Five years into its life the Brazilian-built Fiat Idea has received a comprehensive facelift to keep it relevant, including a major exterior styling makeover, the addition of the new E.torQ engines and improved technology and equipment.

Novo Fiat Idea Essence 1.6 16v E.torQ
Novo Fiat Idea Sporting 1.8 16v E.torQ
Novo Fiat Idea Adventure 1.8 16v E.torQ
Novo Fiat Idea Adventure 1.8 16v E.torQ Dualogic

Five years into its life the Brazilian-built Fiat Idea minivan has received a comprehensive facelift to keep it relevant, including a major exterior styling makeover, the addition of FPT's new E.torQ engines, and improved technology and equipment. 

The Novo Idea’s updated design, which has been developed in Brazil by the Centro Estilo Fiat [Fiat Style Center] for the Latin American market, aims to gives the model a much more sophisticated tone. At the rear in particular new LED tail lights are incorporated. The Idea thus becomes the first Brazilian market automobile to offer this technology. They accentuate the model’s strong identity, endowing it a very unique look.

The Novo Idea’s interior offers even more driving comfort, a first class finish and generous and very well-used space. With a flat back floor and three seats defined with headrests, it transports five people comfortably.

The new Novo Idea now incorporates the new family of E.torQ engines, 1.6 16V and 1.8 16V, developed by the engineering department of FPT – Powertrain Technologies. The E.torQ engine was only launched on the local market at the beginning of the month in the Brazilian-built Punto and has been rapidly rolled out in recent weeks right across the Palio model family, as well as the Doblò, on this market. Fitted with flex-fuel (runs at any mix of ethanol and gasoline) and with 16 valves, these engines aim to bring together performance, economy and low emissions and noise level, besides reliability and durability. They are manufactured at an engine plant in Campo Largo, Paraná, which, along with the engine family and IP rights, was acquired by FPT from the defunct Chrysler/BMW "Tritec" joint venture.

Now, the customer can choose from among seven versions in the new range of the Novo Idea: there are three engine configurations (Fire 1.4, E.TorQ 1.6 16V and 1.8 16V), four levels of finish (Attractive, Essence, Sporting and Adventure) and two transmissions: five-gear manual or Automatic Dualogic.

Since its launch in Brazil in 2005, the locally built Idea, which is based on the European market Grande Punto's platform, has already been a success story. With its original lines, versatility and wide interior space, it balanced the dimensions of compact vehicle with the functionalities of a passenger automobile, introducing diverse novelties to the segment. Technology was an important aspect in this formula. Skydome sunroof, brakes with ABS, airbags, hands-free with Bluetooth, rain, parking and twilight sensors, among others features impressed Brazilian customers. Besides this, the Idea was the only model of its segment to offer two Flex engine configurations.

During the following year, Fiat Automóveis leveraged the Idea's concept further to offer it in the Adventure version. The Idea Adventure was the country’s first minivan with a light off-road appeal: it combined the comfort and interior space of an urban vehicle with the style and robustness of an off-roader. This in a complete automobile, with an extensive list of standard items.

In 2008, there was another important advancement: the Idea Adventure received the locking differential, "Locker". Fiat was the first manufacturer in the world to offer a vehicle with a differential blocker in a front-wheel drive automobile. Today, the entire Adventure family is available this feature, which helps the vehicle to face difficult road conditions. One year later, the version received the Dualogic automatic transmission option, to make driving more pleasurable. Now, the mid-life evolution of the Idea arrives into the market. More elegant, with more performance and more complete, it has all attributes to pursue its course of success.

Sophisticated design

The restyled lines of the Novo Idea aim to emphasise further its personality. Its new outline was totally developed by Fiat Style Center for the Latin American markets and includes accentuated changes both at the front and at the rear, turning the model even more avant-garde, dynamic and elegant car, with a stronger spice of sportness. At the front end the bonnet, bumper and front grille are all new, leading to a more rounded and imposing appearance. The bonnet has become much sharper, with curved sections as well as defined grooves. The bumper is more prominent and robust and, at the same time, the visual element of the grille has been sharpened. What creates further attention at the front are the new dual parabola polyelliptical projector headlights, which offer better light distribution and excellent homogeneity. They have become larger and more angled, with a shape similar to that of an inclined triangle with rounded corners.

Modifications have also been carried out at the rear end of the Novo Idea. The tailgate – which features an integrated lip spoiler – and the rear window are new and they aim to blend into the model’s overall looks, with more dynamic lines and more well-defined surfaces. The rear bumper, which incorporates the vehicle’s license plate embedded, follows the shape of the front end. Harmonised with the automobile’s lines, it passes on robustness and modernity to the Novo Idea.

