SUV: well targeted to get Fiat back to the
right financial tracks.
30th December 2005.
Fiat will call it Sedici.
Logical: 4x4 = 16! And sixteen in
Italian is... Sedici.
That's not all. The Italian model is
the fruit of a joint development agreement signed between Suzuki,
one of the best known names in light 4WD
vehicles, and Fiat Auto (Fiat) in April, 2003, when Fiat
Auto was still 10% owned by General Motors (*), the owner
of 20% in Suzuki
Hence, another Suzuki
version of the same compact
SUV model will bear the
name of SX4 (click here to
see the Suzuki SX4 page). Both versions (with another
one expected for Lancia) will be produced in Suzuki's
European manufacturing subsidiary, Magyar Suzuki
Corporation in Esztergom, Hungary.
The new model will be world-premiered
and market launched next February, combining the handling
features of a compact Fiat with the off-road performance
of an SUV
(Sport Utility Vehicle).
Within the Suzuki-Fiat industrial
project, the styling of the Fiat 16 has been jointly done
with Italdesign, Giorgetto Giugiaro's design Company.
The new Fiat model will be available
first in two specifications (Dynamic and Emotion) with two
power units (107 bhp 1.6 16v and 120 bhp 1.9 Multijet),
offering a good solution for versatility, good interior
space (compared to external size), fun, economy and city
as well as off-road handling maneuverability.
The Suzuki - Fiat model can be
front-wheel driven in basic versions, or all-wheel driven
in others (to be checked according to markets and
Fiat reputation for good small to medium
size cars, and Suzuki's expertise in 4WD
Fiat's first presentation of the Sedici
describes the 4x4 vehicle, with an all-terrain look, plus
a special adaptable four wheel drive - that allows
the driver the freedom of changing from a 4x2 drive
(front-wheels) to a 4x4, thus ensuring this vehicle
consumes less fuel than other off-road vehicles in the
wishes to play a leading role in the development of the
"off-roader for all". According to the Italian
car maker figures for the entire European on-road vehicle
fleet, this market segment rose from a share of 1.7% in
1992 to a current level of 6%.
Back in 1992 the segment was made up of
vehicles that were configured for out-and-out off-road
driving but the original generation of off-road vehicles
was later supplanted as a result of two events.
The first event occurred in 1994 with
the arrival of the first compact SUVs combining the
qualities of true 4x4 off-roaders with up-to-date and
original design making them suitable for city driving.
These were followed in 1997 by deluxe
off-roaders: with their wealth of equipment and extremely
generous dimensions, a better suited response for
Both subsegments, particularly the
compact SUV subsegment, are now experiencing growing
interest from the public and the scenario is changing
quickly. The size and features of the Fiat Sedici slot it
into the compact SUV category.
and tough... well, as much as cute should
Body - The versatility of the
Sedici makes it ideal for everyday use: its dimensions are
411 centimetres long, 176 centimetres wide and 162
centimetres wide with a wheelbase of 250 cm. More
specifically, the new Fiat model is 11 centimetres less
than the average length for compact SUVs (easier to
handle, particularly around town). The vehicle is also 10
centimetres lower, which is evident in its slender shape.
This makes it look more like a compact saloon and makes
for better performance, fuel consumption and emissions
(see special pages for each of the petrol
(gasoline) engine versions and the Turbo
versatility with internal flexibility.
Interior space can be changed,
thanks to the independently reclinable rear seats, and the
load compartment can be increased from 270 to 670 litres
with the rear seat fully folded.
The interior may be clad in 8
body-colours: non-metallic Red and White and the metallic
shades Black, Dark grey, Light grey, Dark green, Dark
blue, Light blue, Copper red and Sand.
Two types of fabric are available
for the seats: Striped Grey and Woven Grey, with available
two leather-trimmed options (two).
Active safety - On the active
safety front, the new vehicle braking system features
ventilated front discs with a diameter of 280 millimetres
and 220 millimetre drums at the rear.
