Fiat 500 Lounge 1.3 Multijet - eco:Drive

By Jeremy Laird


Review Price free/subscription

If there's one application that sets Blue&Me apart from competing infotainment systems as well as demonstrating its potential power, it's eco:Drive. It's a two part application involving data logging in the car itself and a PC application providing analysis and driving advice.

The overall aim of eco:Drive is to increase driver awareness of more efficient driving practices and highlight specific opportunities for improvement. It's very simple to use. Download and install the eco:Drive application on a PC, configure a USB key as instructed, plug it into your 500 and start driving. The system is clever enough to support multiple drivers using the same vehicle, you simply identify the driver in question as you reconnect the USB stick to your PC to upload the logged data.

eco:Drive requires five days' worth of data before all its features and functionality are unlocked. But during this initial period you can still view a wealth of data. For each journey, you can examine the overall journey time, distance travelled, Co2 emitted and cost in fuel. The eco:Drive PC application, we're happy to note, is extremely slick, attractive and easy to use.

If you're the sort of person who really cares about saving either your wallet or the planet, it's fascinating stuff. You can, for instance, compare in detail the merits of attempting a given journey at different times of day or at different speeds. Likewise, it's much easier to make an informed choice about the cost of driving compared to public transport alternatives. It also appears to be quite accurate, returning exactly the same 42.2 mile distance for both legs of a return journey test route.

Following the initial five-day logging period, you are presented with overall totals and averages for mileage, emissions and so on. You are also awarded scores on an arbitrary scale of one to five in metrics including speed, acceleration and gear changes along with an eco:Trend score out of 100 for your overall driving performance. eco:Drive then gives you useful tutorials on how to improve efficiency by showing where you are going wrong in areas such the average engine speed at which you change gear. From there, you can set a target for your overall eco:Trend and analyse your efforts day to day.

Adding to the fun, eco:Drive has a community dimension which reveals how your driving compares to other Fiat drivers. Currently, there are around 10,000 users in what Fiat calls "Ecoville", though it's not clear if that is in the UK or worldwide. But as fun as all the star and eco:Trend ratings are, we reckon it's the access to the hard journey data that makes it most useful.

Oh, and if you are wondering, we achieved a fairly pitiful overall eco:Trend rating of 36 out of 100 during 361 miles of driving at an average of 44.2mpg. In truth, that's a pretty good result given the fairly merciless ragging we inflicted upon the poor little 500.

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March 24, 2009, 5:23 pm

About time we see some car tech here!

TR is shaping up to be even better than before!


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


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


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!!


March 24, 2009, 9:47 pm

Enunciation, not diction.


March 24, 2009, 10:08 pm

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


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).


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.


March 26, 2009, 2:51 pm

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


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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