Fiat reveals new 500 ‘boutique hatch’ in hard-top format
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Turin, Italy - Three months after pulling the covers off its all-new 500 in convertible form, Fiat has unveiled the hard-top hatchback version of the new boutique hatch, and this one is also fully electrified.
Fiat has skipped straight past the hybrid phase and opted for full electric power for the all-new 500. That, however, does mean a big push upmarket in terms of cost, with UK pricing starting at £26 995, which is around R575 000 at today’s exchange rate. But will it come to South Africa? At this stage we are still awaiting confirmation from FCA.
The new 500 will go on sale in Europe in just one spec grade, called ‘la Prima’, but it is well-specced and includes a panoramic glass sunroof and ‘Eco Leather’ seat upholstery among other luxuries. The new hatchback model is also set apart by a ‘classic’ style tailgate design and a new rear spoiler.
The little Cinquecento is powered by an 87kW electric motor that’s capable of propelling the little hatch from 0-100km/h in nine seconds, and the car is fitted with a 42kWh battery that enables a claimed range of 320km between charges, on the WLTP cycle. The vehicle also comes with an 85kW fast charge system that requires just five minutes to accumulate enough energy to travel 48km.
Fiat has also come up with a way to mitigate that dreaded ‘range anxiety’ with a driving mode called ‘Sherpa’, which maximises range by adjusting throttle settings, limiting the speed to 80km/h and deactivating the climate control and seat heating. But where does that name come from? According to Fiat, it was inspired by the Himalayan Sherpas, who take charge of hiking expeditions.
The little Fiat is also at the cutting edge of driver assistance tech, offering ‘Level 2’ semi-autonomous driving capability through features like Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control, designed to respond to cars, cyclists and pedestrians, and a Lane Centering system that can keep the car in the centre of its lane. In addition to 360-degree sensors, the 500 is also fitted with a front-facing camera system that can monitor all areas the car, both longitudinally and laterally.
But the gadgetry overload doesn’t end there. This is also the first FCA product to feature the company’s new UConnect 5 infotainment system that offers seamless and wireless smartphone integration and a wide range of connectivity services.