At the recent Istanbul Motor Show in Turkey, Fiat unveiled a new model that aims to conquer 40 countries. The first thing that catches your eye is the smooth appearance of the car, which finally moved away from the design, created on the principle of "to be". And upon closer examination, the car attracts more and more and more and more clearly arouses a desire that among the 40 aforementioned countries, Russia should be accidentally found.
Everything seen is all the more pleasantly surprising that the memories are still fresh impressions (more precisely, their absence) about those models that preceded the novelty. Fiat is, to put it mildly, not a newcomer to the Russian market; it has made several attempts to gain a foothold here and take some share of sales.
But what did he do it with?
Fiat Linea: the blue whale
The predecessor of the Aegea, which will finally retire with the release of a new model, seems to have been drawn back in 2007 according to the recipe for "everything and more. " Chubby sides, puffy stern and front end, large rounded headlights and taillights, a large radiator grille, large mirrors on a thick "leg" - there are simply no small details, the only exception is the door handles, the movable part of which is much smaller than the general outlined shape.
At the same time, it is absolutely impossible to find at least some stylistic device or detail of the exterior that can catch the eye. And the general external massiveness in combination with the rather popular blue color evokes only those associations that are voiced in the subtitle.
In reality, the car was not as big as it seemed, having 4,560 millimeters from bumper to bumper and being a C-class.
A spacious interior, a large trunk for 500 liters ... However, the positioning of the car was somewhat different than that of other "classmates": the sedan was built on a stretched platform from Fiat Grande Punto, and with a bias towards budget and implementation not somewhere, but in emerging markets - the Italians themselves have not seen this model.
Hence the features that did not allow Linea to fully compete in the class: hard plastic in the cabin, inexpressive driving habits and general inexpressiveness both inside and outside.
The basic equipment, despite the positioning and ambitions, was even deprived of an air conditioner: an option, if you want coolness, pay money. All this, among other things, was complemented by "not German" quality and "not Chinese" price, which was not too low. Well, what kind of competition is there?
Of course, there were pluses, though all of them were relevant for us, Russians: the range of motors included an economical "diesel", which was not successfully offered by us, but the warranty was two years without any mileage limitation (as, by the way, it is now). The car's suspension was tuned for a not very dynamic, but a comfortable ride: there was not much to complain about both in terms of energy intensity and softness.
Inside, one could not deny oneself the convenience of sitting on the seats: there was enough space both in the front and in the back.
But all these positive moments could not give the "mid-size Fiat" a chance for successful sales - the model did not become a bestseller. The assembly, established in Russia, at the plant in Naberezhnye Chelny, could not help either. "Citizen of the World", which is also produced in Turkey, Brazil, China and India, has not received a permanent residence permit and a warm welcome with us. Is it worth it to regret it? Hardly.
Fiat Albea: nothing personal, and indeed nothing at all
But the Linea was not the most boring and dull Fiat car in Russia, because the competition in this was another, more compact, Albea sedan.
This is where the triumph of utilitarianism reached its climax: here it is simply indecent to talk about design, technology and innovation.
The car was based on the Palio hatchback platform, which, as it is already clear, was also focused on emerging markets and did not shine with beauty or anything else. The beginning of its production goes back even further - to 1996, when the first generation of the budget model was presented.
Since then, he managed to exchange several restyling and facelifts and receive several names: in China he remained known as Siena, and in addition, it was continued in the form of Perla models and the local Zotye Z200. But in Russia it remained not only with one name, but also with one engine: an aspirated 1.
4-liter volume and a capacity of 77 "horses" - you can't drive it. The car's interior was just as unassuming: a triumph of hard plastic, boring shapes and suboptimal ergonomics.
And do not blame the fact that Albea performed in a completely different "weight category", having dimensions of 4210x1703x1489 millimeters (length, width and height, respectively ) - yes, this is the kingdom of budget class B sedans, but let me, why then the Italian (and in fact Turkish) sedan was significantly more expensive than the same Logan, having nothing in return?
The basic equipment was very ascetic - only an amplifier steering wheel and driver's airbag, air conditioning could only be obtained in the following equipment version. And SKD from Turkish components did not contribute much to the cost reduction.
