Fiat: Fiat Panda 0.9-litre Twin Air 2014 review

May 7th, 2014 by Richard Edwards

IMG_2477-1Pandas are a breeding-averse bear found in China, and zoos around the world. Without help from humans they would probably have died out decades ago. Or that may be our fault. I am not really sure. Continue reading “Fiat: Fiat Panda 0.9-litre Twin Air 2014 review” »

Fiat reworks unpopular Punto for 2012

September 6th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Fiat’s super cute 500 is continuing to be a sales superstar in various global markets which has left its Punto sibling feeling like a bit of an ugly duckling. But Fiat is determined to keep the Punto looking sharp and has done some tweaking for the 2012 model.

The current Punto was first released back in 2005 as the Grand Punto, but it began to look its age. To combat this Fiat launched the reworked Punto Evo in 2009 but now that update isn’t selling anymore so its time for another update.

On the 2012 Punto, the black plastic mouldings have been dropped and the chrome trim on the nose. The interior has also seen some work and there’s two new engines on offer in global markets. Fiat’s popular 900cc two-cylinder unit can be  had and another 1.3-llitre MultiJet diesel has also joined the range. Continue reading “Fiat reworks unpopular Punto for 2012” »

Gaddafi’s bespoke Fiat 500 EV taken by Libyan rebels

September 2nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Ex-Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has lost his palace, lost his country and now has lost his Fiat 500 Castagna EV.

The bespoke electric vehicle was taken from the ousted dictator’s bunker in Bab Al-Azizia, Libya. Gaddafi had almost as many flash cars as he did fancy hats but the $144,000 USD custom Fiat 500 was a little bit special. Despite being known to have business links with Fiat, the 500 was ordered through a intermediary for Gaddafi in June 2009 with a number of special requests. The Fiat had to be delivered to Libya by September that year and required custom touches including being doorless, having a two-tone paint job, a cream leather interior and wood trim. Special Libyan-themed accents also included a back-lit Lion of the Desert on the A-pillar and a silhouette of Africa badge on the front. Continue reading “Gaddafi’s bespoke Fiat 500 EV taken by Libyan rebels” »

Abarth upgrades Fiat Punto Evo to 135kW

July 11th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Fiat 500 gets most of the attention directed at the marque’s current model range but its not the only hot hatch in the family. Fiat’s tuning division Abarth is set to change that with a new take on the Punto Evo.

The Punto Evo began life as the Grande Punto back in 2005, but was updated in 2009 as the Punto Evo. Abarth has been tuning the Punto for a while as an option for those that find the 500 too small or just too much of a ‘chick’s car’. Now Abarth has upped the ante with an even more powerful version of the Italian performance hatch called the EsseEsse.

The turbo four-cylinder engine has been upgraded to 135kW (from 123kW), through revised ECU programming and bigger turbocharger. Other mechanical parts like the braked, springs and dampers have all been upgraded and there’s a new wheel/tyre package as well. In terms of performance the Punto Evo EsseEsse will sprint from 0-100km/h in 7.5 seconds and will reach a 215 kph top speed. Continue reading “Abarth upgrades Fiat Punto Evo to 135kW” »

Ex Pininfarina designers seeking funding for Fiat 500 Marcia Corta

July 5th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The reworked Fiat 500 has been the victim and benefactor of a wide range of tuning efforts in recent years. It’s been painted in gold, taken rally driving and even had its small engine shifted to a rear mount. But this latest tuning endeavour may prove the most interesting.

Two former Pininfarina designers have broken away and formed a new design firm called Camal and their first project involves the Fiat 500. This special version is called the 500 Marcia Corta (Italian for short gearing), with the underpinning theme to give the Bambina a classic rallying look.

