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Brisbane show: Ritmo raises Fiat bar

Bigger: Ritmo, known as Bravo overseas, is substantially larger than Punto.

Italy's Fiat brand bowls up a bigger brother for its Punto in the $30,000 Ritmo

5 Feb 2008

FIAT says its new Ritmo five-door hatch, which went on sale nationally on Friday (February 1), will deliver hitherto unseen levels of style, performance and excitement in the small-car category.

Pricing was announced the same day at the Brisbane motor show opening, with Fiat revealing an expected sub-$30,000 starting price for its second passenger-car model following the Punto, which relaunched the Italian brand here in mid-2006.

At $29,990 for the entry-level Ritmo Emotion T-Jet, powered by a turbocharged 110kW/230Nm 1.4-litre petrol engine with a six-speed manual transmission, the Ritmo range is positioned $10,000 upstream of the Punto, which ranges between $19,990 and $27,990.

Meanwhile, the Ritmo’s $30K base price is also the same as the most expensive version of the third model to reach Australia from the rejuvenated European brand - the Fiat 500, which will cost $29,990 with a 74kW petrol 1.4 and a DuaLogic automated manual transmission.

36 center imageThe other trim level in the Ritmo range is Sport, which costs $3000 extra and gives the Ritmo Sport T-Jet a price of $32,990.

Similarly, the other Ritmo engine available is a turbocharged 1.9-litre diesel delivering the same 110kW as the 1.4 petrol but 305Nm of torque. In the so-called Ritmo Emotion MultiJet manual it costs $33,490 (a $3500 premium over the equivalent petrol version), while the flagship Ritmo Sport MultiJet manual is priced at $36,490.

Standard equipment across the range includes power windows/mirrors, power steering, cruise control, remote central locking, air-conditioning, cloth trim and alloy wheels, while the Sport version adds a rear spoiler, side skirts, climate-control, sports pedals front sports seats with driver’s lumbar adjustment, a leather-clad sports steering wheel, gearshifter and handbrak, sports upholstery, red brake callipers and 17-inch alloys with 225/45-section tyres.

The Ritmo, known as the Bravo overseas, achieved a maximum five-star crash test rating from Europe’s leading collision safety body ENCAP. Safety equipment comprises ESP stability control, ASR traction control, MSR engine brake torque modulation, ABS anti-lock brakes, EBD electronic brake-force distribution and a Hill Holder function.

Ritmo options include metallic paint ($850), an electric sunroof ($1950) and leather trim ($2500).

The T-Jet engine, with ‘overboost’ button on the centre console in Sport versions, is claimed to propel the Ritmo to 100km/h in 8.2 seconds and deliver a top speed of 208km/h, while returning 7.1L/100 km combined-cycle fuel consumption and producing 167g/km of CO2 emissions.

Likewise, the MultiJet completes the 0-100 dash in a claimed nine seconds and provide the Ritmo with a 209km/h top speed. The diesel fuel consumption figure is stated at 5.6L/100km.

“The new Fiat 500 not withstanding, the Fiat Ritmo is probably the most important car that Fiat will launch this year,” said the general manager for Fiat cars in Australia, David Stone.

“It launches Fiat into a key market sector, one which not just contains some of the key models in the market as a whole, but also which, as the market downsizes in response to environment issues and fuel prices, is becoming a market more important Australian market sector.

“The Fiat Ritmo has the abilities to take on the key players in the market and its Italian soul will offer car buyers a car that is fresh, vital and dynamic, while being backed by state of the art safety, reliability and durability,” said Mr Stone.

First customer Ritmos will arrive in mid-March and Fiat says sales will be limited to around 400 this year, before production of DuaLogic versions is confirmed for Australia.

2008 Fiat Ritmo Pricing Ritmo T-Jet - $29,990 Ritmo Sport - $32,990 Ritmo Emotion MultiJet - $33,490 Ritmo Sport MultiJet - $36,490
2008 Fiat Ritmo Pricing:
Ritmo T-Jet $29,990
Ritmo Sport $32,990
Ritmo Emotion MultiJet $33,490
Ritmo Sport MultiJet $36,490

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