The Road Ahead : August September 2008
motoring ...motoring . DRIVE TIME DRIVETIME REVIEW BARRY GREEN A nyone old enough to remember the original Fiat 500 might lament the absence of simplicity and affordability in this retro revival. In its place is more of everything – including a higher price tag. The range starts at $22,990 and stretches to $27,990, with a trilogy of equipment grades: the intriguingly named Pop, Lounge and Sport. A four-cylinder, 1.2-litre petrol (51 kW), 1.4-litre petrol (74 kW) and 1.3-litre turbo diesel (55 kW) comprise the engine selection. There can be no complaint about safety – the 500 is the fi rst car of its size to be awarded fi ve stars from Euro NCAP crash testing. Each model across the range boasts seven airbags (front, side, curtain and a knee-protecting airbag under the steering column), stability control and anti-lock brakes. Our test car was the 1.4 Sport, which has a six-speed manual transmission as standard (other variants come with a fi ve-speed manual only). However, a fi ve-speed Dualogic (automated manual with robotised clutch) is a $2000 option on the Lounge only. The sweet-changing six-speed manual makes the most of the 1.4’s 74 kW of power and 131 Nm of torque, ensuring the 500 is a competent little performer around town. Our best fuel consumption was 6.4 litres/100 km, just 0.1 outside the car’s ADR fi gure. A ‘Sport’ button on the funky painted metal dash adds more feel to the electrically assisted power steering, ROAD TEST - Fiat 500 1.4 Sport enabling a sharp turn-in that ensures the 500 holds its line obediently. Grip levels are good for a car this light (930 kg), but the comfy ride is compromised at times when the road degenerates from smooth to bumpy. We suspect the 500’s target market won’t be too performance discerning anyway. Optional stripes (from $450) and electric sunroof ($1950) might rate higher on their list of priorities. As said earlier, the Fiat 500 is all about looks as a statement. Accordingly, the style counsel will love the palette of 13 trendy interior and nine exterior paint choices. A USB socket located between the front seats that enables MP3 fi les to be played through the sound system is a nice touch. STATS AHEAD PRICE: $26,990 KEY FEATURES: Bluetooth connection on wheel controls, airconditioning, trip computer, power front windows, remote locking, leather steering wheel and gear knob, USB port, alloy wheels. SAFETY: Seven airbags, electronic stability control (ESC), traction control (TC), anti-lock brakes (ABS), electronic brake distribution (EBD), brake assist (BA), height-adjustable headrests, seatbelt pretensioners, anti-submarining front seats. ENGINE: 1.4-litre, 4-cylinder, petrol MAX. POWER: 74 kW @ 6000 rpm MAX. TORQUE: 131 Nm @ 4250 rpm 0-100 km/h: 13 sec 80 km/h-STOP: 23.9 m FUEL: (ADR FIGURE): 6.3 litres/100 km CRASH RATING: ????? EMISSIONS RATING: ???? FOR: Style, driveability ty y. AGAINST: Price, no height adjustment on driver’s seat or seatbelts. 60 AUG/SEP 08 /SEP 0 heigheight ad u t G/SEP 80 djjustmenent on dr vd iver’s ea or s seat or sea bel s atbe ts.
October November 2008
June July 2008