Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Fiat Has Come Up with a Bright Idea

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Fiat Has Come Up with a Bright Idea

Article excerpt

Byline: By Alistair Coull

His view:

For a company as large and with as much unrivalled expertise in the field of small cars, it is surprising that Fiat has taken so long to enter the mini-MPV market.

With the new Idea, the Italian giant has gone back to its roots. Cars very rarely live up to their name, as buyers of the Mitsubishi Carisma or Kia Pride will probably testify.

The Idea could be the exception ( a really good idea and one that shows the sheer calibre of the struggling multi-national as it battles to save every euro.

It's more a large hatchback than conventional compact MPV in appearance, which is no bad thing.

The front grille is a bit boring, but everything else about the car's styling is modern and attractive. Size wise, the Idea is considerably bigger than the Punto, which is now beginning to show its age.

Inside the cabin, the Idea is one of the best Fiats ever. Two-tone door and fascia trim, combined with the dual-colour treatment on the seats, delivers a welcoming appearance that sets new standards at this price level ( from pounds 9,995 for the 1.4-litre petrol and pounds 10,895 for the 1.3-litre Multijet diesel. A pale-coloured roof lining and large glass areas make the Idea feel light and airy.

Some of the interior plastics look and feel a bit hard, but they are probably hard wearing and will stand up to the rigours of carrying small children.

The centrally-mounted instruments are clear and easy to read and I also like the useful, lidded compartments on top of the dashboard.

With 25 interior pockets, trays and bins, and rear seats that split, fold, tip and slide backwards independently so that owners can juggle boot and passenger space, the Idea really lives up to its MPV tag.

Providing enough crash safety and body strength means there is quite a high lip to lift luggage over and the seats can neither be folded away completely nor taken out. …

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