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When we saw the Fiat 500s going around Albert park prior to this year’s Australian Formula 1 grand prix, there was a sense of excitement from everyone, not only was Fiat back for good, but now it had a fighting chance.

The current Fiat 500 range starts at $22,990 for the 1.2-litre 5-speed manual pop hatchback and goes all the way to $29,990 for the 1.4-litre lounge hatchback. But now there is a new variant, the Fiat 500 1.3 JTD Lounge.

There are now six models to pick from:

  • Pop Hatchback 3dr Man 5sp/SMac 5sp 1.2i
  • Pop Hatchback 3dr Man 6sp/SMac 5sp 1.4i
  • Pop JTD Hatchback 3dr Man 5sp 1.3DT
  • Sport Hatchback 3dr Man 6sp/SMac 5sp 1.4i
  • Lounge Hatchback 3dr Man 6sp/SMac 5sp 1.4i
  • Lounge Hatchback 3dr Man 5sp 1.3 JTD 1.3DT

The 1.3-litre JTD Lounge comes in response to the changing attitude of the Australian market. Many more new-car-buyers are now aware of the benefits of diesel motors and given the rising price of petrol, it makes perfect sense.

The small oil burner only uses 4.2-litres of diesel per 100 km and comes equipped with the best that Fiat has to offer in the 500 range.

“Australian customers increasingly want the economy and environmental ability of diesel matched to a chic, luxurious car and cars don’t come much more stylish and chic than the 500 or, with the top of the line Lounge equipment package, luxurious.” says Edward Butler, General Manager for Fiat cars in Australia.

The 1.3-litre turbodiesel JTD lounge has a top speed of 165 km/h and goes from 0-100 km/h in 12.5 seconds. It puts out only 111 g/km of CO2 emissions (only 5g/km more than the Toyota Prius!). The engine develops 55 kW at 4000 rpm and a respectable 145 Nm of torque at 1500 rpm.

The 1.3-litre unit only weighs 130 kg and measures 50 cm long by 65 cm tall. According to Fiat, it will be able to travel around 250,000 km without needing any maintenance to the mechanical components.

2008 Fiat 500 1.3 JTD Lounge

The 500 has has taken the Volkswagen Beetle’s place as the cool stylish city car with character. But its popularity has caused some problems with the waiting list now extending out for the next four months.

“We are working with Fiat to get an extra allocation of cars for Australia for 2008, but even with the boost in Australian supplies for which we have asked, there’s little doubt that demand will continue to run well ahead of supply.” explains Mr Butler.

The entry into the 500 world comes in the Pop package which despite its name, is packed with a load of features such as air conditioning, trip computer, electric front windows, remote central locking, ABS brakes and six airbags. It receives a five-star safety rating from EuroNCAP.

Moving up to the Lounge grade, a climate control unit and a fixed glass roof with a sun blind join the party as does the chrome exterior trim pack, alloy wheels, front fog lights, Bluetooth communications package with steering wheel mounted controls, leather steering wheel and gearknob.

Safety is further strengthened by electronic stability control (ESC) with traction control and brake-assist (hill holder).

The new Fiat 500 JTD Lounge retails for $28,990 and is available to order now. If you’re after the new ‘cool’ city car, better get into your nearest Fiat dealer because the waiting list is only getting bigger.




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