The new tail lights are an important novelty. They bring to the Novo Idea an innovative technology, the LED lighting system and light guides. It is the first time that a model manufactured in Brazil has featured lamps of this type. Novelty is also embedded in the aesthetic finish of the lamps which have an opaque effect. The LEDs – which respond more quickly to activation and have a useful life superior to that of conventional lamps – installed in the lamps produce a differentiated visual effect when the automobile’s position lights [parking, side/signal, brake and backup lights] are turned on and the light guides lit. They also offer low power consumption, high resistance to impacts and vibrations as well as high colour efficiency. Although it may be a design item, this technology makes viewing of the lamps by other drivers even easier. The brake light is also composed of LEDs.

The side of the Novo Idea has new skirts and chrome-plated strips that aim to give it an elegant touch. The external rearview mirrors are larger (increased by 40 percent in relation to the outgoing version) – improving visibility and, therefore, safety – and with LED lateral repeaters and light guides. The light alloy wheels and hubcaps are also new.

The Sporting and Adventure versions gain further exclusive detailing. For the Sporting version a styling package has been created resulting in a more "sports" look. It is composed of new side skirts, front and rear spoilers, tailgate spoiler and wheels, while the headlights and rear lamps receive a smoked-glass effect. The Adventure version has specific new bumpers and wheel arch mouldings, giving it a robust look. The spare wheel and tyre is exposed, covered and protected by a protector that was developed for this new Idea.

Greater comfort

The interior of the facelifted Idea has also received attention. The front seats are of a new design that make it easier for the driver to find the best driving position. The seat upholstery can be specified in leather, a central central armrest is optional and there is the possibility of adding a small table fitted to the back of the front passenger seat. The seats also gain new fabrics and improved height adjustment. With a 20 mm larger travel distance this improves the model’s ergonomics. The steering wheel, likewise, is new and more modern design.

Convenience is another important aspect of the interior. Object holders are placed in strategic locations maximise internal space in an intelligent way. Focus has been placed on the ceiling console, with four object holders and a surveillance mirror for the rear seat – an exclusive item in the segment which standard in all versions.

Another important detail is the adoption of electric locking for the baggage compartment across all versions of the Novo Idea. This improves comfort and safety, since the tailgate can be opened remotely or from inside the automobile. By merely pressing the remote control button or the door lock button on the central part of the dashboard. This resource also results in a cleaner finish for the tailgate. The Novo Idea also arrives in the showrooms with a new air conditioning system. More efficient it has a new and enhanced electric ventilator and increases flow by 38 percent.

The Attractive and Essence versions of the Novo Idea receive an instrument panel with white lighting. More modern and with better view, it incorporates the speedometer, tachometer, fuel level and water temperature indicators, a digital display with clock, odometer, on board computer and My Car Fiat. Optionally, the Essence versions can be equipped with a more comprehensive panel, which displays information from the on board B computer as well as the radio, calendar and external temperature indicator. For Novo Idea Sporting an exclusive panel has been created, with white lighting and “Sporting” inscription, which shows a complete set of information: speedometer, tachometer, fuel level and water temperature indicators, on board computers A and B, odometer, clock, radio, calendar and external temperature indicator. The Adventure versions also have a differentiated instrument panel offering similar information the that displayed on the Novo Idea Sporting's panel.

New Engines

Fiat Idea is offered with three engine configurations: Fire 1.4 8V Flex and the new E.torQ 1.6 16V and 1.8 16V, both of which are also Flex type. The 1.4 engine is the same one that equips the current Fiat Idea ELX, recognised for balancing good performance with fuel economy.

Now the new E.torQ engines offer higher efficiency, with excellent torque at low revolutions, without sacrificing consumption. They are manufactured at the most modern plant of FPT – Powertrain Technologies in Campo Largo, Paraná which was built in the late 1990s by Chrysler and BMW for a now-defunct joint venture.

FPT says the E.torQ engines, formerly from the "Tritec" family of 1.4/1.6 engines with the new 1.8 being a bored out version of the former 1.6, are now more compact and lighter. They are also environmentally friendly, work silently and with low emission levels, adapted to the most recent laws.

They are equipped with a series of technologies, some of these components include graphitized pistons; sintered, forged and fractured connecting rods; low friction rings; combustion chamber with low surface/volume ratio; drive-by-wire throttle body with contactless sensor; plastic aspiration collector and plastic cylinder head lid; distribution chain and hydraulic tappets; and a crankshaft with special microstructure and with eight counterweights.

