Fiat has always manufactured driver-oriented cars, which are always fun to drive…like the Uno, Siena and Palio. The story for the car that we testing today started at the Delhi Auto Expo 2016. That is when Fiat Chrysler Automobiles India, revealed the concept of the Urban Cross.
The Urban Cross is based on the Avventura. The exterior design of this car is almost identical to the Fiat Avventura which was unveiled in the 2014 Auto Expo. The main differences being, the Fiat Urban Cross gets a tweaked-up front with new, redesigned bumpers and a premium piano finish grill, with a skid plate on the front and back for added offroad aesthetic value in brushed aluminum finish, adding a sportier look to the car. Roof rails look amazing on this car adding to its cosmetic value, while also giving room to pack extra luggage on the roof with after-market fittings that Fiat is offering. Tail lamps are almost identical to Punto Evo, the tail light module has led park and brake light.
The highlights on mostly all Fiat cars are the amazing looking alloy wheels and the Urban gets a 16-inch scorpion sting designed, diamond-cut alloy wheels that give a more aggressive and sporty look to this car. Meaty 205/55 R16 spec tyres do their job on this car. The sides come with matt black finish body cladding around the wheel arches that connect each other, with some more cladding on the running board. The doors get some extra protection in the form of thick cladding with Avventura inscribed on them. A very neat and stylish looking ABARTH with a black scorpion badge is placed just above this cladding on the rear doors. The door handles continue to be the lift-up type ones, instead of the more trendy and latest grab-type ones. The body cladding runs around the car and mates on the front and rear bumpers along with a neat, silver skid plate with Avventura inscribed on it on the rear.
The tailgate comes with a body colored spoiler. The biggest difference between the Avventura and the Urban Cross is the exclusion of the spare wheel mounted on the tail gate. This has also helped reduce around 40 odd kgs from the overall weight of the car. The Urban Cross comes with an overall ground clearance of 205mm, same as the on the Avventura that’s the highest in its class. The build quality is good and the bright red paint shade that our test car came in, felt very sporty even when it was parked. The Urban Cross looks massive in size and stands tall among the segment mainly due to its extended ground clearance.
The interiors remain identical to that on the Avventura, with the only difference being the change in the color tone. The Urban gets a dual tone dash in black and a light beige shade. Fiat has also introduced a new optional designer interiors pack, which has two-tone color combinations with two options- red over black or beige over black… giving an elegant and stylish look to the car. The dashboard has got a soft touch finish to it and piano black main ac vents on center console feel much more premium now. Fiat also has introduced a 5-inch touch-screen navigation system with Bluetooth connectivity on the Urban Cross. The touch-screen is less responsive and Navigation feels a bit sluggish and takes time to start and detect your position, due to which you may miss out on a turn. Whereas, the Bluetooth works amazing well when paired with both android and ios devices.
Climate control with rear a ac vent add a plus to design and comfort aspects and ups the value of the car. However climate control, rear ac vent, navigation, steering-mounted controls and driver and front passenger side air bags, are only equipped in emotion variant (petrol), which is the top end variant. The cabin feels much more premium due to the piano black and brushed aluminum finish around ac vents, as well as dual tone interiors. Ambient lighting is a plus, with a soft orange light strip neatly hidden on the front of the front passenger seat into the dash.
Seats on Fiat cars are one of the best in the class always, and the Urban too joins the list. Seats offer seamless comfort in the front, with the drivers seat getting height adjust and the steering too. Seating on the rear is not the best in class, but nevertheless is pretty comfortable for two passengers with good leg, head and shoulder room. The Urban Cross gets all the storage virtues found on the Punto EVO and the Avventura. The Urban Cross has an overall boot space of 280 litres.
Engine – Transmission – Drive:
The Urban Cross comes in two engine options to choose from- a 1.3MJD Diesel and the one we tested, that is powered by Fiat’s 1.4 T-jet engine, marketed as the Abarth one. This engine produces a whooping 142 PS and hits out a meaty 210 Nm of torque at 2000-4000 RPM. Start the engine and you notice a distinct humming roar. On the move, the engine feels pretty quick after 1800 RPM, and you hear a bassy exhaust note after crossing 3000 RPM, which makes you feel like yes… this car has got that Fiat DNA! It also feels a lot sportier to drive with abundant power available at all speeds. However, the clutch has a lot of play, which takes time to get used to, while the steering feels a bit light-weight on corners and high speeds. Also, the gear stick has a play to it, which feels quite odd.
Acceleration is extremely quick and the engine loves to be revved hard and redlined. Driving the T-Jet can get on to you and this engine makes you it’s fan very quickly. The only things that can stand against this lovely engine is the fuel efficiency, which the company claims as 17.1 kmpl, but you can expect around 9-10kmpl in the real world driving conditions, if you are in the all go mode. As with all Fiat cars, the drive quality is amazing, the suspension setup is just perfect, and the driver feels totally involved driving this sweet crossover. The broad and large 16-inch tyres help things further by offering a good amount of grip and also in soaking up the bumps and adulations.
Body roll is evident to an extent due to the increased ground clearance. The Urban Cross gets an all disc brake system. The braking is amazing and very sharp. In fact, you need to get used to this very sharp braking. On the safety front, the Fiat Urban Cross petrol, comes with dual front airbags and ABS on the top Emotion variant that we tested. The only grouse is the not-so-great after sales that Fiat is working on to improve, and we should be seeing an all new after sales experience as we pen this story.
We also drove the 90 HP Urban Cross Dynamic, the diesel variant, powered by Fiat’s legendary turbocharged 1.3 multijet diesel motor. Here’s more on that one. This engine needs no introduction. It is perfectly tuned for this size of a car, initially it feels a bit sluggish, but after 1750 RPM the turbo kicks in and you start enjoying the real thrill of 1.3 MultiJet diesels. This engine drives the Diesel Urban fantastically; we did some spins across some hilly stretches too, and the car impressed us a lot. In the diesel variant, you miss the scorpion alloys and the Abarth-powered engine. This car is really fun to drive in the 2nd & 3rd gear.
Even on tight corners, this car doesn’t lose grip and sticks to the road like a leech. Suspension is set on the harder side and this helps in enhancing the drive pleasure. The drive quality is excellent and in fact, is one of the best in the segment. Except for the initial lag, the 1.3MJD engine is one of the finest that the segment has. There are lots of differences in interiors as well as on safety features on the Urban Diesel,as compared to the Petrol. Climate control, airbags and rear ac vents are discarded from the diesel dynamic variant model, while the Urban Petrol that we drove had them all. A manual rotary knob AC unit makes its way on this one, driver’s side airbag is standard and the rear AC vents are missed too.
To sum it up, the Fiat Urban Cross T-Jet Petrol is a total enthusiast’s car. It comes with a superbly capable Turbocharged petrol engine that will light up the eyes of any car lover. Lots of missing features have been added to the Urban that weren’t found on the other models. The Diesel version does lack a few features from the equipment list, but the 1.3 MJD engine and the unmatched drive quality, swings the ball in its favor. To top it up, the Urban gets more ground clearance on it as compared to other crossovers in the segment that are more or less body-kitted versions. And lastly, if you happen to be a Fiat fan, then there always is that emotional attach that will pull you to the brand.
Fiat Urban Cross Photo Gallery: