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Fiat detunes Ritmo engines - and prices

Cheaper: New Dynamic grade gets plastic multi-spoke wheel covers.

Fiat lowers Ritmo entry pricing to under $25,000, and diesel to less than $30K

24 Jul 2008

FIAT has lowered the entry price for both petrol and diesel versions of its small Ritmo hatch by $5000 in Australia by introducing a new ‘Dynamic’ equipment grade fitted with lower-output four-cylinder engines.

The revised Ritmo range now opens with the 1.4-litre naturally-aspirated ‘Fire’ engine, which produces 66kW of power and 128Nm of torque – well down on the 110kW/230Nm figures delivered by the turbocharged 1.4 T-Jet engine, which made its debut in the Ritmo (known as the Bravo outside Australia).

Of course, while the Ritmo Emotion 1.4 T-Jet was Fiat Australia’s previous Ritmo price-leader at $29,990, the 1.4 Dynamic is priced $5000 lower at $24,990, representing a new low-water mark for Fiat’s largest model in Australia.

36 center imageHowever, that’s still thousands more than the 1.8 and 2.0-litre entry-level versions of the European-designed Holden Astra and Ford Focus, while base versions of other small five-door Euro rivals like the new Peugeot 308 (88kW/160Nm), Volkswagen Golf (75kW/148Nm) and Citroen C4 (80kW/147Nm) all feature 1.6-litre engines for $25,990 or less.

Fiat says the Ritmo Dynamic 1.4 Fire returns average fuel consumption of just 6.7L/100km – low enough for it to place fifth in the Australian government’s Green Vehicle Guide star ratings (behind the Toyota Prius, Fiat 500, Fiat Punto and Citroen C3).

Meantime, the Ritmo Dynamic 1.9 JTD also joins the range at $29,990, reducing turbo-diesel Ritmo start pricing to under $30,000 and representing a $3500 saving over the Ritmo Emotion 1.9 MultiJet ($33,490).

But while the 1.9 MultiJet is powered by a 110kW/305Nm 16-valve 1.9-litre turbo-diesel, the earlier-generation eight-valve 1.9 JTD engine produces just 88kW and 255Nm, the latter also from 2000rpm.

At 5.3L/100km, it offers better average fuel consumption than both the Ritmo 1.4 Fire and 1.9 MultiJet (5.6L/100km), but doesn’t appear in the top ten of the Green Vehicle Guide’s star rating, which penalises diesels and is dominated by petrol engines.

Of course, diesel-engined cars dominate the list of Australia’s most economical vehicles based purely on fuel consumption, with the Fiat 500 1.3 JTD topping the charts with 4.2L/100km, ahead of the C3 HDi manual, Punto 1.3 JTD EGS and Prius – all on 4.4L/100km.

Behind them on 4.5L/100km is the C4 HDi EGS, Punto 1.3 JTD manual and Audi A3 Sportback TDI 1.9 Ambition manual, followed on 4.6L/100km by the Honda Civic Hybrid and next year’s Ritmo 1.6 JTD-m, with the Smart ForTwo and Hyundai’s i30 1.6 diesel rounding out the top ten on 4.7L/100km.

Both new 1.4 petrol and 1.9 diesel variants of the Ritmo come standard with six airbags, ABS, air-conditioning, a digital sound system, remote central locking, cruise control, trip computer and front power windows, plus a chrome trimmed cabin with carbonfibre-look highlights.

Compared to the Ritmo’s existing Emotion and Sport trim and equipment variants, the new Dynamic grade goes without chromed exterior door handles, alloy wheels, a chromed exhaust outlet, leather steering wheel and gear knob, rear power windows, an illuminated passenger’s vanity mirror, 12-volt boot socket, front and rear armrests, driver’s lumbar adjustment and steering wheel audio controls.

“These two new versions of the Ritmo take our family Fiat into a whole new market sector for both price and diesel availability,” said the general manager for Fiat in Australia, Andrei Zaitzev.

“These new versions of the Ritmo may have new, more affordable prices, but the Ritmo retains its stylish good looks, its benchmark five star EuroNCAP safety standards, and high levels of equipment.

“The two new engines set new standards for performance and, as would be expected of the company that invented the common-rail direct-injection diesel engine, economy, with the new Ritmo JTD offering a remarkable economy, using just 4.3 litres per 100km of fuel on the open road,” said Mr Zaitzev.

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