01.11.2007 NEW MODEL: FIAT SIENA (2008)


With its sales up by three times the rate of a climbing local market, Fiat Brazil launches the Siena (2008) with improved engines, better specification, and a distinct styling makeover.


Fiat Automóveis launches the new Siena 2008, with a fresh design developed by the Fiat Centro Stile in Italy in cooperation with the "Centro Estilo Fiat" department in Brazil incorporating the distinct ‘family’ lines and traits presented on the Grande Punto and new Palio models. Inspiration has been drawn from the larger Linea saloon, which is scheduled to be built and sold on the Brazilian market from next year. The Siena 2008 also brings with it the new Fiat logo, and will be offered in four versions: ELX 1.0 Flex, ELX 1.4 Flex, ELX 1.4 Tetrafuel and HLX 1.8 Flex, and offers new technologies including CD player with MP3, WMA, Bluetooth and USB port, alongside more powerful and economical engines.

The arrival of the Siena 2008 will heat up even further the highly competitive segment for compact saloon cars on the Brazilian market, which is the second only in terms of sales volume to the category for compact cars. This year from January to August, while sales of automobiles in Brazil increased by 26.8 percent in relation to the same period last year, the segment for the compact sedans increased by 53.8 percent while the Siena’s sales grew during this time by 78.1 percent, an increase three times that of the overall market.

The Siena 2008 is the second Fiat model to be released in Brazil to carry the new logo, following on from the Grande Punto which was launched in August. The front of the car has received a major reworking: the bumper has a completely new format incorporating spilt grille sections with chrome finishing, the headlights are new and feature a more bold profile, while the fog lights, which sit in distinct chromed housings, are standard across all versions. The sides of the Siena 2008 have a noticeable crease that runs up to the rear lights, across the doors a chrome-finished rubbing strip is a clear new feature, while external rear-view mirrors, door handles and side skirts are all colour-coded. New hubcaps and alloy wheels mount wider tyres: 185/65 R14 on the ELX version and 185/60 R15 for HLX. The rear of the car has been totally renewed by the designers with a chrome-finished detailing strip across the new, larger boot lid while the registration plate is positioned in the centre of the bumper, and new horizontally-mounted tail lights are inspired by the Alfa 159, say Fiat’s designers.

Inside the Siena 2008 features brighter new colours and patterns on the seat fabrics, while on the back seat the three headrests are each height adjustable. The dashboard has a new black lower section, and with the speedometer mounted in the centre of the instrument cluster, the tachometer on the left and the water temperature on the right. Under the tachometer, there are function lights, while under the thermometer there is a display which joins together the digital clock, ‘My Car Fiat’, trip computer and fuel gauge. The Tetrafuel version has the same dashboard but comes with a readout for the level of GNV in the cylinders.

The Siena 2008 features new engines in the range. Alongside the new 1.4-litre FIRE Flex unit that equips the Grande Punto, the new 1.0-litre FIRE Flex is more economical and has had an increase in terms of both the power output and torque. Both engines were developed by Fiat Powertrain Technologies (FPT). The new 1.0-litre FIRE Flex engine has an approximate 9 percent reduction in the level of fuel consumption in relation to the previous version, and comes with an output of 73 hp (petrol) and 75 hp (alcohol), an increase of 8hp. The new 1.4-lire FIRE Flex engine comes from the recently launched Brazilian-built version of the Grande Punto, with an output of 85 hp (petrol) and 86 hp (alcohol) an increase of 5 hp over the previous engine, and with fuel consumption 3 percent better than the last generation of the 1.4 Flex engine. The 1.4-litre Tetrafuel engine retains the same output, with 80 hp when using 100 percent petrol, 81 hp with 100 percent alcohol and 68 hp with GNV. Like the 1.4 Tetrafuel engine, the 1.8 Flex has the same previous level of output, 112 hp (petrol) and 114 hp (alcohol).

In terms of standard equipment, ELX versions have: front roof light with spotlight, rear roof light, courtesy vanity mirrors located in the sunshades, an illuminated vanity mirror on the passenger side sunshade, an illuminated and internal opening device for luggage compartment, "my car" system, follow-me-home device, Fiat Code, trip computer, internal catch to open the bonnet and fuel tank, heated rear screen glass with wash-wipe. Electric front windows with automatic function and anti-pinch device, remote central locking and power steering complete the standard equipment list. The options for the ELX versions are CD player MP3/WMA or Connect CD player MP3/WMA + live-voice with integrated Bluetooth + USB and iPod entrances, HSD (High Safety Drive) composed of airbag for driver and passenger, ABS, EBD, air conditioning + back glass Venus 55, parking sensor, electric rear side windows with anti-pinch device and electric body-coloured door mirrors.

The HLX 1.8 has the same standard equipment plus 185/60 R15 alloy wheels. The options on this version are side air bags, driver's seat with electric height adjustment, CD player MP3/WMA or Connect CD player MP3/WMA + live-voice with integrated Bluetooth + USB and iPod connectors, HSD (High Safety Drive) composed of airbag for driver and passenger, ABS, EBD, air conditioning + back lateral glass and back glass Venus 55, parking sensors, electric rear side windows with anti-pinch device, electric body-colored door mirrors and leather steering wheel.

by Claudio Perlini

© 2007 Interfuture Media/Italiaspeed