Snapshot – Fiat is a brand that has its sights firmly on the enthusiast rupee, which is one reason among many others which explains why the Italian brand languishes at the bottom of the pile when it comes to sales numbers. Car enthusiasts in this country, who actually go out and buy cars aimed at driving pleasure, form minuscule numbers, which also explains why most mass market car makers play firmly to the gallery – the family car buyers who want a little bit of everything from their automobiles. Today, we’ll take a look at four sure fire signs that Fiat cares about car enthusiasts in India, and celebrate the simple pleasure that a fine tuned automobile can give an enthusiast.
The first affordable turbo petrol car was a Fiat, in the form of the Linea T-Jet C-Segment sedan. Of course, this discounts the Skoda Octavia vRS, which was launched a few years earlier. But the Octavia vRS featured a price tag pegged over 10 lakh rupees, which wasn’t deemed affordable at that time and age. Launched in 2011, the Linea T-Jet offered Indian car enthusiasts the taste of a turbocharged petrol motor (114 Bhp-207 Nm) coupled to a willing chassis set up that loved to be hustled around corners. Then there was the vault like build that made you feel like you were sitting in a tank. Going against the grain, Fiat did the Linea T-Jet at a time when diesels ruled the roost.
Fiat cars continue delight car nuts with their outstanding ride and handling balance. In terms of negatives, Fiat cars have a bunch. From patchy fit and finish levels to lousy resale values, there are many reasons why buyers look elsewhere. But if you know your cars and value driving pleasure, a Fiat will usually be at the top of your wishlist in the budget car segments. And when you do experience the thrill of driving so to speak, the foibles that Fiat cars come with are quickly forgotten. The Punto, Avventura and Linea offer great driving dynamics, and continue to attract a small but steady bunch of buyers to their folds.
Fiat will soon bring the Abarth performance sub-brand to India through the 500 Competizione. The Abarth 500 will use the T-Jet turbo petrol motor is a much powerful state of tune – 158 Bhp-230 Nm. Transmission will be by means of a 5 speed automated manual transmission. The car will take on the Mini Cooper S and will be the flagship offering from Fiat for the Indian car market. The automaker understands that the Abarth 500 Competizione is a very niche product, which is why the car will be imported into the country as a completely built unit (CBU). While the price tag close to the 30 lakh rupee mark won’t make the car affordable, it will still herald the arrival of the Abarth brand.
Talking Abarth, more affordable offerings with this badge will be served up by Fiat soon. Both the Punto EVO hatchback and the Avventura crossover will gain turbo petrol power. The 1.4 liter T-Jet unit will be shoehorned into the engine bays of both car, which will be sold as sporty yet relatively affordable options for driving enthusiasts in the country. Both the Punto and Avventura Abarth cars are likely to be launched in India by the end of this year, with price tags well under the 10 lakh rupee mark. Both cars will feature five speed manual transmissions. Revised styling bit hinting at sporty appeal is also likely.