Enter the new 500, the manifesto of the ‘new Fiat’, a model that is to all intents and purposes the materialisation of a new approach, of new brand strategies, and a different approach to the car. Watch out MINI!
Designed by the Fiat Style Centre and built in the plant in Tychy (Poland), the new 500 is a ‘3-door’ model with compact dimensions: just 355 centimetres long, 163 cm wide, 149 cm tall and with a wheelbase of 230 centimetres. A compact car that appeals immediately for its soft, rounded line. And its ‘tomboyish’ looks bring a smile of complicity to drivers who have to tackle intense town traffic every day, with a lack of space and a frenetic lifestyle.
The front combines the current family resemblance between the latest Fiat models with the distinctive elements of the first Fiat 500. For example, the strongest reference to the earlier car is the combination of the circular upper headlights together with full beam lower lights and the ‘whiskers and logo’ unit.
What’s more, the waistline slopes slightly at the front and highlights its robustness while the rear end features a large shaped, chrome-plated handle which reiterates the motif of the registration plate light holder on the first Fiat 500 that resembled a bicycle saddle. The exterior styling of the new car is set off by twelve bodywork colours (metallic, non-metallic and one pearlescent), all combined with the wide range of fabric and leather upholstery.
And last but not least, the Fiat 500 is the first Fiat model to use its own name as a logo, positioning it on the wheel hubs and rims.
The new car combines an attractive, original line with new upholstery that confirms the impression of great quality that the car transmits at first glance.
In the local context the 500 comes with a choice of two engines that guarantee sparkling performance but are sparing on fuel and eco-friendly, combined with 5 or 6 speed manual gearboxes.
The two petrol units, the 51kW 1.2 fitted to the Pop version and the 73.5 kW 1.4 installed in both the Lounge and Sport Variants are from the Fire family that boasts a total output of over ten million engines to date. Both these engines are Euro 4-compliant and designed to meet the even stricter limitations of future European standards (Euro 5).
Designed to respect the most stringent standards, the Fiat 500 is one of the safest cars in its entire segment. Stable, efficient braking combined with good acceleration from the engines and predictable handling at all times, get the new model out of difficult situations without batting an eyelid.
All models come standard with 7 airbags (two at the front, two curtain-bags, two sidebags and one to protect the knees): a record for this vehicle class. The new model also adopts sophisticated technical solutions to guarantee that the driver is in complete control of the car at all times (active safety): from ABS complete with EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution), to the sophisticated ESP* (Electronic Stability Program) and ASR* (Anti Slip Regulation or traction control), plus Hill Holder*, to help the driver on hill starts, and HBA (Hydraulic Brake Assistance) which steps in for emergency stops.
And the Fiat 500 boasts all the dynamic features and comfort that enable its occupants to tackle any type of route comfortably and safely. Plaudits must go to the suspension: an independent MacPherson system at the front, and semi-independent interconnected wheels with a torsion axle at the rear. The two layouts have evolved from a Magneti Marelli design and have been used on other Fiat models in the past; they have now been revised and modified for the new car, to guarantee outstanding handling and the highest possible level of comfort.
*Standard on the 1.4 Lounge and Sport
In South Africa, the 500 is offered with three outfits (Pop, Sport and Lounge), two engines (1.2 and 1.4 petrol), 12 body colours and numerous alloy wheel choices in both 15” and 16”. But if all the many accessories and devices on offer are added, the Fiat 500 reaches an absolutely unique level of customisation for the car market: no fewer than 500,000 possible combinations.
Inside, elegance, innovation and practicality blend in an ideal environment. One example is the new ‘fragrance diffuser’, with a choice of three fragrances, and the practical jacket hanger on the head-restraint. Or the mobile phone holder or iPod player, USB and 12V sockets, aluminium pedals, the 500 logo on the kick panel of the door, and three types of leather upholstery for the gear lever knob, to match the steering wheel. And then there are the free-time accessories, like the original luggage rack that fits on the rear window and a convenient storage unit that lets you pack away items of various sizes in the loading floor.
The Fiat 500 introduces numerous other novelties for its segment including a daytime DRL function* (Day Running Light), a large glass sunroof (standard on the 1.4 Lounge) and Blue&Me (incorporates a hands-free function with Bluetooth interface and evolved voice recognition, USB port, MP3 reader and text message interpreter) which is standard on the 1.4 Lounge and Sport.
Fiat 500 1.2 Pop: R149 000
Fiat 500 1.4 Lounge: R179 000
Fiat 500 1.4 Sport: R179 000