New Fiat Sedici in the UK

New Fiat Sedici in the UK  

on 04/05/2006

Source: Fiat

The new Fiat Sedici, which goes on sale in the UK on Saturday 22 April, is Fiat Auto’s first entry in the compact SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle) market.

In a steadily growing segment, the market share for vehicles with off-road capability has risen from 1.7% in 1992 to the current level of over 6% for the entire European fleet, and the compact SUV arena continues to attract increasing public interest.

The new Fiat Sedici – Italian for sixteen, in reference to its innovative 4x4 drivetrain – represents an intelligent evolution of the all-wheel drive genre, combining genuine off-road ability with all the versatility and practicality demanded by the modern family on the move.

Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro in conjunction with Fiat Centro Stile, the new Sedici is the end-product of a recent collaboration between Fiat Auto and Suzuki. Built at Suzuki’s advanced new Hungarian production facility, the new compact SUV made its international public debut at the recent Winter Olympic Games, held in Fiat’s home city of Turin in February.

The new Sedici, priced from £12,495 on-the-road, will be available from launch in two trim levels – Dynamic and Eleganza – and powered by a spirited 107 bhp 1.6 litre, 16 valve petrol engine mated to a five speed manual transmission. Later this year the range will be extended by the arrival of a second powerplant – Fiat’s proven 120 bhp 1.9 MultiJet turbodiesel, allied to a six-speed manual gearbox.

Successfully combining SUV off-road performance with the dynamic agility of a front-wheel drive hatchback, the Fiat Sedici is fitted with a new, on-demand 4x4 system which features an electrically controlled centre differential and three driver-selected operating modes – 2WD, AUTO and LOCK – activated by a three-way transmission control rocker-switch housed in the centre console.

Via a central, electromagnetically controlled multi-plate clutch that transfers engine torque to the wheels with the most grip, the Sedici driver can easily and quickly select a transmission configuration best suited to the most diverse of driving conditions; conventional front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive with torque automatically modulated between front and rear axles, and, at speeds up to 37 mph, full-time four-wheel drive with an ideal, 50:50 torque split between front and rear wheels.

This simple, intuitive, electronic solution does away with the need for any cumbersome and intrusive transfer box gearlevers, whilst providing optimal traction and driving safety whatever the conditions.

Within a compact design that is lower and shorter than average for SUVs in this segment, yet boasts a generous 2500 mm wheelbase, the new Fiat Sedici’s spacious, flexible cabin meets the diverse demands of today’s active family, with numerous practical storage facilities, a full-width, top-hinged tailgate, and 60:40 split/folding and reclining rear seats which may be stowed compactly to increase the flat-floor luggage compartment volume from 270 to 670 litres.

The new Fiat Sedici’s comprehensive equipment specification has been carefully considered to enhance the comfort and safety of those on board, with ABS anti-lock brakes and EBD electronic brakeforce distribution, four airbags, remote central locking, electric front windows, air conditioning and an eight speaker radio/CD player fitted as standard across the range.

This generous standard equipment package is boosted by a range of innovative, safety and comfort enhancing options such as tinted rear windows, leather upholstery, a Safety Pack incorporating full-length curtain airbags and ESP (Electronic Stability Programme), an MP3 player, a 5-disc, centre console mounted CD changer and Fiat’s unique Connect NAV+ satellite navigation system.

With innovative engineering, sharp styling and practical versatility, the new Fiat Sedici will appeal to those drivers who demand genuine all-wheel drive ability without the associated size, weight and dynamic penalties. The Sedici is expected to attract some 1000 buyers within its first 12 months on the UK market, with the Eleganza model accounting for over 80% of sales, and an equal overall split between petrol and diesel engine choice.

Styled by Giorgetto Giugiaro at Italdesign – Italy’s leading design house – in conjunction with Fiat Centro Stile, the Sedici successfully carries the hallmarks of
Fiat’s distinctive design into a new sector for the company. Responding to the increasingly diverse transportation requirements of the modern family, the Sedici combines the high driving position and off-road ability of an SUV with the versatility and practicality of a family hatchback.

"I wanted to create a compact shape that is sturdy as a whole, with side windows that are low at the front of the windscreen pillar," says Giugiaro of his work. "This gives the car a distinctive look and is also more practical as far as visibility is concerned."

Fiat’s first foray into the small SUV market, the new Sedici features a bold and distinctive face with a plunging bonnet line, muscular wings and generous, flared wheel arches. Its large grille, which instantly identifies the Sedici as the latest addition to the Fiat range, is flanked by a pair of powerful, curved headlamps that flow up and outward beneath the bonnet line. They are complemented by twin circular front fog lamps, housed low in the deep front airdam.

From the side, the Sedici features a bold, sloping waistline that accommodates large front quarterlights and generous door mirrors to further enhance all-round visibility. The waistline rises dramatically from the steeply raked, divided A pillar through to the rear lights. The blacked-out B pillar enhances this striking dynamic line and emphasises the Sedici’s generous side glazing, whilst the broad, body-coloured C pillar rises to the roofline above the rear wheel arch rather than at the absolute rear corner of the car. "This styling option makes the vehicle less of a station wagon and gives it the typical appearance of a car that is stylish but also sturdy," says Giugiaro. "You could say that it acts as a psychological roll-bar."

At the rear, bright, high-visibility tail lamp clusters flank a full width, top hinged tailgate. The Sedici’s all-wheel drive capabilities are visually underscored by its protective, metallic grey front and rear undertrays, sweeping, integral roof rails and robust, black polyurethane side cladding that flows from both front and rear bumpers to offer additional wheel arch protection.
Life on Board
The new Fiat Sedici is 1755 mm wide, 1620 mm high and 4115 mm long – 100 mm lower and 110 mm shorter than average for SUVs in this segment – with a long 2500 mm wheelbase. These dimensions combine to create a car with a compact and urban-friendly footprint, yet a spacious and generously proportioned cabin.

The combination of a raised driving position, height adjustable driver’s seat, rake-adjustable steering wheel and deep front quarterlight windows within the divided A pillar afford the driver an ergonomically ideal driving position with excellent all-round visibility for a panoramic view of the road ahead.

The new Fiat’s driver-orientated interior design features a clear, functional instrument binnacle flanked by an intelligently configured and well-appointed centre console that houses the ventilation and audio controls. Meticulous attention has been paid to the positioning of all console-based functions for optimum user clarity and minimal driver distraction.
The Sedici’s cabin features hardwearing materials which have been chosen to stand up to the daily rigours of family life, whilst enhancing the acoustic comfort of the cabin. As well as reclining individually, each section of the 60:40 split/folding rear seat may be double folded forwards into an upright stowage position behind the front seat backs, boosting the volume of the flat-floor luggage compartment from 270 to 670 litres. Numerous oddment stowage spaces throughout the new Fiat include a large, lockable, passenger side glove box and generous door bins.

Customers will have the choice of either Striped Grey or Woven Grey upholstery according to the specification level, as well as the option of black or brown leather trimmed seats. Externally, there is a choice of two solid colours, as well as eight metallic shades.

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