22.11.2005 Just over a week away from its world premiere at the Bologna Motor Show, official images of the new Fiat Sedici have emerged

Just over a week away now from its scheduled 'world premiere' at the Bologna International Motor Show, official images of the new Fiat Sedici 4x4 have begun to circulate the internet this afternoon. To be built by Suzuki in Hungary, this new four-wheel-drive 'crossover' vehicle will also be badged as a Lancia next year, and will of course be sold as a Suzuki.

The Sedici (a play on the multiplication of 4x4, Sedici being Italian for 16) will boost Fiat's burgeoning four-wheel drive line-up, a fashionable market sector that the Italian carmaker was very late in arriving at. The little Panda 4x4 with its genuine off-road pretensions has proved an instant hit, while a 4x4 SUV version - styled on the early Simba prototype and called the Panda Cross - is also due to be unveiled in Bologna.

The new Sedici will be 4.11 meters long, 1.76m wide, 1.62m high and with a wheelbase of 2.5m. Clothed in aggressive, off-road bodywork styled by Italdesign-Giugiaro, the large front grille will clearly separate it from the Suzuki version. The deep grille area follows the 'family' style pioneered by the new Croma, while the small round foglamps are also very typically in Fiat's current style. Deep, protective side door, sill and wheel arch mouldings are enhanced by aluminium protection plates slung under the beefy front and rear bumpers.

Fiat Sedici
Fiat Sedici
Fiat Sedici

The new four wheel drive Fiat Sedici will be 4.11 meters long, 1.76m wide, 1.62m high, and with a wheelbase  of  2.5m

Fiat Sedici
Fiat Sedici

Just over a week away from its scheduled 'world premiere' at the Bologna International Motor Show, official images of the new Fiat Sedici have begun to circulate over the internet

Prominent roof rack bars available, a raised ride height (minimum ground clearance is 19cm) and chunky, five-spoke, 16-inch alloy wheels shod with 205/60 tyres, complete the Sedici's rugged looks. Eight external body colours will complement the vast swages of dark plastic trim finish.

Inside, the Sedici has room for five passengers and 270 litres of luggage, while once the rear seats are quickly folded away, this increases the trunk space to 670 litres. The Sedici is class-leading in terms of safety, with anti-lock braking (ABS), electronic braking force distribution (EBD), and ESP fitted. Four airbags (driver and front passenger airbags, as well as two side bags) fitted as standard, ensure that passive safety is taken into consideration, while curtain bags are an optional extra on the highest-specification versions.

Two engines will initially be made available at the launch, one petrol and one diesel. The former is a 1.6-litre unit with 107bhp on tap, producing 145Nm of torque at 4,000rpm. A top speed of 170km/h will be achieved by the petrol engined Sedici. The diesel version will be powered by Fiat's technologically-advanced, common-rail 1.9-litre JTD engine, fitted with the now-obligatory particle filter. It produces 120bhp, 280Nm (at 2,050rpm), and hits a maximum speed of 180km/h. Power will be shifted to the four wheels via an electronically controlled four wheel drive system, which comes with three optional settings. On dry surfaces the 4x4 system can be kept switched off, allowing the driver to use the Sedici in front wheel drive mode, on slippery surfaces drive to the rear axle can be activated simply at the push of a dashboard button, while the third option allows the all-wheel traction to remain permanently engaged.

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2005 Interfuture Media/Italiaspeed