All of the above could somehow be forgiven in 2007, when Renaut Logan and Hyundai Accent could be added to Albea's competitors, which were also not an example of design and hi-tech.
However, when players like Solaris loomed on the horizon, it became finally clear that selling a model from the mid-nineties was already simply indecent, and in 2021 local production of the small sedan was curtailed. Let's ask the same question and get the same answer: is it worth regretting? Hmm. ..
And then I go out, all in white .
In the background All this gloom, the appearance of a new Fiat model, and even aimed at the compact segment, could not cause unequivocal joy. And so it seemed, probably, to almost everyone, until the world was shown the sedan Aegea. And such a successor was worth the wait!
It's no secret that design plays a much more important role in car choice these days than before.
If in 2007 the purchase of Renault Logan was a deliberate step, taking into account its cost, now it is becoming more and more difficult to attract a buyer: give him mother-of-pearl buttons.
And here you are, get a new sedan, albeit built on the same Small Platform, developed jointly with GM, on which the outgoing Linea is based: this "cart" is considered quite promising, and although the Fiat Grande Punto was built on it back in 2005, it continues to be used and developed. So, such cars as O84el Adam, new O86el Corsa and Alfa Romeo MiTo are designed on it, and Fiat 500L and Jee91 Renegade are based on its "wide" Small Wide version, and this already says a lot.
Undoubtedly, the main thing that pleases the new Aegea after many years with Albea and Linea is her appearance. It doesn't matter that if you want, you can draw stylistic parallels, noting that it looks like a Dodge Dart in the front, and in the back it has something in common with the O99el Insignia - firstly, these are by no means the worst comparisons, and secondly, here the design is worked out with with much greater care and attention and does not cause either a feeling of secondaryness, or a desire (but rather, an opportunity) to find fault with some obviously unsuccessful decision.
Moreover, the front of the new Fiat, if you will, even has something "muscular" in its appearance, which sends us through Dart to its relative Challenger.
Finally, look at the prominent line running through the bonnet and dashingly into the roof of the car - a bold decision that is uniquely interesting and unexpected for a compact Fiat. All this is supported by expressive embossing along the edges of the bonnet and a well-defined side line and harmoniously ends with a slightly raised edge of the trunk, in the manner of a duck's tail. This really can be called the phrase "Italian design".
By the way, even though current budget sedans like Skoda Rapid or Peugeot are predicted to be Aegea's competitors 301, and, accordingly, Hyundai Accent (aka Solaris) and Kia Rio, in length it did not quite reach, for example, Ford Focus: only 3.
5 centimeters of "shortage". The declared trunk volume also remained at the level - "over 510 liters", according to the statement of Fiat itself. All this combined allows us to hope for good roominess and comfort when moving.
Inside, everything is also very pleasant and modern: a chubby "steering wheel" with a neat hub and a scattering of buttons, devices that no longer evoke longing for the nineties, a front panel with a design claim and a small five-inch touch screen, which can be like multimedia center and navigator.
Bluetooth, AUX with USB, climate control and a rear view camera are declared - in a word, those options that have long been available on many other models in the class.
Security issues (crash test results and the number of airbags) have not yet been voiced, and there has been no talk of other options and configuration lists, but there is still enough time before the launch to talk about it.
But it was told about the line of planned power units: two gasoline and two diesel (Multijet II family) engines that will be paired with both manual and automatic transmissions (the number of stages, as well as the engine specifications, are still in question). The declared engine power is from 95 to 120 horsepower, which indicates a bias towards economy, which is confirmed by the fuel consumption figures for diesel engines - about 4 liters per hundred. It all sounds good, the only question is how it will go, but test drives will have to wait.
Wait, and a lot - the launch is scheduled for November, and by that time a lot should have changed, starting with the degree of readiness of the product line (the sedan should become only the first representative of the new family , which will be replenished with a hatchback and a station wagon) and even ending with the name of the model itself.
Therefore, looking into the future with interest, we would like to wish two things: that sales do not bypass our country, and that Aegeus, as in Greek mythology, does not rush into the sea, seeing the black sails of sales.