Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Fiat's Frugal Emissions Buster; Full Chat

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Fiat's Frugal Emissions Buster; Full Chat

Article excerpt

Byline: Steve Orme

REMIND me again, why do we have to save the planet? Because our grandchildren may consider Britain's premier beach resort to be Ben Nevis? To secure the stage career of Happy Feet? Or is it a delicious taxation opportunity too good to miss? Whatever, the motor industry has embraced carbon reduction with gusto, driving up MPG to the point where lean burn technology from the 90s looked positively Mr Creosote.

And such is the great petrol price rip-off that's probably just as well or ordinary families would be reduced to boiling their shoes for soup. We expect cars to be so frugal that if you leave home on a Monday morning you won't have to fill up before Saigon. The question on the lips of young drivers today is what does it do to the gallon? In my formative driving years it was all about time to 60mph. Oh, and graphic equalisers even though no one knew how they worked. But thirsty? 30mpg was a benchmark which today would be laughable even among luxury cars. The downside to circumnavigating the globe on a tank of unleaded is that so many are about as appealing to drive as a herd of goats.

The assumption seems to be that if you are preoccupied with putting Opec out of big cigars you won't mind driving an interior inspired by melting down Toy Story.

Twin-pot technology is not a happening rap artist and neither is it brand new. Remember the Suzuki Whizzkid? No, thought not. Or the BMW 600, clearly excusable because German industry was just recovering from my grandfather's night time visits. Inexcusable was the Citroen Visa, your passport to slowness.

Fiat, with its 500, was one of the few makers to win hearts by reducing spark plugs.

The Italians have once more been travelling the double-barrelled highway, this time with the advantage of TwinAir turbocharging, ably demonstrated in the 85bhp, 875cc Punto. …

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