Fiat 500 from just R135 500

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CO2 emissions from just 119g/km*

*Recommended retail selling price (incl. VAT) and emissions figure for the Fiat 500 1.2. The all-new Fiat 500 1.4 Pop retails for an equally unbelievable R157 800 – essentially you are now getting a 1.4 for the price of a 1.2!

There really is no need for a catchy headline – the price says it all, as do the ludicrously low emission figures. At this point, it would be appropriate to cue the Italian superlatives: fantastico, grande, incredibile, superbo, prodigioso, eccetera.

So I hear you ask, HOW is it possible that Fiat Group Automobiles SA has been able to introduce such a competitive Cinquecento package?

Well, a couple of factors have made this industry rarity possible. A more favourable exchange rate coupled with economies of scale has played a major role.

With reference to the latter, the progenitor of the Model T was only too aware of this – the more you churn them out, the less you need to charge for them. This has been the case with the Fiat 500. Such has been the demand for our retro bambino, it’s now a permanent fixture on the European top ten best sellers’ list.

The Polish plant at Tychy which also happens to build Europe’s best-selling A-segment car, the Fiat Panda, has quite a task to keep up with the orders for these enviro-friendly toddlers.

While on the subject of ‘green’ cars, this has been one of the major sales boosters for vehicles such as the 500. In fact, for the third year running, the Fiat Group (both from a Fiat brand and Group perspective) is at the top of the European charts for low-CO2 motoring.

The EU target for 2015 is 130g/km; the Fiat brand is already way ahead of this with an average of 127.8g/km. As a Group (including sister brands such as Alfa Romeo and Lancia) the Italian automaker is just about there with average CO2 emissions across the board of 131g/km.

But what sort of kit is now standard on the new 500 1.2 and 1.4 Pop models?

With the latest trend in downsizing and simplifying, it was appropriate to take out a bit of equipment on the revitalised 500 range. Besides, if you really want extra gizmos the 500’s ‘customisableness’ (if there is such a word), makes it possible to have your cake and eat it too, although we have rationalised the options catalogue somewhat for the sake of simplicity. It would appear that for ‘real’ people then, the age of hedonism has gone the way of the push-up bra and the blinged-up Hummer i.e. for all but the uber-rich it ‘s a case of less is truly more.

So then (to continue waxing on rather lyrically), what you’re getting is a car created for the people, based on people’s real wants and needs – nothing more, nothing less. Of course with that unmistakable design stamp that can only read “Made in Italy”.

Suffice it to say that the Cinquecento has been winning the hearts of people all over the world because, quite simply, there’s nothing quite like it. But, the 500 is so much more than just a re-edit of a classic. Sure the instantly recognisable shape is part of our collective memory – it’s inextricably linked to strong friendships and first loves (amorous encounters in the backseat aside), it evokes images of a positive past which many would like to relive.

But, the new 500 is so much deeper. It also comes with all the innovation, refinement, safety and build quality that you would expect of a premium compact.

To come back to the initial question though, at a glance the ‘entry-level’ 500s are still very generously specced. Here is a brief rundown of what you get:

Styling

  • Body-coloured bumper
  • Chromed door handles
  • Full wheel covers (alloys optional)
  • Body-coloured wing mirrors on 1.4 Pop (optional on 1.2)

Comfort features

  • Retro instrument cluster with rev counter
  • Height-adjustable steering wheel
  • Dual-drive power steering with ‘city’ function
  • Power windows
  • Remote central locking on 1.4 Pop (optional on 1.2)
  • “Follow me home” headlights
  • Trip computer
  • Air conditioning
  • Height-adjustable driver’s seat
  • Split rear seat with head restraints
  • Adjustable headlamps
  • Radio / CD with MP3 compatibility

Safety

  • ABS & EBD
  • 7 airbags including front, side, window and knee bags
  • FPS (Fire Prevention System)
  • Isofix attachments for child seats (front and rear)
  • DRL (Daytime Running Lights)

Eco-friendly engines

The two petrol units, the 51 kW 1.2 fitted and the 73,5 kW 1.4 installed in the two 500s 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).

