2021 Fiat 500 range gets a refresh
It's hard to believe that the Fiat 500 has been scurrying through our city streets since 2007. Even more remarkable is the fact that it's changed very little during this time.
Apart from the addition of the teeny 0.9-litre TwinAir engine in 2010, a few tech upgrades and a mild facelift in 2016, well, the 'Cinquecento' is still based on the Fiat Mini platform that first saw light of day with the launch of the second-generation Panda back in 2003. But, hey, if it ain't broke don't fix it, right? Despite its aged architecture the Fiat 500 continues to sell in droves — over 2.5-million units have rolled out of the Stellantis plant in Tychyand, Poland — and still delivers an affordable transport solution for hip urbanites.
And to help bring it more up to date with its rivals, Fiat has treated its popular city car to a refresh. Now available in SA, here's a look at what the new 2021 Fiat 500 range offers.
Four new trim levels
The biggest change for 2021 is the introduction of four new trim levels that begin with the entry-level 500 Cult derivative. Aimed at the budget-conscious buyer it hits the road with 14-inch steel wheels, black side mirrors and LED daytime running lights. A bold new shade of 'Arancio Sicilia' orange paint is available as an option. Inside the cabin you'll find blue fabric seats, a body colour dashboard, five-inch Uconnect infotainment system, USB ports and manual air-conditioning. Optional is a new 'Techno Blue Matt' dashboard.
Next in the range is the 500 Connect that build on the Cult's specification with 15-inch alloy wheels, side skirts, a rear spoiler and front fog-lights. Customers can also tick the box on a bicolour option that marries silver paintwork with a contrasting black roof. The cabin is upgraded with height adjustable seats, a multifunction steering wheel plus a seven-inch Uconnect infotainment system (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible).
The penultimate offering is the 500 Sport that enjoys a more aggressive look courtesy 16-inch five-spoke alloy wheels and model-specific side skirts, bumpers and rear spoiler. These racy overtones are complemented inside the cabin by “arrow electro” seats, a titanium colour dashboard, automatic climate control and a digital instrument cluster.
Meanwhile the flagship 500 Dolcevita distinguishes itself aesthetically with bespoke badging and chrome accents on two-tone paintwork. Other highlights include 16-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels, a Techno-leather multifunction steering wheel, panoramic glass roof, Matelassé fabric seats with techno leather details and a 50:50 split rear seat.
Both the Dolcevita and Sport models can be had in the popular cabriolet body style.
One engine to power them all
All 2021 Fiat 500 models are powered by the same 0.9-litre turbocharged two-cylinder TwinAir petrol motor developing 62.5kW at 5,500rpm and 145Nm of torque at 1,900rpm. This comes coupled to a five-speed manual gearbox, however the Dolcevita model is available exclusively with a MTA transmission — an automated manual that's always been a bit clunky in our experience. Performance wise, all models will zip from 0-100km/h in a claimed 11 seconds (11.5 for the MTA versions) and reach a maximum speed of 173km/h. Fiat claims a combined cycle fuel consumption of 4.0l/100km, though good luck getting that in real world driving conditions. CO2 emissions weigh in as low as 88g/100km.
Despite its age the Fiat 500 still offers a decent amount of active safety equipment as standard. This includes seven airbags, ABS brakes and electronic stability control.
Now available at Fiat dealerships nationwide, pricing for the new 2021 Fiat 500 range is as follows. Pricing includes a five-year/100,000km warranty.
Cult manual: R219,900
Connect manual: R260,900
Sport manual: R269,900
Sport Cabriolet manual: R319,900
Dolcevita MTA: R274,900
Dolcevita Cabriolet MTA: R324,900