The signature elements are clear and include quad rally lamps, giant grille opening and a full aero kit with side skirts, fender flares and rear ring. At the rear there’s a replacement bumper with a new integrated exhaust system. Continue reading “Ex Pininfarina designers seeking funding for Fiat 500 Marcia Corta” »

Fiat’s tiny 0.9-litre motor wins ‘International Engine of the Year’ Award

May 19th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

With a displacement of just 875cc Fiat’s twin-cylinder gasoline ‘TwinAir’ motor seemed an unlikely choice for the International Engine of the Year Award but the little engine that could has taken the top honours. The much coveted award is decided by a jury of 76 journalists and industry experts from 36 different countries and Fiat’s mini mill was highly praised. The Jury were sold on the TwinAir’s low emissions, high fuel economy and strong power output for its size. The TwinAir scooped four awards in total that included “Best New Engine 2011”, “Best Green Engine 2011”, “Best Sub 1-Litre Engine” and the “International Engine of the Year 2011” grand award.

Fiat’s two-cylinder champion uses turbocharging to develop 63kW of power and currently sees service in the Fiat 500 and 500C, with further applications planned. Fiat will also introduce two other versions of the motor, a naturally aspirated variant producing 48kW and a higher-performance turbocharged variant with 78kW.

This year’s awards event was held yesterday (May 18th) at the Engine Expo in Stuttgart, Germany. Other big winners included BMW with the carmaker taking out four awards. The honours included winning the “3-litre to 4-litre” category with the 4.0-litre V8 unit used in the M3, the “2.5-litre to 3-litre” division for its 3.0-litre DI Twin Turbo mill, the “1.8-litre to 2-litre” category for the 2.0-litre Twin Turbo diesel engine found in the 123d and X1, and lastly the “1.4-litre to 1.8-litre” category for the popular 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo engine co-developed with PSA Peugeot Citroen, powering the Mini. Continue reading “Fiat’s tiny 0.9-litre motor wins ‘International Engine of the Year’ Award” »

Fiat ready to subject motoring world to 2012 Panda

March 29th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

According to reports coming out of Fiat the first examples of its next-generation Panda city car will roll off the production line in Italy this November. The third generation of the Panda is preparing to  make its world debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in mid-September.

“We are on track in refurbishing Pomigliano, which will become a truly state-of-the-art plant when it begins production in November,” Fiat Group chief manufacturing officer Stefan Ketter said recently.

Originally the new Panda was to be built in the Tychy factory in Poland but last year Fiat Group CEO Sergio Marchionne announced the change. As part of the company’s “Fabbrica Italia” (Italian factory) plan, Panda production was moved to Italy to help boost Fiat productivity from around 650,000 units in 2010 to approximately 1.4 million cars in 2014.

Fiat has invested around €800 million to build the new Panda in Pomigliano. It’s a huge investment for Fiat considering the Italian factory in 2010 only produced around 30,000 units of the Alfa Romeo 159 sedan and sports wagon, plus the final examples of the 147 hatchback and GT sports coupe. Continue reading “Fiat ready to subject motoring world to 2012 Panda” »

Dodge at work on fuel frugal hatchback

November 16th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Chrysler is hard at work refreshing and reworking its line-up and to go a step further it has announced that it’s working on a small car for the Dodge lineup. This new vehicle is being built with fuel economy clearly in mind and should be capable of achieving a fuel economy well under 6.0l/100km. The mysterious new model will sit on a Fiat-sourced platform and is expected to be revealed sometime near the end of 2011.

Little is known about who the main rivals for this new Dodge will be but apparently a fuel-efficient small Chrysler has been planned for a long time and lead to the creation of the Dodge Hornet concept car (pictured) in 2006. The Hornet was seemingly given the go-ahead for production but never surfaced in finished form. Now may be its time.

Aside from the North American-specified Fiat 500, the new Chrysler/Fiat partnership has yet to produce any real joint vehicles. In the meantime, Chrysler has been reworking its product portfolio, offering new powertrains higher-quality interiors and improved refinement for the full slate of Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep products.

To read a recent Car and SUV review of the updated Dodge Caliber, click here. Continue reading “Dodge at work on fuel frugal hatchback” »

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