Fiat Avventura – Test Drive Review

Fiat Avventura Review

For over a year now the crossover or compact SUV Segment has been dominated by the Ford Ecosport. Before the release of this car however this segment was relatively untouched or unmarked territory for car makers in India. However with the large success of the Ecosport more car manufactures are bringing in crossover versions of their cars to the market. In 2014 Volkswagen came out with the Polo Cross and Toyota with the Etios Cross. Both these cars were largely based on the hatchbacks sold by the companies the Polo and the Etios Liva respectively. The next company to follow the trend is now Fiat. I understand that is a little late and my apologies for that. The car has been on the market for a little over a month now and like the polo cross and etios cross it doesn’t seem to have disturbed the throne held by the Ecosport much but its early days yet. However I can tell you that the Fiat Avventura has all the tools to dethrone the Ecosport. Only time will tell if that happens. The Avventura like the Volkswagen and Toyota offering in this segment is largely based on the Punto Evo on the outside as well as in. Its priced a little higher than the Punto Evo starting at Rs 5,99,064 (Ex-showroom Delhi) compared to Rs 4,55,724 (ex-Showroom Delhi). However you do get more for extra money you pay.

Coming to the whole concept of a crossover or a compact SUV, is too maximize space within the limits. All the cars in this segment feel a lot bigger than the cars they are based on. This is due to various changes made to the car. These cars can also be used for more adventurous activates. Although they may not be thoroughbred SUV’s they can tackle a bit off-road and still offer all the luxuries a hatchback offers. Now with the Avventura, Fiat says that with this car ‘Boring is Dead’. So lets see if it really does liven up things.

Fiat Avventura test drive review

Exterior

On the outside the Fiat Avventura looks a lot like the Punto Evo barring a few things which help distinguish it. The Skid Plate on the front bumper being one such feature. Its gives quite a macho look to the car and adds protection for when you start to feel a little adventurous. Next as you look towards the side of the car you will find the side body cladding which adds protection and yet again contributes to the macho look of the car but the plastic used does feel a bit hard and looks dull with some of the bright colors available with this car. Also you can’t help but notice the roof rails on the car.

One more feature which will most defiantly please the adventurous side of you is the roof rails. These roof rails can be used to carry your bike if you ever feel the need for a bike ride outside of town. Now coming to the most stand out difference. The spare wheel. Yes. The spare wheel in the Avventura is mounted on the tail gate in quite an ingenious way. In most crossovers or compact SUV’s the spare tire is mounted on the boot lid and since the wheel is quite heavy & to avoid inconvenience the boot is hinged on the side and opens like a door.

Fiat Avventura - Side profile

In the Avventura however the wheel is mounted on an Arm which is connected and hinged on the Rear Bumper not the boot lid. So when you try opening the boot the wheel is unlocked first. So all you got to do is pull the leaver on the handle of the spare wheel cover and move the wheel to the side and then open the boot as you would on a regular car. Sounds a bit complicated but you will realize that it also aids you in removing the spare wheel when needed. The Avventura also has a sporty exhaust tip which adds to the look of the car.

Fiat Avventura - Spare Wheel

The Overall shape of the car is borrowed from the Punto which is not such a bad thing. It has the perfect amount of curves which lend to a very smooth shape and is quite appealing to look at.

Fiat Avventura - Boot Lid

Interior

The Interior of the Avventura is the same in terms of layout to the ones found in the Punto Evo as well as the Linea. There are differences however. The most noticeable being the High Terrain Gauges. The gauges are found at the top of the centre console and consist of a compass, tilt meter and inclinometer. This feature is unique to the Avventura and is not available is any other car in its class. The compass is a fixed card one that gives directions every 45 degrees so if you want to know your exact heading then its best not to rely on this compass.

The tilt meter and inclinometer however work a lot more precisely. The next difference is the color scheme used for the dash. It doesn’t follow the black and beige color scheme followed in the other cars but where there was beige fabric on the dash you will now find a kind of camouflage colored fabric. However on the door panels a dark brown shade of fabric is used. This contrasting color scheme is something I found to be quite funky but wasn’t to my taste.

Fiat Avventura - Interior

The seats are quite soft but support for the legs if you are tall can be an issue. There is a bit more space on offer in both the front and rear in terms of legroom than in the Punto and also in terms of headroom. The feature list is the same as in the Punto with the exception of the High Terrain gauges which is available only with the Avventura. You get steering mounted controls, Trip meter, Aux & USB inputs for the Music system, Bluetooth ( Blue & Me from Microsoft ) with Voice recognition, Climate Control, Central Locking, etc… the list goes on quite a bit but yes this is quite a stocked car.

FIAT Avventura - High Terrain Gauges

There is a bit more boot space on offering thanks to the spare wheel being shifted and also you get ambient lighting which adds a touch of class to the whole car at night and gives a real calming atmosphere. The overall build quality of the cabin and interiors is a good but can be improved to the standards set by Volkswagen with the Polo Cross but no doubting the interior is definitely something that stays true to the theme of the whole car.

 Fiat Avventura - Rear Legroom

Engine & Driving Dynamics

Here is where you will find a bit more difference between the Punto Evo and the Avventura. The Avventura shares the same engines as the Punto Evo. The 92 BHP diesel and the 89 BHP petrol but changes have been made to the suspension and ride height of the car to make it more suitable to use off-road.