The E.torQ 1.6 16V engine that equips the Essence versions produces 115 hp of power driving only with gasoline, and 117 hp with ethanol. Its maximum torque – 16.2 kgfm with gasoline and 16.8 kgfm with ethanol – is reached at 4,500 rpm. The 1.8 16V Flex has a power of 130 hp with gasoline and 132 hp with ethanol. The maximum torque, 18.4 kgfm (gasoline) and 18.9 kgfm (ethanol), is reached at 4,500 rpm. The torque curve of the two engines is good. At 1,500 rpm they already generate 80 percent of maximum torque; and at 2,500 rpm, 93 percent of maximum force.

More Versions

The range of Novo Idea is the most complete of the segment: It starts with the entry-level Attractive 1.4 8V before continuing through the Essence 1.6 16V, Essence 1.6 16V Dualogic, Sporting 1.8 16V, Sporting 1.8 16V Dualogic  , Adventure 1.8 16V before the final model is the Adventure 1.8 16V Dualogic.

The Novo Idea thus arrives on the Brazilian market with an updated range. The concept behind the facelift is to freshed up a five year old model and to offer more choice to Fiat customer, such that they may find a version that best suits requirements in terms of price, engine configuration, level of finish or equipment. The consumer also finds in the Novo Idea an extensive range of body finishes, with 15 colours, among them two new options: Lit Green and Opulence Red.

Novo Fiat Idea Attractive. The entry version of the new range has the same characteristics and qualities as the current ELX 1.4 version. Beside the competitive price, it offers a reasonable level of standard equipment including hydraulic steering, electric front windows, electric locks, on board computer, steering wheel and driver’s seat with height adjustment, Follow me home, three headrests for the rear seats, split rear seat, electric control for opening of rear baggage compartment, ceiling console, LED tail lights, external rearview mirrors with direction indicator lights, spoiler, front and rear reading lights and Swiss type key with remote control.

As well as the new and more efficient air conditioning system, the optional equipment of the Novo Idea Attractive also includes defroster with hot air, front airbags, brakes with ABS, two choices of radio (CD MP3 or Connect CD MP3, with Bluetooth connection to use the vehicle’s audio system in hands-free mode for cell phone calls and USB / iPOD inputs), electric external rearview mirrors, parking sensor, electric rear windows, fog lights and 15” light alloy wheels.

Novo Fiat Idea Essence. This version incorporates the new E.torQ 1.6 16V engine, coupled to a five-gear mechanical transmission or the Dualogic automatic transmission. It offers the same equipment and level of finish as the Attractive version along with a few more optional items: leather upholstered seats, armrest for the driver, foldable front passenger seat to expand space for load, front side-bags, Skydome sunroof, twilight and rain sensors, electrochromic internal rearview mirror and subwoofer.

Novo Fiat Idea Sporting. This is an new version for the Idea model range quite differentiated in terms of internal finish, external look and equipment level. The Sporting versions come with the mechanical or Dualogic transmission and have the new E.torQ 1.8 16V engine fitted under the bonnet. The Novo Idea Sporting's standard equipment items include all those present in the Attractive version, plus air conditioner, on board computer B, fog lights, radio CD with MP3, 16” light alloy wheels (including spare wheel/tyre), external rearview mirrors with electric activation and central armrest for the driver. Amongst the optional items are leather upholstered seats, foldable right front seat, front airbags, front side bags, brakes with ABS, radio Connect CD with MP3, parking, twilight and rain sensors, electrochromic internal rearview mirror, Skydome sunroof, electric rear windows, anti-theft kit for the wheels and subwoofer.

Novo Fiat Idea Adventure. With the same levels of equipment – along with front airbags, brakes with ABS and fog lights – and engine configuration as the Sporting version, this off-road capable option incorporates the familiar external and internal finishing of Fiat Automóveis' Adventure line. That is roof bars, compass and inclinometer, chrome-plated front grille with Adventure inscription, spare wheel/tyre mounted on the rear door (along with an anti-theft lock), bodywork protection panels, new wheels with all purpose tyres in size 205/70 R15, raised ride height, object holders on the baggage compartment floor and all aesthetic details that distinguish the Adventure version. For further flexibility of commercialisation, the differential block, the "Locker", becomes part of the list of optional equipment of the new Idea Adventure. The optional equipment from the Sporting versions, plus the leather covered steering wheel, is also on this list.

Factory guaranty. The new Fiat Idea has a contractual guaranty of one year regardless of the distance traveled. The vehicle owner has right to 24 hour "Confiat" assistance, which executes emergency services like, towing, mechanical aid and backup vehicle at any place in Brazil during validity of the general guarantee. Among dealers and assistance centers, there are more than five hundred Fiat assistance points all over the country.

Power/Torque Graph: E.torQ 1.6 16v / E.torQ 1.8 16v

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