A few technical highlights:

  • The adoption of an electronic throttle valve control system known as ‘drive by wire’ (with no mechanical connection between the accelerator and the throttle), while it is the electronic control unit that delivers the torque on the basis of the driver’s demands (torque-based system).
  • Fluid dynamic optimisation achieved by a new high turbulence combustion chamber combined with a continuous variable cam phaser. This innovative system allows a substantial part of the exhaust gases (about 25%) to be recirculated in the combustion chamber, significantly reducing fuel consumption and exhaust emissions when driving with a partial load.
  • The timing components have been made lighter and the valve springs are of the low load type, to reduce friction.
  • Another interesting feature of this engine where fuel consumption is concerned is the use of an active knock sensor capable of managing the advance in the best possible way in all conditions and, above all, the multipoint sequential phased injection system by Magneti Marelli.
  • On the environmental front, the catalytic converter is welded to the exhaust manifold flange. In this position the device is extremely efficient because it reaches high temperatures very rapidly thus abating emissions even while the engine is warming up.
Models 500 1.2 500 1.4 16v
Engine
No. of cylinders, arrangment 4. inline, transversely mounted at the front
Bore x stroke (mm) 70.8 x 78.9 72.0 x 84.0
Displacement (cc) 1242 1368
Eco level Euro 4
Emission control Three way catalyst in engine compartment, 2 lamba probes, EOBD
Compression ratio 11.1 : 1 10.8 : 1
Max. power output: kW-EC at rpm 51 kW @ 5500 rpm 73.5 kW @ 6000 rpm
Peak torque: Nm-EC at rpm 102 Nm @ 3000 rpm 131 Nm @ 4250 rpm
Timing system (control) 1 OHC (with mechanical tappets) 2 OHC’s (finger rocker arms with hydraulic tappets)
Fuel feed Timed, sequential electronic MPI
Ignition Electronic, static advance, intergrated with the injection system
Transmission
Drive Front
Clutch control Self-adjusting mechanically controlled device without pedal idle travel
Gearbox, no. of gears 5 + reverse 6 + reverse
Steering system
Type Rack and pinion with Dualdrive electrical power steering
Steering diameter (m) 9.2 10.6
Brakes ABS with EBD
Front: Disc (240 mm) Ventilated disk (257 mm)
Rear: Drum (180 mm) Disc (240 mm)
Suspension system
Front: Independent wheel McPherson set-up with lower wishbones anchored to a subsidiary cross-member, stabiliser bar connected to shock absorber (Special springs for 1.4 16v version)
Rear: Wheels interconnected by means of torsion beam
Wheels
Steel with full cover 175 / 65 R 14 Steel
Spare wheels 135/80 R 14 Steel
Dimensions
Length (mm) 3546
Width (mm) 1627
Height (mm) 1488
Wheelbase (mm) 2300
Track: front (mm) 1414
Track: rear (mm) 1408
Luggage space VDA (dm3) 185
Weights
Kerb weight DIN (kg) 865 930
Towable weight not braked (kg) 400
Towable weight braked (kg) 800
Tank capacity
Fuel tank capacity (litres) 35
Battery (12v)
Capacity (Ah) 50
Performance
Top speed (km/h) 160 182
Acceleration (sec.): 0 to 100 km/h 12.9 10.5
Fuel consumption
Fuel consumption (l/100km)
Urban 6.4 8.2
Extra-urban 4.3 5.2
Mixed cycle 5.1 6.3
CO2 emmissions (g/km) 119 149

Class-beating safety

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) including ABS complete with EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution).

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.

Pricing, warranty and servicing

  • Fiat 500 1.2 – R135 500
  • Fiat 500 1.4 Pop – R157 800

Enhancing the ownership prospect, the Fiat 500, as with other premium products in the Fiat stable, has 30 000 km service intervals and enjoys full after-sales support in South Africa thanks to a comprehensive parts inventory (housed and distributed in an all-new, state-of-the-art facility) and the back-up of trained technicians at Fiat dealerships countrywide.

Fiat Auto South Africa offers a three-year 100 000 km Warranty (three years on paintwork and five years on rust anti-perforation) as well as a five-year / 90 000 km service plan which is standard on the 1.4 and optional on the 1.2.

The new models are covered by the AA Fleetcare roadside assistance for 12 months. The service is active 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is available by calling the dedicated toll-free number 0800 223 727.

Options

Fiat 500 1.2

  • Blue& Me R3 320
  • 5-spoke 16″ alloys R6 070
  • Barcode decal R1 660
  • Roof and bonnet arrow R1 660
  • 500 décor strip R1 780
  • Extra series pastel/metallic paint R1 670
  • Funk white paint R4 600
  • Remote central locking R 800
  • Service plan R7 400

Fiat 500 1.4

  • Leather steering (incl. audio controls R 840
  • Anti-dazzle mirror R1 110
  • Rear park sensor R2 000
  • Chequered roof R2 770
  • Number  5 R 840
  • Blue&Me R3 320
  • 5-spoke 16″ alloy wheels R6 070
  • Barcode decal R1 660
  • Roof & bonnet arrow R1 660
  • 500 décor strip R1 780
  • Extra series pastel/metallic paint R1 670
  • Funk white paint R4 600