When Fiat launched the Avventura 2 years back, it set a lot of tongues wagging, for good as well as not-so-good reasons. The Avventura is based on the Punto Evo and it comes with quite a few changes that sets it a bit apart. Fiat then showcased the Urban Cross at the 2016 Auto Expo. The Urban Cross is based on the Avventura and comes with few changes. We expected Fiat to replace the Avventura with this one but the automaker is selling both the models side by side. We took the both the petrol and diesel Urban Cross out for a day to check out what they’re like.
EXTERIOR AND LOOK ;
Fiat has brought in the Urban Cross.Fiat had done a great job styling the Avventura, and it looks great as the Urban Cross as well. While the cars may look identical from the front, the Urban Cross gets a few tweaks including a slightly larger skid plate that runs across the width of the bumper leading to a slight change in profile, and the piano black finish on the grille. Styling-wise, the rest is all Avventura. What’s nice is that Fiat has kept the styling pretty uniform across all the three variants, namely Active, Dynamic and Emotion. So you get the Reindeer antler-like headlights, front and rear skid plates, massive side claddings, rear spoiler, LED tail-lights, roof rails, and even 16-inch alloys wheels on all cars. The ‘Powered by Abarth’ Emotion trim, however, gets the trademark Scorpion alloy pattern.
INTERIOR AND COMFORT ;
On the inside, there’s more to cheer. The interior isn’t the black and dull grey combination now. A mix of beige livens the cabin, the slightly-tacky off-road dials on the centre console have been given a miss, and there is a crisp-looking touchscreen infotainment system in there. You now get Bluetooth connectivity and navigation, but sadly, this screen doesn’t double up as a display for the parking camera as there is none. You still don’t get parking sensors, which for a car that costs Rs. 9.85 lakh (for the Abarth version here) is a glaring miss. The new black and beige fabric upholstery looks better and gives the cabin an airy feeling.
ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE ;
The Avventura comes with 1.4-litre petrol and 1.3-litre diesel engines. The Urban Cross has the same 1.3-litre MultiJet diesel engine but the petrol engine is where the fun lies. It comes with the 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine which also powers the Abarth Punto and Abarth Avventura. This powerplant belts out 140 horses which is brilliant for a car of this size. There is a slight amount of turbo lag but boy does the car fly once the turbo starts spooling. The engine begs to be revved all the way to 6000 RPM and the car doesn’t hesitate even once. Acceleration is scarily quick and the way this engine delivers power is way too addictive. The only downside of this engine is that the fuel indicator needle goes down as fast as the car is. The clutch is light but gear shifts are very notchy and they do rob off some fun. The clutch also feels a bit weird initially and I did stall the car a couple of times before getting a hang of it. Expect a fuel efficiency figure in single digits with the Abarth engine.
The diesel engine is very familiar as we have driven it on many cars. It is offered in the 90 HP tune which produces 209 Nm of peak torque. As you would expect, there is some turbo lag below 2000 RPM but after that there is a good surge of power till a notch above 4000 RPM. Acceleration is decently brisk and the car touches 100 km/hr in 14.27 seconds compared to the petrol model which does it in 9.22 seconds. Again, the gear shifts are very rubbery in feel and the clutch is a bit heavy on the diesel. The oil-burner is pretty frugal but due to the weight of the car, you can expect around 12-13 km/l in city traffic and around 16-17 km/l on the highways.
DRIVING DYNAMICS ;
Fiat India has continued the well-proven performance T-Jet petrol engine and the famous 1.3 L Multijet diesel in this model. The driver seat height adjuster, tilt-adjust steering, the easy-to-operate gear lever and the steering-mounted audio controls further enhance the comfort and convenience of the driver during a long drive. Superior suspension quality with McPherson struts at the front and torsion beam helical coil suspension at the rear has been designed to absorb the maximum of vibrations and road shocks, keeping occupants at comfort.
The Fiat Urban Cross petrol gets dual front airbags and ABS on the top Emotion variant which is offered only with the petrol engine. The diesel trim misses out on airbags. ABS with EBD is offered on the Dynamic trim which is the top variant for diesel. The base Active variant doesn’t come with safety features. Talking about Fiat after-sales, we all know that the company needs to really work on this aspect as rivals are far ahead.
The Urban Cross on the whole is a better-packaged product now with its more upmarket interior and added features. From the outside it could have done with a more extensive facelift though with such few Avventuras on the roads it won’t be a deal breaker. The deletion of the external spare is also a good move and it makes it lighter, which translates to better performance. And prices have dropped significantly compared to the Avventura with the diesel starting at Rs. 6.85 lakh, and this Abarth variant being cheaper by Rs. 50,000 compared to the Avventura. The question is whether this is enough to revive Fiat India’s business case.