Fiat unveils new saloon and hot Panda | CAR Magazine

Fiat unveils new saloon and hot Panda

Published: 20 October 2006 Updated: 26 January 2015

Fiat has revealed two new cars: a sleek saloon to take on the four-door Focus and a flagship Panda.

The Linea is a new 4.6m-long saloon, a size pegged between the Focus and current Mondeo. Its generous wheelbase, only 150mm shorter than a Mondeo’s, should guarantee decent legroom for rear passengers.

A big boot can accommodate 500 litres of luggage. Despite its size and upmarket look, the Linea will be pitched against C-segment saloons such as the Focus and Megane. It’s spun off the Grande Punto’s platform, with a half metre stretch from the extended wheelbase and additional boot. The Linea is not currently planned for UK sale; instead the Turkish built car will head for markets such as China and South Africa, although some southern European markets will take the saloon.

Fiat has also announced the Punto 100HP, which hits UK showrooms in December and will cost £9995. Engineers have fettled the chassis with a stiffer suspension and disc brakes front and rear. The souped up shopping trolley is named after its power output – a handy 25bhp more than the next pokiest Panda. Power comes from a 1.4-litre naturally aspirated four, sending its power to the front wheels via a six-speed manual ‘box. This Panda can complete the 0-62mph dash in under 10sec, and touch 115mph. There’s even a ‘sport’ button, which heightens steering and throttle response when pressed.

Hot hatch styling tweaks include pumped up wheelarches, deeper side skirts and a chrome tailpipe. The door handles and wing mirrors are also body coloured, while the Panda 100HP rolls on 15inch alloys. Inside, the warm hatch gets leather steering wheel and gear knob, climate control and height adjustable driving seat – so at least you can pretend you’re sitting in a low slung racer.

By Phil McNamara

Group editor, CAR magazine