The audio system supports both audio CDs and MP3s, with controls available on either the center console or on the steering wheel (a separate audio system with amplifier and subwoofer is also offered as an option). However, the big star in this area is the Blue&Me system, a technology developed with the help of Redmond-based software giant Microsoft and also available on the Grande Punto/Punto Evo.
The infotainment system provides an USB port that supports connectivity for any USB flash drive or portable media player, thus allowing the driver to play any media file instead of using the CD drive. Additionally, the system acts like a hands-free service, which means the driver can control most of the in-car features using exclusively voice commands.
Last but not least, there is the EcoDrive feature, a special function of the Blue&Me system that collects driving data on an USB stick that could be later plugged into a PC USB port and analyzed by a specially-developed application. The driver will thus get a series of recommendations regarding the way he drives the car, most of them intended to help him in getting a better fuel consumption rating and reduced emissions.
Since there are no fancy displays, the infotainment system's features basically end here, so no DVD players or navigation functions. The options list is once again the one that lends a hand, as the more-advanced Blue&Me with navigation is sold for several hundred euros.
A nice thing we noticed though is the fact that the trip computer provides several types of information besides the regular details, such as fuel consumption or current time. For example, it shows the current song or radio station, the exterior temperature plus a few recommendations like "Possible ice on road".
As we said, the car lacks important features such as cruise control or ESP but we can still include here the adaptive cornering lights that really increase visibility on curvy roads.
Additionally, we should mention the rearvparking sensors that helped us a lot during our parking maneuvers, especially since rear visibility is reduced to minimum due to the small rear window. Light sensors, rain sensors, xenon headlights and power folding mirrors were missing on the car we tested, but better-equipped versions could get them as either standard or optional.Continue reading