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Fiat Urban Cross Abarth Review, First Drive – Hot-Hatch-UV

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Fiat Urban Cross Abarth is what as an enthusiast you will ever need to conquer your city streets and mountain roads

Enchanting –

  • A curvy timeless design ageing well
  • Superlative chassis, brakes, engine
  • Spacious, comfortable and performance oriented
  • Value for money

Unsatisfying –

  • Ergonomics could be better
  • Needs stickier tyres

FCA is in a situation which is good and bad at the same time. However, that doesn’t sibling companies to working on their projects in other countries and bringing them to the market to gain some momentum. In India as a car consumer, there are two primary choices as of now. Hatchbacks and SUV. Both cars do their job, one is a daily driver the other has 7-seats so you can either take a lot of people or a lot luggage and head out on those holidays. Both serve their purpose really well. Manufacturer then decided to mix them up and offer crossover and mini SUV’s. What we have today here is an ideal cocktail. Based on the Avventura model, the Urban Cross is here. It doesn’t have the hardcore cosmetic look of the Avventura but it has its physical abilities.

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A bit more ground clearance and SUV traits. However, it isn’t close to an full size SUV or a mini SUV either. Nevertheless, it is enough to meet expectations and demands of customers who exactly need something like this. To clear the bad roads, huge speed breakers, glide over the worst possible terrain or broken roads during showers every city gets. Fiat being a company with flair and passion filled up to their brims decided to add double the zing. It added a hardcore 142 PS petrol motor in the car and said here you go, this is what you ever needed, buy them all. So we decided to put it to the test, how is it? Let’s cross some Urban areas and find out!

Styling

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Design continues to be based on the Avventura for the Urban cross, which was based earlier on the Punto Evo. The car is devoid of the spare wheel at the back but gets the cladding all around which is seen over the wheel arches. There are big roof rails which do look out of place as they ungainly large, but they do add the UV flavor in the car. The sizeable ground clearance aids in the crossover look that designers tried to achieve. Overall design continues to be curvy and depicts a well built car as well for abstract reasons.

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The head and tail-lamps continue to be interesting part as they look modern and fresh and are wrap around units in horizontal and vertical respectively. The side profile with the “Powered by Abarth” badge is great addition. Along with the large and chunky with metal and glass ratio of doors and glass, it looks proportionate enough. Overall, the large hood, curves, our test car coming in bright shade of red with the Scorpion alloys makes the car stand out and depicts it packs something special under the bonnet.

Interior and Features

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Interior is high quality with the new facelifted version of the Punto Evo range. Lower half of dashboard has soft touch interior, upper half has plastics which is also of quality which is of acceptable standards. Fit-finish could have been better as you can find some rough and pointy edges around the cabin. The instrument console is loaded to the gills with the MID packing all types of fuel-efficiency parameters you would ever need. Right from the age old dials offered which look classic with the orange color used. All the parameters are used by the button on the stalk on the right side. Touch screen unit is also the same as the previously tested Linea 125 S.

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The touch screen is intuitive and works smoothly, it has a Bluetooth, AUX, USB and SD card function. Navigation is also offered but there isn’t any rear camera or parking sensors which this car deserves. There are no projector headlights or any kind of other exterior essentials that are offered with the car. Fully electric ORVM’s, steering mounted controls, adjustable steering column, seat height and seat belts are on offer. Rear bench has its own A/c Vents which are small but effective. The space in both rows is very good and width is enough as well.

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Headroom and should room can be bit tight if three full size adults make it to the back seat. However, that is also compensated by a sizeabale and practical 280 litre boot on offer. The car locking mechanism of the car continues to be quirky as there is no knob sticking out and the doors are locked with the internal lever pushed in from the driver side. Sound quality from the system is good enough.

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Glove box is large, A/C is a chiller but needs more fan speeds than conventional cars of the segment. The lights are quite good as well with good spread and illumination. Only problem continues is the steering wheel almost being in your face and seat height being on the higher side, both them needs more adjustability to make it ideal ergonomics package for enthusiast, which is a simple requirement where one needs to sit as low as possible in the car to get perfect driving position. A-Pillar also continues to block a lot of vision but side and rear vision is acceptable in the Urban Cross.

Performance

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As we say it every time we test a Fiat car. You forget all the quirks the moment you start driving. We had the special Abarth tuned engine under the hood. The 1.4 T-Jet makes 142 PS of power and 212 Nm of torque. The turbo charged motor is excellent when it comes to NVH, so good that the exhaust and intake note is a tad disappointing with the car. However, floor the throttle in first two gears and the car is all over the place thanks to massive torque steer. Shift into higher gear and the car will pick up speed from highest gear even if the RPM is at its lowest point. The torque and old-school 5-speed gear ratios means mid range and top-end power is easily squeeze-able. Go to your nearest highway and reaching 180 km/hr is no problem whatsoever. As as result driveability is excellent and performance also is downright splendid.

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Gearbox continues to notchy and does not have specific gates to make things easier for drivers either. You have so much torque on demand that you never realize which gear you are in. Clutch is also long travel and minutely heavy which gets time getting used to. Our road test numbers reveal 9.1 seconds to 100 km/hr and fuel-efficiency of 9.3 km/l. For the first time, the numbers end up matching in hatch back testing. It is already the most exciting hatchbacks of our time and there is proof in every aspect of driving and living with it. Despite the fact, that the car still could have been better, the little quirks add zing to the package.

Dynamics

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With all that power, the chassis has been tuned mildly in the Urban Cross. The suspension is raised in this one and hence there is a bit of body roll witnessed. The steering is precise and light and weighs up well, but we expect the Punto Evo Abarth would be better at all of this by a good margin. The large 16-inch Scorpion wheels along with all disc brakes all around make it stop on the dime no matter what speeds you are doing. You always have ABS and EBD on the car as standard too.

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With the car what we noticed is, even after getting air pressure right, a high amount of pitch was present. As speeds increased it was rock solid as always, but a change of direction showcased a lot of pitching from the suspension. This could because of the high ground clearance on offer with the Urban Cross. This is also the reason why you do not need to worry about large speed breakers, going over broken patches or go carefully on your way to the farm house which is 200 meters of off-roading. Tyres are also not that sticky as this power house needs the stickiest tyres possible. We recommend you do that the Punto Evo Abarth.

Urban Cross Abarth Review, Verdict

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Urban Cross may be the oldest car running car platform here with the updates that came very late to appeal to the mass market. However, this time with the mass market appeal it has a sense of humor along with it. The substantial amount of performance from a hatchback, the ability to tackle bad and beaten roads to an extent and the timeless design which is still full of flair and grabs attention in one way or the other. All of this makes it the ideal car for the enthusiast who is all logic and yet listens to the heart. There has never been a combination of performance and practicality at this price for our conditions and there is still a lot of time to match this kind of combination by anyone in the automotive scene.

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Ex-showroom Delhi Price Rs 9.85 lakh Emotion tri

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Urban Cross Abarth Review
  • Design
  • Performance
  • Dynamics
  • Value
  • Interior
  • Feature
  • Space
4.6

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