Fiat has given its Fiat 500 a healthy $1,500 price increase for the 2018 model year, but it’s also added a healthy infusion of standard power via a new turbocharged engine for regular 500 models. (And yes, it’s the 2018 500 that’s just now going on sale, getting in under the wire as some 2019 model vehicles already are on lots.)
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Both the Pop and Lounge trim levels get the boost in standard driving fun, with upgraded braking and sportier suspension tweaks along with the new standard 135-horsepower, turbocharged 1.4-liter engine. That’s a third more horsepower than the 2017’s 101-hp engine that was mind-deadening unless you had the manual and flogged it like you stole it. (I’ve done that, and enjoyed it — the flogging, not the larceny — not to mention the fact that I could park on city streets in spaces I would otherwise have to drive by).
Even more critical, particularly for the majority of you who will want the six-speed automatic, is about a 50 percent increase in torque to 150 pounds-feet that kicks in at 2,400 rpm. We’ll know when we get our hands on one, but that added muscle should make a big difference in everyday driving. The 2017’s wimpy 98 pounds-feet arrived late to the party at 4,000 rpm. The new turbo should bring the base engine’s sportiness a little closer to the 500 Abarth performance model, with its 160-horsepower, turbo 1.4-liter.
Fiat automaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles confirmed that the base 2018 Pop trim level with a five-speed manual shifter will start at $17,490, up $1,500 total, including $1,250 more for the car and an aggressive $250 hike to $1,245 for the inescapable destination charge. There are a few changes in standard equipment, including a backup camera as well as 16-inch aluminum wheels, foglights, body-color front and rear bumpers, a rear spoiler and lower door aero that formerly were part of an optional Sport Appearance Package.
The fancier Lounge trim level starts at $20,990 with destination for 2018, also up $1,500.
It has such extras over the Pop as leather-trimmed seats and an upgraded multimedia system, and for 2018 also gets standard 16-inch alloy wheels. With both Pop and Lounge, opting for the drop-top 500c cabrio version adds $1,495, the same as for 2017.
The Abarth performance models carry over with their more powerful turbo, performance chassis modifications, and sporty look and interior, as well as a free day of performance driving school. And they get a more modest $750 price increase to $21,740 to start, including destination, for the coupe.
The new pricing for the 500 takes back much of the $2,000 price cut FCA made for the Pop and Lounge for the 2017 model year, though we expect FCA to continue sales incentives. It puts the base sticker price now at $405 more to start than a base 2019 LX model of Honda’s Fit hatchback city car. But I suspect potential buyers are much different in desire for practicality versus style, and not many would cross-shop the two.
The 2018 Fiat 500 also already will be getting its first special edition, the Urbana Edition, a sporty appearance package that was shown at the 2018 New York International Auto Show, and is similar in style to the Urbana Editions of other Fiats, including the 500X SUV’s Urbana Edition.
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