At the same time as the first official images of Progetto 327, the Brazilian-built "Novo Uno" were being flourished in the Fiat Group's 2010-2014 business plan last week, Fiat Automóveis has outlined initial details of this significant new model which has been developed and engineered in Brazil in conjunction with Turin's Fiat Centro Stile.

While the platform is based around Fiat's "Mini" architecture that underpins the 500 and Panda models, under the bonnet the Novo Uno will offer two significantly updated engines that will offer improvements in efficiency and fuel consumption, dubbed as the 1.0 Fire Evo and the 1.4 Fire Evo. Both will come in "Flex Fuel" (dual fuel) specification, allowing the use of either gasoline or alcohol in pure form or to any range of mixture, a requisite today for selling automobiles on the Brazilian market.

The Novo Uno will be offered in four specifications, all five-doors, the range kicking off with the entry-level Uno Vivace 1.0 Flex and followed by the same engine option fitted in the Uno Way 1.0 Flex, the "Way" version being a pumped-up "off road" lookalike model ("Way" is used to designate this niche more muscular version in the existing Uno model's range; this car, now called the Mille, is still built in Brazil and is the market's best-selling entry-level car). The Novo Uno range will then be topped by the 1.4 Evo engined version in the shape of the Uno Attractive 1.4 Flex and Uno Way 1.4 Flex.

The new car contains a large number of cues which make it instantly recognisable as a product of the Italian carmaker. The three cut-outs in the front fascia hark back to the grille slats in the original Panda, and the theme is repeated in the Uno badging at the rear of the car. Although the overall profile of the car is strongly reminiscent of the current European Panda, the rear takes much inspiration from the Punto Evo, particularly in the shape of the tailgate pressing, tail-lamp placement and rear bumper design. The headlamps, meanwhile, are recognisably derivative from those of the Fiorino van. Moreover, spy shots of the interior have also revealed strong family links with current Fiat products, including the ‘cyclops’ instrument pod reminiscent of the 500, and various pieces of switchgear of a similar style to those used in Fiat's Panda or Grande Punto.

© 2010 Interfuture Media/Italiaspeed