The rains have left behind muddy roads in and around towns that are hinting at some off terrain fun, giving Fiat the right reason to give everyone a sneak into what’s going to be their next big launch. As tiny crossovers “hatch” into the Indian market, FIAT is coming up with something that is bound to give the likes of Volkswagen Cross Polo and the Toyota Etios Cross along with a few mini SUVs like the EcoSport, a run for their money.
The Avventura crossover, as it’s being called, goes on sale next month and is going to play an vital role in introducing FIAT into the Indian SUV market segment. The Avventura comes with quite an upgrade in FIAT’s styling cues, a claimed “best in class” ride and handling quality and a brand new 1.5 litre diesel engine from FIAT which will first feature in the little SUV.
Automated manual transmission
The engine is expected to be a smaller version of the existing 1.6 litre JTD motor that powers a number of FIATs and Alfa Romeos. By having brought down the capacity of the engine below 1500 cc, FIAT aims at saving INR.15000 per car through taxes. We still don’t know for sure about the power deliverance and performance numbers of the new engine but expect the power output to be well above 100 horses. The car is also expected to come equipped with Automated Manual Transmission – a fresh new feature being offered by a number of automakers in their new and upcoming models’ high end variants.
The Avventura is expected to hit showrooms this year and is in the final phases of real time driving condition tests on all kinds of Indian roads. It was showcased by the company as a concept in the beginning of this year, at the Auto Expo held in Delhi.
With looks similar to that of a Punto Evo in a full metal jacket and equipped to go off the road, the Avventura promises a combination of style and function that is much more than what just meets the eye. A more potent package than the competition it promises to crunch, it comes with quite an aggressive styling and quite tastefully done at that. The big spare wheel unit that is bound to be offered on all variants as it is doubtlessly a part of the more prominent aesthetic features, is mounted not on the rear hatch like most SUVs, but on an arm that sits hinged on the rear bumper, so that the spare wheel mount swings out independently of the rear hatch. The front bumper has a very “off terrain” feel to it with the extra cladding that is integrated in the design along with a false skidplate peeping from underneath the front like a hopeful pet expecting a cookie – a big mountain hound, not a Chihuahua.
Centre of gravity kept low
The roof rails are made from aluminum, and serves two purposes. One, keeping weight at the top as little as possible and not affecting the centre of gravity, and two, the strong metallic construction makes them quite functional. It also comes with sixteen inch alloy wheels and larger wheel wells to accommodate bigger tyres. What takes its overall build and stance up a notch is the large ground clearance of 205 mm – the same as the Duster – that makes sure its belly rides well above the ground.
The interiors are an upgrade on FIAT’s standard interior options of its older cars, just like the New Punto Evo and the New Linea. With brand new European styling and a lot of toys for those expecting decent gadgetry inside, the interior will be quite a place to blend into comfortably, irrespective of the terrain that the driver wishes to tame.
After a long period of time, FIAT India seems to have realized the need and urgency of exploring into new segments and unexplored realms that currently have only a small number of contenders marking their territory, and are in full swing of putting together a wide variety of products for the Indian market.
One can only expect the best of things from this Italian crossover, well at least in its class so to speak, and if FIAT prices it right, it can help them leap right onto the top of the segment. We look forward with great enthusiasm to the launch of the Avventura and also to grabbing its keys for an extensive test ride.