By Dave Abrahams
Istanbul, Turkey - The star of the Istanbul motor show, opening today, is in fact a local product.
One doesn't usually think of Turkey as a world automotive leader, but Fiat has had a joint project going in Bursa, south of Istanbul across the Sea of Marmara, since 1968. It’s now a huge plant with an annual capacity of 400 000 vehicles, and that's where the brand-new Fiat Aegea Project sedan will be produced.
Designed at the Fiat Centro Stile in Turin, the Aegea was conceived from the outset as a sedan, rather than a hatchback with a boot tacked on - and that shows in its steeply raked C pillars, curved rear valance and a crisp swage line that runs down each side from the corner of the headlight cluster, through the centre-line of the door handles, to the wrap-around tail-lights.
At 4500mm long on a 2640mm wheelbase, 1780mm wide and 1480mm high, it's about the same size as Suzuki's new Ciaz B/C-segment sedan, with seating for five and a cavernous 510-litre boot.
BELLS AND WHISTLES
It's no third-world child either, with Fiat Chrysler's Uconnect infotainment system running on five-inch colour touch-screen as standard issue, as are Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming, SMS text reading and voice recognition, USB and auxiliary ports with iPod integration and a multi-function steering wheel, with a rear parking camera and TomTom navigation available as extra-cost options.
Sales will start in turkey in November 2015, with a choice of two petrol and two Multijet diesel engines, ranging from 70kW to 88kW and driving the front wheels through manual or automatic transmissions (depending on the engine).
Fiat is quoting particularly impressive fuel-consumption numbers for the diesel, as low as four litres per 100km. As always, we'll take that under advisement until we've driven one for at least a week.
The Aegea Project will gradually be rolled out to more than 40 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa; according to Fiat Chrysler SA's spokesman, “We are certainly looking at that model but there is no launch time yet planned…”