The updated ‘Series 3’ 2015 Fiat 500 city car has arrived in Australia with some cosmetic tweaks and a gleaming new TFT digital instrument display, but you’ll pay more for the privilege.
Now starting at $17,000 driveaway for the entry Pop variant (pictured below), the retro bubble car is $3000 pricier than it was when it was re-launched here 14 months ago by new factory distributor Fiat Chrysler Australia at $14k, and $2000 more than its revised $15k price announced in April this year.
The price adjustment comes as no surprise: the new figure found its way onto Fiat’s public website last month, as we reported at the time.
Fiat’s local arm is simplifying the pricing equation for the rest of the range by marketing every variant driveaway rather than by list price. Previously, only the Pop was sold on this basis.
The 500 S mid-range model (below, in 500C guise) now costs $20,000 driveaway, compared to $16,900 plus on-roads for the outgoing Sport, while the flagship Lounge kicks off at $23,000 driveaway (was $20,300).
As before, both the Pop and S can be had with a Dualogic automated manual gearbox (it acts as an auto) for an extra $1500. The Lounge (pictured below) remains auto-only.
All three spec levels can also be had as a Dualogic convertible with a sliding roof for an additional $2500 over the equivalent auto hatch (Pop convertible $21,000 driveaway, S convertible $24,000 driveaway and Lounge convertible $25,500 driveaway).
The new pricing aligns Fiat’s Australian arm with much of Europe, where the 500 retails for more than the five-door Panda, sold here in Pop guise from $14,500 driveaway. Fiat is also selling the larger Punto for $14,500 driveaway at the moment.
The sporty Fiat 595 Abarth range, meanwhile, has received a price cut bringing it to a starting point of $33,500. See our wrap on the updated Fiat Abarth 595 here.
Fiat’s decision to up the price of the 500 appears to be a bold gamble, given its sales are up a mammoth 142 per cent this year with 1473 units sold. In June, the runout 500 sold 269 units, just seven behind the top-selling micro-car in Australia for the month, Nissan’s Micra.
Nonetheless, Fiat Chrysler Australia president and CEO Veronica Johns is confident the exxier new model will keep the ball rolling.
“Fiat enjoyed record-breaking sales in the first half of 2014 and the new 500 range with updated looks and segment-first technology is a timely arrival to continue our momentum,” she said.
Chief among the changes is a “segment-leading” 7.0-inch TFT instrument screen in front of the driver, standard on S and Lounge models but not on the base Pop, developed with Magneti Marelli.
The new screen displays a digital speedo, more prominent shift indicator, warning messages, telephone and navigations readouts, various trip computer functions and can even change its design when the Sport button is engaged (funnily, replete with a G-force meter).
Meanwhile in the Lounge’s Eco mode, it re-configiures to award Eco Hero status to ‘reward’ efficient driving with plaudits.
Cosmetic tweaks include a trio of new colours, including the cutely-named Blue Jelly Bean, Mint Milkshake and Vanilla Ice Cream, bringing the total number of paint options to 14. There are also 16 new interior options and three cabriolet roof options, making the 500 almost endlessly configurable.
Fiat will also sell you a number of different roof sticker designs, body decals and key covers for that extra touch. There is still no cruise control though. Options include a TomTom navigation system and rear parking sensors.
Under the skin things are unchanged. The Pop retains its Euro 6-compliant 51kW/102Nm (at 3000rpm) 1.2-litre petrol engine that uses 5.0L/100km (5.1L/100km with the five-speed manual).
The S features a 74kW/131Nm 1.4-litre unit that uses 5.8L/100km (6.1L for the six-speed manual) and gets a Sport button to sharpen throttle response and add weight to the steering.
The flagship Lounge gets Fiat’s characterful 0.9L/100km TwinAir two-cylinder turbo engine that produces 63kW/145Nm while using 3.9L/100km. No petrol engine without electric assistance is more frugal. Once again, only the Dualogic semi-auto is available.
All models come with seven airbags, ISOFIX anchors, daytime running lights and a hill holding function for the manual versions. ANCAP gives the car a five-star score.
Fiat’s warranty lasts three-years/150,000km.
2015 Fiat 500 Key Features: Model by Model
500 and 500C Pop
500 and 500C S (over and above the Pop)
500 and 500C Lounge (Over and above the Pop also)
|Fiat 500 Pop manual||$17,000|
|Fiat 500 Pop Dualogic||$18,500|
|Fiat 500 Pop convertible Dualogic||$21,000|
|Fiat 500 S manual||$20,000|
|Fiat 500 S Dualogic||$21,500|
|Fiat 500 S convertible Dualogic||$24,000|
|Fiat 500 Lounge Dualogic||$23,000|
|Fiat 500 Lounge convertible Dualogic||$25,500|
Click the Photos tab above for more images of the updated 2015 Fiat 500.