Redemption is a powerful motivation. It sows seeds of yearning and longing that ultimately fuelsstridesto success. This strong psychological urge infuses courageto get back up even when situations suggest otherwise. Fiat India seems to be propelled by same unyielding forceas this Italian marque is now showing progress beyond incremental improvements. Back in 2012, everyone wrote Fiat off after its unceremonious break up with Tata on joint sales venture. Many called it a day for Fiat and few were able to stomach that Fiat could actually chart its way alone. 2 years hence and Fiat has not only revvedup dealershipsbut has also got a promising product line to lure neo-Indians. New Linea, Punto Evo and nowAvventura, Fiat is pulling no punches and going all out to reclaim its lost glory. Throughits latest offering, the Avventura crossover, Fiat is aiming to seize the potential of compact SUV category. With major players like Maruti, Hyundai, Tata etc. still to knock this door, Fiat seems to have fair success chancesin this rather less-congested fight. That said,there are still formidable challengers like Eco Sport, Cross Polo and Etios Cross that Avventura has to contend with. Now whether this Fiat is good enough for task; we find out in this road test review.
Fiat India: Power of redemption
Looks can turn on potentials and it is equally capable to put them off. Fiat knows its stuff when it comes to sketching silhouettes. Each and every vehicle in its table looks like rock star and Avventura treads this ultimate-design legacy with precision.Avventura looks rugged, muscular and even a bit intimidating in its turnout. Its frontage has close resemblance with Punto Evo though that is all about the similarity. Side and profile gets Avventura a complete new perspective and presence of plentiful boisterous cues makes sure Avventura owners never complaint about femininity.
Aggressive frontage& long-stretched back headlamps
Avventura frontage is cut-paste job as this crossover has grafted nose that Fiat has taken from Punto Evo. Low-slung nose, long-swept back headlamps and matted chin are some of characteristics of Avventura. Subtle bonnet bulge and streaks on bonnet aid visual credentials though it is all-around black matte cladding that walks away with honour.
Black all-round cladding
In addition to its utilitarian value against scratches, this cladding endows Avventura with powerful, rugged and manly credentials. Strong shoulder line and roof-rails complements its butch character and so is by healthy 205 mm of ground clearance. 16” alloy wheels looks solid though they aren’t able to fill up flared arches satisfactorily.
Tail-gate mounted spare-wheel
Rear has got nice vertical LED tail-lamps though beholding that hooks is tail-gate mounted spare wheel. Unlike other crossovers, this mounting is bit different and makes original part of mechanical chassis. It’s far easy to mount-demount and not like the one whose brunt is borne by tail gate. Fiat has been successful in stacking Avventura under 4 metres though there is no cutting on comfort as 2510 mm of wheelbase and 280 litres of boot are quite enough for meeting most part of expectations.
Interiors & Space
Avventura cabin is akin to Linea and Punto Evo with similar lay-out and design scheme adopted by this crossover. Save for the chunky dials on top of centre stack, all the bits are shared with other Fiat models. Two-tone dash board has a nice, soft-touch feel to it though it lacks the airy feel of bright beige shade. Black-piano finished smart centre console houses music system and automatic climate control. Silver inserts and backlight orange lends this unique aesthetic sense that was sorely missed in previous generation of Fiat vehicles.
Dual-tone dashboard with chunky dials
Steering unit is chunky, has mounted controls though its finishing is below expected lines. Huge panel gaps marred its posture and it lacks finishing finesse. Seats are genuinely comfortable though driver’s view is not at all commanding. This coupled with availability of seat height adjustment limited only to top-model, makes the everyday driving a task for short-length frames.
A bit firm back seat
Rear bench is wide, have good thigh support and would have been perfect it Fiat had reclined it sensibly. Company has gone overboard in reclining as rear feels a bit extra-firm. AC vent addition is welcome step and though it feels too subtle to make much difference in peak summer, still its utility is sure to come handy. Boot space of 280 litres is quite satisfying and there is neat touch in terms of precisely crafted thermocoltool-
Engine & Transmission
Fiat Avventura come with two engine options; a 1.4-litre F.I.R.E petrol engine and a 1.3-litre multi-jet diesel engine. While diesel comes standard in all variants, petrol option is available in basic and middle trim. Fiat is not offering top-version of Avventura with petrol and that’s itself indicates that diesel will be de facto choice of masses. We too stick with this choice and took 1.3-litre, 4-cylinder, multi-jet turbocharged engine for a spin. In its higher state of tune, this oil-burner puts out 93 PS @ 4000 rpm and 209 Nm @ 2000 rpm.
1.3-litre Multi-Jet lacks punch
The overall nature of this engine has been intact in Avventura too and people expecting fire-crackers on performance are bound to get disappointed. Avventura suffers from turbo-lag and though city driving has become a bit relaxed, thanks to enhanced drivability of engine, highway performance is still deal breaker. Fiat seems to have worked upon input about slugging responses of Multijet engine and has retuned it. This remapping has taken away some lethargy in Avventura though out on highway the lagging ghost comes back haunting this Fiat too. There is dearth of performance and sporty positioning of Avventura exaggerates this disappointment. Engine becomes noisy towards the top-end though it can rev up beyond 4500 rpm. Overall the improvement in drivability is commendable though Avventura is way off from being called inspired performer.
Rubbery gearbox & imprecise shifts
Another peeve in engine-tranny combo is 5-speed manual transmission that Avventura package comes equipped with. This gearbox is notchy, sluggish and shaky in its entire range and operation. Shifts are marred with inefficiencies, slackness and required directional effort for precise slotting. Add to it, the poorly space foot-well and Fiat’s incompetence to address small details comes to fore. Thankfully though brakes do a good job and top-version has Air-bags and ABS as standard fitment; making Avventura quite a safe proposition for buying consideration.
Ride & Handling
Fiat Avventura holds on to Fiat’s rich legacy on ride and handling front. Though with its upped belly which is 205 mm off the ground, Avventura is not as brilliant handler as Punto Evo is, still by segment standards it is not an ordinary machine. It is fun to drive, takes corners with aplomb and surges out from every hard manoeuvre absolutely untainted. Fiat’s prowess in handling is still intact and it still knows Indian roads better than its counterparts.
Ride quality is cushioned, soaking and absorbent. Rear occupants won’t complaint about the road quality though feeling is role is evident inside during hard cornering. Large wide tyres provide a good grip though large, heavy nose tends to pitch a bit under heavy braking.
Priced between Rs 6.89 lakh and Rs 8.17 lakh, Fiat Avventura is middle rung on price ladder; stacking above Cross Polo and Etios Cross though below EcoSport in top variant price comparison. Avventura comes with handsome mileage of 14.4 km/l and 20.5 km/l for petrol and diesel respectively and fares good on value for money too. With its sassy looks, quality interiors and impeccable dynamics, Avventura ticks most of boxes right. The irritant, however, exists in terms of engine and gearbox that feels completely out of synch with modern finesses other manufacturers bring to the table. Multijet diesel engine feels underpowered and gearbox tends to irritate more often than not. So if you can bear the average heart and veins Avventura comes with, then there is no reason you shouldn’t buy this crossover. Fiat, on other hand, is having its hand full as it really needs to either retune Multijet for superior performance or work upon to get some weight off their cars that usually top the weight chart among their rivals.
Style & Substance 4/5 Ride & Handling 4/5
Interiors & Ergonomics: 3/5 Safety & Equipment 3/5
Power-Plant & Transmission 3/5 Fuel Efficiency 3.5/5
Value for Money 3/5