Fiat has announced the arrival of its heavily revised 500 line up, which now starts from a very affordable $14,000 drive-away for the entry level 500 Pop.
The range has also been expanded, with a total of eight distinct models across two bodystyles and with three different engines. And that’s not counting Abarth models.
Three trim grades are offered, with the most basic being the Pop, followed by the Sport and topped off with the Lounge. There are 15 exterior colour, and two interior colour schemes offered at no extra cost - one dark, one light.
In addition, Fiat will also be selling a limited run of special edition “500 by Gucci” models in both hatchback and convertible guise.
However, while the cost of entry has fallen dramatically, the asking price for the excellent 0.9 litre TwinAir engine has risen by over $800, pushing the pricetag for that particular model to the wrong side of the $20k barrier.
Each trim grade has its own specific engine, with the entry-level Pop getting a 51kW/102Nm 1.2 litre naturally-aspirated inline four and the Sport getting a 74kW/131Nm 1.4 litre four-pot.
The Lounge gets Fiat’s 0.9 litre TwinAir engine, a two-cylinder petrol engine that couples advanced valvetrain tech with turbocharging to produce 63kW and 145Nm.
The standard gearbox for the 1.2 litre Pop is a five-speed manual, while the 1.4 litre 500 Sport has a six-speed manual.
The 500 Lounge gets a Dualogic six-speed automated manual transmission, as do all 500C models.
The hatchback variants of the Pop and Sport are available with the Dualogic auto as well, although at a $1500 premium.
There are no mechanical changes to the 500’s MacPherson strut and torsion beam suspension, nor to the electric power steering calibration.
500 Pop models get Fiat’s “City Steering” system, which dramatically increases power assistance to make light work of tight manoeuvres.
It might wear a sub-$15k pricetag, but the 500 Pop is quite well equipped. Safety equipment comprises a full suite of seven airbags (front, front side, full-length curtain and driver’s knee), and ABS, EBD, traction control and stability control are all standard.
There’s also manual air-conditioning, trip computer, Bluetooth connectivity, USB audio input, electric windows, power-adjustable mirrors, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls.
Where has Fiat cut costs?
Well, the wheels are 14-inches in diameter and made of steel rather than alloy, and although the rear seatback folds down it’s only a single piece rather than the 50/50 split item in other models.
The rear brakes on the Pop are also drums rather than discs, and there’s the cost savings inherent in the relatively unsophisticated 1.2 litre engine.
Move up to the Sport, and you gain 15-inch alloy wheels, fog lamps, tinted glass, a sporty body-kit, rear hatch spoiler, more heavily-bolstered front seats with red contrast stitching, a black headliner, a Sports mode for the engine and a larger all-disc brake package.
The Lounge gets the same disc/drum brakes as the Pop, and it doesn’t get the Sport’s fog lights.
However, it adds a sliding glass sunroof, has 15-inch alloy wheels (of a different design to the 500 Sport), gains climate control air-con and also gets some extra exterior bling.
The 500 Lounge’s TwinAir engine also brings automatic start-stop, which helps save fuel in heavy traffic.
500 by Gucci
Want to take your brand loyalty to the next level? The “500 by Gucci” might be up your alley.
Just 101 Gucci 500s will be built for Australia, and the special edition model will be available in both hatchback and convertible guise.
Just two exterior colour choices will be available: black or white, with both incorporating glass beads in the paint for an iridescent shine.
Black cars get polished chrome exterior trim, while the white bodycolour will be offset by satin chrome detailing. All Gucci models feature a stripe package in the Italian fashion house’s signature green and red colour sheme.
Xenon headlamps are standard, and the 16-inch wheels are the largest in the 500 range.
Inside, the Gucci gets a two-tone interior in white and black leather with Gucci-designed front seats.
A six-speaker Interscope sound system is standard, and incorporates a 100-watt subwoofer. Climate control is also standard in the Gucci, but the model misses out on a sunroof.
The 2013 Fiat 500 Range is on sale now, with pricing as follows. All prices are for MSRP, unless otherwise stated.
- 500 Pop hatch 1.2 litre manual - $14,000 drive away
- 500 Pop hatch 1.2 litre automatic - $15,500
- 500C Pop convertible 1.2 litre automatic - $17,900
- 500 Sport hatch 1.4 litre manual - $16,900
- 500 Sport hatch 1.4 litre automatic - $18,400
- 500C Sport convertible 1.4 litre automatic - $20,800
- 500 Lounge hatch 0.9 litre automatic - $20,300
- 500C Lounge convertible 0.9 litre automatic - $22,700
500 by Gucci
- 500 by Gucci hatch 1.4 litre automatic - $23,200
- 500 by Gucci convertible 1.4 litre automatic - $25,650