Fiat Chrysler is giving a big price increase to the 2018 Fiat 500 minicar, with its newly enhanced powertrain and other upgrades adding up to as much as a $1,500 premium over the outgoing versions. Taken together with a $250 boost to destination fees for most cars, SUVs and trucks in the FCA family, and it's going to cost quite a bit more to drive the Italian subcompact.

CarsDirect reports that FCA bumped the starting price for the 2018 Fiat 500 Pop by $1,500 to $17,490 for the 5-speed manual and $18,485 for the six-speed automatic. The Fiat 500 Lounge will start at $20,990, which is also $1,500 more than last year, while the top-of-the-line 500 Abarth starts at $21,740, up $750.

Those figures include the $250 higher destination fee, which FCA reportedly announced to dealers in March for most 2018 cars and trucks — for example, the destination fee on a Jeep Wrangler is now an eye-popping $1,445. The destination fee is what automakers charge to ship vehicles from the factory to dealers and isn't normally included in a vehicle's advertised price. The Fiat 500 destination fee is now $1,245, CarsDirect reports (Autoblog sought confirmation and comment from FCA but hasn't received a response).

Fiat, of course, is adding oomph to the 2018 version of the 500 via a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine that pushes horsepower up 33 percent to 135 ponies and 150 pound-feet of torque. It's also adding sportier suspension, brakes and exterior design, a sport-tuned exhaust and rearview camera, plus 16-inch aluminum wheels, fog lamps and a "Turbo" badge on the rear fascia. "It's important to note that we've added even more standard content in order to further enhance the fun-to-drive factor that our customers expect," spokesman Bryan Zvibleman tells Autoblog.

The new price makes it more expensive than the 2019 Honda Fit, which starts at $17.085 including the $895 destination charge for a six-speed manual. It also follows a $2,000 cut in the base price of the 500 Pop for 2017.

It will be interesting to see whether Fiat can hold steady on the new higher pricing without having to resort to discounts for the slow-selling minicar. FCA says overall U.S. sales of the Fiat brand fell 45 percent in April to 1,404 vehicles. According to CarSalesBase.com, the company has sold only 1,644 Fiat 500 coupes year to date, compared to 5,221 for the first four months of 2017, though the figures reflect the outdated 2017 model and don't include the five-door 500L. Full-year 2017 sales of the 500 totaled 12,685.

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