03.09.2004 exclusive impression of fiat's new large AS more prototypes are spotted on the road
With the launch of Fiat's full-sized family hatchback being aimed at next year's Geneva Motor Show, we reveal an exclusive impression of the new 'Croma'.
Referred to as the ĎNew Largeí, Fiat are expected to call their new model 'Croma' after their highly popular executive saloon which was produced between 1985 and 1996.
The highly practical and well-priced newcomer, designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, is set to relaunch Fiat into the full-size segment for the first time since production of the original Croma ceased in 1996. The mid-sized Marea which was produced between 1996 and 2002 did not fulfil the role as a worthy successor, as it was ultimately a replacement for the Tempra.
One of Gianni Coda's first decisions on taking over as head of the Fiat-Lancia-LCV business unit in 2002 was to restyle the New Large. At the time, the carís styling had been undertaken by Pininfarina and was already heavily in the development stage.
In the meantime, Italdesign-Giugiaro were given the task to restyle the car, with lessons learned from the Lancia Thesis also being incorporated.
The new exterior gives the impression of a no-nonsense large executive family hatchback. It is a handsome and professional car, with its two-box five-door bodywork fitting with the latest trend in family car design. This body shape matches the practicality of an estate or wagon, whilst the style is still suitable for executive transport.
The rear end has the advantage of low-entry tailgate, most likely incorporating a separately hinging rear window. A large functional tailgate handle will feature.
The generous taillights include round elements, whilst the lenses continue a sharp horizontal crease which runs beneath the glasshouse area. Meanwhile the roof will feature an optional full-size sunroof or so-called sky window.
Large front headlights with twin projectors are the most obvious details of the front at this stage. A full-width air inlet is provided in the bumper, with mist lights (most probably optional equipment) positioned within the scoop on vertical dividers.
A key part of Fiat's snowballing revival, and since it will be their newest large car since 1985, they are keen to get this model absolutely right. In order to achieve this, technology has been drawn from Lancia's large Thesis executive saloon.
Other features will that will be adopted from the current Fiat range include the thermal glove compartment. The thermal design permits the glove compartment temperature to be controlled in order to make it either chilled or heated. By doing so, a favourite drink can be kept fresh and cool, or the baby's bottle can be kept at just the right temperature.
All of the innovations and thought that have been included on the New Large, will provide the car with class-leading comfort. Insiderís opinions suggest that this will be a competitive segment player and a worthy successor of the popular Croma.
The new car will be based on the General Motors Epsilon platform, which made its debut on the Opel Vectra and Saab 9-3.
It is in the full-size segment where the car will compete alongside the likes of the Opel Signum and Citroen C5. It is expected to debut in mid-2005, whilst much interest focuses around a longer term four-wheel-drive 'Crossover' version, which is believed to enhance the cars looks and appeal.
Prices and engines are as yet unconfirmed.