2014 Fiat Avventura Petrol: Review
- Oct 10, 2014
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The Cross or ‘styled-for-ruggedness’ segment is one that has never really been explored by any manufacturer in India. This might be due to the fact that the Indian audience has always been interested in the more traditional body styles like the hatchback, sedan and SUV, and in recent times, the compact sedan. Browsing through the many stalls at the 2014 Indian Auto Expo though one might think differently. With three new cross hatchbacks unveiled to the Indian public, this segment is finally gathering up some steam.
The Fiat Avventura is one such concept that was showcased at the Auto Expo. Fiat’s foray into this segment is not surprising considering the fact that it has had the platform to build a hatchback based cross for about three decades now. The Avventura, based on the Fiat Punto hatchback is the Italian manufacturer’s answer to this untapped sector. Based on the Panda platform and with body panels shared with the Punto, the Fiat Avventura does have a lot to offer.
The biggest changes are obvious. The Avventura gets higher ground clearance than the Punto with an all-new suspension setup and of course, bigger wheels and beefier tyres. The Fiat Avventura also gets a new front facia with a set of aggressive projector headlights and a redesigned front grille with built in daytime running lamps. Additionally, the Fiat Avventura gets beefy matte grey side cladding adding to the ‘cross’ look. It also gets twin tow hooks at the front that adds to the tough and outdoorsy look. As good as they might look in concept form though the exposed hooks will never make it into production due to passenger crash safety regulations and other Central Motor Vehicle Regulation rules.
The rear end of the Fiat Punto has always been admired for its curves and the Avventura is no exception. The addition of the large spare wheel mounted on an independent swing arm adds to the cross hatchback appeal and gels well with the overall design. The Fiat Avventura concept also features a set of ski racks on the roof. Another touch that is unlikely to make it to production is the twin exhaust outlet, although it does look good on the concept.
Moving to the interior, the Fiat Avventura shares the Fiat Punto’s interior with a few additions. The interior of the Fiat Avventura concept has been designed to match the exterior with bright orange accents around the dashboard and orange stitching that complements the dark grey and white fabric upholstery. The Fiat Avventura concept receives three gauges over the AC vents, namely a compass and pitch and roll gauge (similar to the ones found in an older Mercedes-Benz G Wagon or Mitsubishi Pajero) hinting at a possible off-road pack.
The Fiat Avventura might be based on the Punto visually but peel back the gorgeous exterior and the underpinnings are originally from the Fiat Panda. The Fiat Panda, an immensely popular car in Europe has been around for over three decades now and for about 30 years Fiat has offered a 4x4 version of the same. The Fiat Avventura will be offered with front wheel drive but could also receive a 4x4 system based on the Panda 4x4, a car originally conceived to take on snowy roads in the Norwegian and Alpine regions.
We also expect the Fiat Avventura to be the first car in India to receive the 0.9-litre Fiat TwinAir engine mated to a 6-speed gearbox as seen on the concept car. The 0.9-litre TwinAir is Fiat’s turbocharged engine capable of producing more power than much larger naturally aspirated engines. The 0.9-litre TwinAir features a two-cylinder setup with a small turbocharger that has been sourced from Mitsubishi. The 0.9-litre engine produces 85PS of power and 150Nm of torque while consuming less fuel than larger naturally aspirated engines with similar power ratings. The 1.3-litre MultiJet diesel engine on the other hand will receive the same 5-speed gearbox that currently does duty in the Fiat Punto with possibly the 90PS version being offered as the standard engine. The Fiat Avventura will also be offered with its standard 1.2-litre petrol engine.
The Fiat Avventura 4x4 might also receive an electronically operated differential like the one available in the Panda 4x4. This electronic differential system is actually a clever traction control which when in play, prevents power from being spun away to the lightly loaded wheel. Fiat has also developed a new coupling that allows 98 per cent of the power to be delivered to the front wheels under normal driving conditions.
The combination of the higher ground clearance at about 150-160mm and 4x4 may make the Fiat Avventura a perfect car for the broken tarmac and pothole-ridden roads of India. Although the Avventura might be offered with a 4x4 system, we expect maximum sales to come out of the front-wheel-drive powered vehicles. The Fiat Avventura will go on sale by mid-2014 and should be priced between the Rs 8-10 lakh mark.
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