The newly updated 2016 Fiat 500 hatch and 500C convertible make their Australian market debut this week, bringing lightly revised styling, a handful of key technology upgrades and notable changes to the model spread and pricing.
Revealed in July last year, the 2016 Fiat 500 picks up lightly tweaked headlights, slightly larger and newly LED-ringed lower lamps up front, and a restyled grille that gets a new winged look, new fog lights and silver finishers to the mesh grille.
There’s re-shaped tail lamps at the rear and a subtly updated bumper, while the cabin gets a ‘spot the difference’ upgrade that centres on the newly integrated UConnect infotainment system.
The 2016 Fiat 500 range has been consolidated to two model grades, with the mid-level 500S dropped in favour of a better-equipped but now more expensive entry-level Pop model, paired with the familiar and now more affordable Lounge grade.
Pricing on the Pop has increased from $16,000 to a new $18,000 point, while the Lounge drops $1000 to $21,000.
Both prices exclude on-road costs, but Fiat is offering a $1000 deal to cover costs that could normally go closer to $2500.
This gives the Pop a drive-away price of $19,000, and the Lounge a drive-away point of $22,000 - previously its list price before on-road costs.
Features new to the range include a 5-inch touch display running Fiat Chrysler’s UConnect infotainment system, along with Bluetooth phone and media connectivity, voice command and DAB+ digital radio.
The Pop now also gets 15-inch alloy wheels - upgraded from a steel and hubcaps arrangement - along with a new chevron two-tone cloth seat trim and a leather steering wheel with audio controls.
Other features in the Pop include seven airbags; electronic stability control; tyre pressure monitoring; electric power steering; power adjusted, heated and body-coloured exterior mirrors; manual air conditioning and 50:50 split rear seats.
The Lounge gets all of the above, along with satellite navigation, a 7-inch instrument cluster display, height-adjustable driver’s seat, rear parking sensors, premium seat trim with check design, floor mats, luggage compartment lighting, 15-inch alloy wheels and a chrome finish to the window trim, grille surround, rear bumper insert and door sill plates.
Fiat says it has used new and more ergonomic materials for the seats, and, perhaps more importantly, improvements have also been made to soundproofing throughout the cabin.
There’s also a lightly restyled steering wheel and reshaped vents in both models.
Power in the pop is again provided by Fiat’s Euro 6-compliant 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, producing 51kW of power and 102Nm of torque, paired with a five-speed manual or, as a $1500 option, a five-speed Dualogic automated manual transmission.
Fuel consumption is listed at 4.9L/100km for the manual, 4.8L/100km for the auto.
The Lounge does away with the turbocharged 63kW/145Nm 0.9-litre two-cylinder TwinAir engine offered previously, with the 2016 model powered instead by the now retired 500S model’s 1.4-litre engine, matched to a six-speed manual or $1500 five-speed Dualogic auto.
The trade means fuel consumption rises from 3.9L/100km with the TwinAir to 6.1L/100km and 5.8L/100km for the 1.4-litre model’s manual and auto options. Power increases slightly to 74kW, although torque slips to 131Nm.
Fiat says it has tweaked the 500’s suspension package for improved comfort and handling characteristics, which we’ll put to the test at this week’s Australian media launch.
All of the above upgrades carry over to the 500C convertible, listed below.
2016 Fiat 500 pricing and specifications (plus on-road costs):
Pop - $18,000 (previously $16,000)
Lounge - $21,000 (prev $22,000)
Automatic transmission adds $1500
Pop Convertible 1.2 manual - $22,000
Lounge Convertible 1.4 manual - $25,000
Automatic transmission adds $1500
NOTE: All models are also offered with on-road costs covered at a fixed price of $1000.
NOTE: European model shown. Australian photos still to come.