The Fiat Punto could soon become a member of the Fiat 500 family.
Fiat’s head of European design, Roberto Giolito, told CarAdvice that the next-generation Fiat 500 hatchback line has the potential to include a five-door model.
If Fiat were to expand the 500 range to include a five-door, it would follow the likes of fellow retro brand Mini with its new 5 Door. It may also absorb the Punto hatch, which has been on sale in third-generation guise since 2005.
“In our line-up of models, the Punto occupies a special place in the B-segment. It’s a pretty aged model, but it’s still a good seller,” Giolito said.
“The matter is how to introduce a possible new hatchback in this category, in this place. And why not this could be also 500?”
The size difference between the current Punto and the 500 hatch is marked: the former measures 4.07 metres long and 1.69m wide, while the latter spans just 3.54m in length and 1.63m wide. On price in Australia, the Punto – despite being bigger and more practical – starts at $14,500 driveaway, while the 500 kicks off from $17,000 driveaway.
However, Giolito clearly thinks a 500 Punto could work, but he admitted there are still some hurdles before any such car could make it to market.
“But this is up to some decision that is not depending on me,” he said.
“I will not limit myself because the Mini is still sufficiently long to be changed between three or five doors. The 500 [five-door] needs a completely new body. This is another matter.”
When it comes to a new-generation Fiat 500 three-door model, it was unclear if the current model – now in Series 3 trim – is going to be completely renewed with a new lighter body, or just a resurfaced version of the current car.
“A completely new model doesn’t arrive in the 500 hatch three-door,” Giolito said, before suggesting that the car won’t increase in size over the version that has been on sale globally since 2007.
“The small car deserves little adjustments, only to adapt to the culture, to the technology. Small changes for the car that I wouldn’t like to swap it. It’s very important to keep the car as it is like some evergreen products. The Vespa. The Leica camera. Something that is good enough to remain in the hands or in the usage of the people in exactly the same condition.
“For a treatment of surfacing, of course this car is very much influencing the new action on the other models because it’s most cultured.
“The real revolution of the small 500 will be, really, always inspired by the changes of the habits and also if the cars are going to be less driven by the volunteer or the driver, and more things are happening inside the cockpit – this is very important for the evolution of the 500.
“With many cars approaching the 500 like the Opel Adam – or the Holden, now, Adam – and the [Renault] Twingo, we have some interpretation because the Adam is larger itself, and the Twingo is even narrower,” he said.
“But the 500 place when you are inside, when you are in the driver’s seat, it’s not based on the A-segment specifically. It’s more in terms of space, it’s more in terms of perception or feeling of driving.
“So the cabin space is small – [a wheelbase of] 2.5 metres is a really tight measure – but we think that is the right measure. So we will keep this model as the basis for an evolution in the sense you mentioned, but for a different sized, different car,” he said.
Giolito said the aim is to keep things clear with the 500 line-up.
“The family is now very understandable – three degrees: hatch; L; and X. Now it’s a good car, it’s a good offer.”