It also offers the Electronic Stability
Program (ESP). If the car skids, the ESP cuts in to
restore directionality and ride stability. It uses sensors
to detect rotation of the car body about its vertical axis
(yaw speed), car lateral acceleration and the steering
wheel angle set by the driver (which indicates the chosen
direction). It then goes on to compare these data with
parameters generated by a computer and establishes - via a
complex mathematical model - whether the car is cornering
within its grip limits or if the front or rear is about to
skid (understeer or oversteer).
To restore the correct trajectory, it
then generates a yawing movement in the opposite direction
to the movement that gave rise to the instability by
braking the appropriate wheel (interior or exterior)
individually and reducing engine power (via the throttle).
design with clear identity.
The Electronic Stability Program is
also combined with an electronically-controlled active
differential plus ABS complemented by electric
brakeforce distributor EBD. This divides braking
action over all four wheels to prevent the rear wheels
from locking and ensures a balanced car response under all
conditions. The system adapts system operation to wheel
grip conditions and pad efficiency. It also reduces front
brake temperatures and the brake servo thrust requirement.
Passive safety - The new Sedici
offers up to 6 airbags - 2 front bags, 2 sidebags and 2
curtain-bags (the latter are an option on top-of-the-range
versions). Other standard features include front
seat-belts with pretensioner and load limiter, three-point
rear seat-belts, energy-absorbing steering wheel and
ISOFIX attachment on the rear seats.
Off-road - The Fiat
Sedici adopts an
electronically-controlled 4x4 drive that distributes
variable torque to front and rear wheels. The new
on-demand 4x4 system with central differential and 3
operating modes combines the performance of an off-roader
with the driving comfort of a road vehicle. Under normal
conditions, the Fiat Sedici system therefore behaves like
a transmission with two drive wheels (front ones) with the
benefit of lower fuel consumption and lower emission
levels. When road conditions decline and grip is lost, the
system acts as a 4x4 transmission, automatically
modulating torque distribution between the front and rear
axle to increase vehicle safety (see
special page about the four-wheel drive system).
- Two engines are offered: a 1.6 petrol and a 1.9
turbodiesel unit, both combined with five or six speed
manual gearboxes (see special page
about the engines).
and options of bigger cars
(see opposite column).
Range (Italian market) - The Sedici
Dynamic (with Turbo Diesel) and Sedici
Active (1.6 litre petrol engine) versions offer as
standard (see equipment table):
electric power steering, manual climate control system,
radio with CD player, central locking with remote control,
electric front windows, electrically-adjusted door
mirrors, adjustable-height steering wheel, split rear seat
(60/40) and pouch on the back of the passenger seat.
The vehicle is also fitted as standard
with foglights, front airbags and sidebags for driver and
passenger, ABS with EBD, Isofix fastenings, ignition key
with immobiliser, Deadlock anti-theft system (a function
that mechanically disconnects the interior and exterior
door opening pawl and handle so that it is not possible to
open the doors from inside even if the glass is broken).
The Sedici's original external
equipment includes black roof rails and 16" steel
wheels in a special design. The passenger compartment also
offers a grey striped cloth trim.
Emotion version adds a grey woven cloth, special
interior chrome trim, leather, electrically controlled
rear windows and a driver seat with manual height
adjustment to the previous package plus the Deluxe Pack
(automatic climate control system and leather-trimmed
steering wheel with radio controls).
On the outside, the Fiat Sedici Emotion
also features grey roof rails, 16" alloy wheels
(205/60 R16), metal bumper protection guards,
body-coloured door mirrors and exterior door handles.
Options available for these two
specifications include leather seats, Easy Go, radio CD
complete with pictogram navigation system, tinted rear
windows and curtain-bags (see specifications 1
/ 2 and equipment
and options pages).
GM Held 20 percent of Fiat auto from 2000, then 10 percent
before withdrawing completely from the Italian carmaker
last February, paying US$2bn to cancel the put option
which gave Fiat S.p.A. the right to force GM legally to
buy the rest of its car unit, Fiat Auto (the issue become
subject of debate, but both parties preferred to sort out
the disagreement without legal hassle, expenses and image