The Diesel engine being the more powerful and also having more torque than the petrol feels quicker although it does have a bit of turbo lag. But once you cross 2300 RPM it picks up speed quite well. The diesel engine is FIAT’s 1.3L Multijet engine. The engine has 92bhp to play with and this comes in @ 4000RPM and 207NM of [email protected] The Petrol is FIAT’s 1.4L Fire Unit and has a power rating of 89 BHP @6000 RPM and torque is rated at 115NM @4500RPM. The petrol engine does feel quite underpowered for this car. The Avventura is heavier than the Punto Evo for which the petrol engine felt adequate but the added weight really tells as the engine does seem to struggle to build speed when you put your foot down. The diesel is better in that regard thanks to the extra torque. The petrol Engine however is quite refined and makes a nice noise past 3000RPM. The diesel engine is not the best in terms of refinement when compared to its competitors but tops them for power and sportiness.

The Fiat Avventura has re-tuned suspension and raised ride height to serve its purpose as a compact SUV or CUV (Contemporary Urban Vehicle) as FIAT likes to call it. The new ride height is 205mm which is quite high. In fact it’s almost SUV territory. Now with this increased ride height the most obvious thing which will come to mind is that the handling of the car will have been compromised. It has but not to the extent you would imagine. The Fiat engineers have done a wonderful job in stiffening the suspension to minimize body roll but still maintain amazing ride quality. The Avventra soaks up the potholes and the bumps quite well and thanks to the SUV like ride height you won’t have to worry about the car bottoming out on any large speed breakers. This car can take the corners quite well too. There is a bit of body roll but the Avventura maintains it composure in the corners. The 16inch alloy wheels with 205/55 tires are to thank as well for that composure.

The steering is the same hydraulic unit as found in the Punto Evo. It allows the driver to place the car exactly where he wants it and is weighted beautifully. The feedback from the steering is the best in its class as well.

Areas For Improvement:

–          Interior Build Quality for Fiat cars has improved but needs to improve much more to keep pace with some of its competitors and some plastics are a bit hard.

–          The car needs more powerful engines. Its about time Fiat brought new Engines to India especially a petrol one.

Bottom Line:

The Fiat Avventura is a refreshing addition to the Crossover Segment. It’s a car built with a purpose and serves that purpose pretty well. It’s a very capable car to use for small off-road purposes and is defiantly well engineered. It should offer stiff competition to the Segment king the Ford Ecosport but like I said at the beginning. Only Time Will Tell.

Fiat Avventura – a Pre-Launch Review

I am sure there are many reasons for people to own a Ferrari car. What about the consumers who think they can’t afford one in their lifetime. The savior for them is FIAT which we call in our friend’s circles as (Ferrari In Affordable Transport), which holds major stakes in Ferrari. The awesome news is : Fiat is coming out with this fantastic sporty model, the Fiat Avventura !

Good things : Time tested 1.3 litre diesel engine, Ride and build quality, handling dynamics, Stunning Design, Stylish looks, High ground clearance

Not so good things : Resale value, Niggling issues, after sales service, spare parts availability

 

Utility Vehicles:

Sports Utility Vehicle or SUV finds big attraction with most consumers. Consumers feel that the suv size is a measure of safety since it’s larger and heavier, room for more people, carrying extra luggage, off-road purpose and their strong road presence. Driving a SUV is often associated with the idea of macho, tough and independent person. At the same time it has its drawbacks like expensive to buy, fuel guzzler, expensive to maintain, hard time in parking them in crowded places. Here comes the idea of mini-suv/compact suv/crossover, where it combines the benefits of suv and cars. This in the recent time has runaway success in India and brands like Renault duster, Ford Ecosport is perfect example. In near future Fiat India will join this club by launching its rugged outdoor styled crossover Fiat Avventura. The crossover which was unveiled at 2014 Auto Expo, Delhi.

 

Fiat India

Fiat Avventura at Auto Expo:

Specs and Features:

Fiat Avventura is based on the same platform of Fiat Punto, which will enable Fiat to share parts and components. The length of the vehicle will be within 4 meter segment to get benefits on excise duty. It will be launched in both petrol and diesel versions. Petrol versions are expected in 1.2 litre and 1.4 litre units. Diesel version is 1.3-litre multijet engine, which will deliver 93ps and 209NM of torque. It will sport the new headlight design, projector headlamps and redesigned front grille. The front grille which will also be seen in the 2014 Fiat Punto facelift. Ground clearance in Fiat Avventura is increased to 200mm and fitted with wide 225 tyres around 17 inch alloys. Spare wheel is not fitted with the hatch though it appears to be, which is fitted on a swing arm. Side profile is designed with plastic cladding on the wheel arches and door. The interior console and dashboard looks more premium with its dual tone color. The other features include steering mounted audio and call function controls, armrest for driver, rear AC vents, power windows, power steering and vanity mirrors. The safety aspects include dual airbags, engine immobilizer and Anti-locking braking system (ABS) with electronic brake distribution (EBD). Front wheels will be equipped with ventilated disc brakes and rear wheels with drum brakes. Considering the off road nature of the vehicle Fiat Avventura is fitted with roof rails, navigation system etc.

Competitor Vehicles: Ford Ecosport, Toyota Etios cross, Volkswagen cross polo

Bottom-line:

Fiat products are better in terms of technology, engine but few factors as we mentioned above has affected their sales in the past. Things have started to improve recently as Fiat India has put in strategy to increase the number of its products offerings, expanding the dealership network and increasing the spares part availability. This will help them to build their brand image in a better way. Fiat India website has made announcement that Fiat Avventura will be launched soon. Fiat has crafted it in a manner it will sure be a head turner. Fiat Avventura launch is crucial to set the path for the future launches, considering the company’s plans to bring the iconic jeep brand from Chrysler to India.

Visit Fiat India Website: http://www.fiat-india.com