good idea for TR.


Is there room for a spec table in these reviews?


P.S. @ Ilovethemonkeyhead, I love you too x

unknownjd

March 24, 2009, 6:46 pm

Great read! This sort of info is usually so hard to find without going to see a car itself!!

stephenallred

March 24, 2009, 9:47 pm

Enunciation, not diction.

Hugo

March 24, 2009, 10:08 pm

That mean, he speaks the truth: amended, thanks.

apoc286

March 25, 2009, 3:06 pm

Hmm I've a Grande Punto with this system installed but I never managed to get it to read txts with my N95 :P





I can verify that it does allow you to push contacts with the KC910 Renoir so presumabley other newer LG's will work as well. Although it seems sound quality varies between phones, I got better results with sound quality with my N95 then the Renoir.





It seems trying to get Eco:Drive working on the older Blue & Me's can be problematic, as it may record the data but refuse to dump it to a stick, as that what mine is doing (just going to get Fiat to sort next time I visit).

trigger

March 25, 2009, 9:26 pm

It's a pretty little car at a nice price. If the UK .gov decided to go with the old banger trade-in option some other countries have done to boost the car market I may be interested. However the old Fiat reliability still weighs on the mind... hmm...

Tony Walker

March 26, 2009, 4:14 am

I've done 12000 in 12 months in my 1.3 Mjet Sport and have loved every single one of them.





The 1.3 (1248cc actually) diesel engine is an absolute doll and rewards smooth driving with real-world MPG figures of around 55MPG. Figures arrived at by the ancient method of recording distance travelled between tank fills.





A number of the Blue & Me issues have revolved around flaky Bluetooth implementations in the phones, indeed my iPhone 3G only became usable with the v2.2 firmware.





The basic (but excellent) audio system is made by Blaupunkt and better encoded MP3's sound suitably better through the system (I use 320kbit on an 8gb USB stick). SHould you require it there is a factory fit Hi-Fi option available made by Interscope.





Final tech bit and very 500-ish is the range quoted after I've just filled the tank. It comes up as.......yes, you've guessed it, 500 miles. Which is in line with what the electronic comsumption thinks I get in MPG - this is quite a bit higher then what I do get though.

MarioM

March 26, 2009, 2:51 pm

Does the Sedici have Blue&Me too, does anyone know? Their flashy website is a nightmare to use.

Jay4d0

March 27, 2009, 2:34 am

@ MarioM


no but may I suggest, if your looking at the Sedici, you look at the Suzuki SX4 which is exactly the same car but can be considerably cheeper depending the spec your looking for

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