With affordability being the latest watchword in the small car segment, Fiat Auto South Africa is pleased to announce the arrival of the all-new Fiat Palio Vibe. Here’s a car that retains the same cheeky personality that has made the Palio Go! such a firm favourite on the local sales charts but with a little extra helping of luxury and comfort.
Positioned just above the current Go!, the new Vibe is powered by the same feisty 1.2-litre engine that sees service in a number of Fiat products and it’s conveniently available in both three- and five-door guise.
The best news of course is the price, the three-door Vibe sells for a refreshingly low R89 900, while the five-door will set you back a mere R91 900.
The new Fiat Palio Vibe is distinguished from its Go! siblings by the addition of the following equipment:
- Air conditioner
- Power steering
- Audio system featuring a radio/CD and MP3 player
- Door pockets
- Colour-coded external mirrors
- 14-inch alloy wheels shod with 175/65 R14 tyres and featuring a full-sized spare wheel
- Vibe decals on the flanks and a chrome badge on the rear
Palio II celebrated its one-year anniversary in January this year, so naturally Vibe is the recipient of this recent style refresher. Full credit for this styling coup goes to world famous Italian designer Giorgietto Giugiaro and his renowned Italdesign organisation.
Giugiaro has enjoyed a long and proud association with the Fiat brand, having played an integral part in the success of numerous models, including the Uno – a groundbreaking car that created an entirely new motoring segment when it was launched in the 1980s.
Voted the ‘Car Designer of the Century’ by an international jury, Giugiaro was an obvious choice in the restyling of these popular models in the Fiat stable.
Guided by comprehensive market research amongst existing Palio owners, Giugiaro extended his design expertise to the new Palio II platform. In the process, he created an attractive car that stands out from the crowd, yet remains comfortable, practical and lively.
The front, in particular, emphasises the car’s more appealing and modern execution. Larger rounded headlights incorporate a tapered wrap-around effect, along with a neatly scalloped lower element narrowing towards the attractive new grille, superb with its characteristic Fiat Centenary badge.
The headlights are distinguished by a small circular indicator flanked by a large dipped beam lens, with the focused stare of the inset main beam giving the car a notably more assertive look.
The front bumper adds further touches of flair to the mix, neatly following the contour of the headlamps, with the lower air intakes opting for a sporting three-element design.
Using a bold C-pillar creates a strong visual line that leads into the attractive, slightly cheeky rear of the Palio II. New tail light clusters and a more athletic design for the tailgate and rear bumper enhance the fashionable visage.
Newly designed door handles have been introduced across the range with a pull function for increased safety in the case of an accident.
Like its Palio brethren, the new Vibe features colour-coded bumpers, but is distinguished from lesser Go! models by the addition of colour-coded mirrors and 14-inch alloy wheels.
The new Vibe builds on the already ample ‘spec’ of the GO! which comes standard with tinted windows, intermittent two-speed windscreen wipers, internally adjustable external mirrors, key-operated central locking (incorporating the Fiat CODE rolling code immobiliser), heated rear window, rev counter, halogen headlights, a 12-volt power point and luggage compartment lighting. The Vibe tops up the standard menu with power steering, a stereo system with radio and MP3 player, air conditioning and front door pockets.
All Palio II models feature height-adjustable front head restraints, a third high-level brake light, rear fog lights, side impact bars in all doors, anti-submarining seats, a collapsible steering column and a full-size spare wheel.
Fiat’s Fire Prevention System (FPS) is also included as standard. This system cuts the fuel supply and the electronics of the car in the event of an accident, thereby reducing the chance of a fire breaking out on impact.
PERFORMANCE AND ECONOMY
The 1.2 eight-valve engine in the Vibe offers a good balance between drivability and economy. This 1 242 cc unit is credited with 54 kW of power at 6 000 r/min, along with 102 Nm of torque at 3 250 r/min.
This contributes to a thoroughly respectable 0-100 km/h time of 13,5 sec and a top speed of 164 km/h.
In the combined cycle the 1.2 consumes 7,8 l/100 km, with constant-speed consumption pegged at 5,9 l/100 km and 7,9 l/100 km at 90 km/h and 120 km/h respectively.
STEERING, SUSPENSION AND BRAKING
As the Vibe is kitted with power-assisted steering as standard, it incorporates a hydraulic rack and pinion system. Overall manoeuvrability is enhanced with a compact turning circle of just 10,4 m.
The suspension system for the front-wheel drive Palio II features independent MacPherson struts with lower wishbones anchored to a subframe, with additional control provided by the integrated anti-roll bar.
At the rear, a torsion beam axle is employed with longitudinal trailing arms and a stabilizer bar. Hydraulic telescopic dampers with a double-acting function complement the helical coil springs used all round.
Braking is taken care of by a hydraulically controlled dual-circuit system, using 240 mm ventilated front discs on the 1.2, and larger 257 mm versions on the 1.6 16v models.
Drum brakes are utilized at the rear with self-centering linings and automatic wear adjustment.
SERVICE AND WARRANTY
The new Fiat Palio Vibe features 20 000 km service intervals and enjoys full after-sales backing in South Africa thanks to a comprehensive parts inventory and to trained technicians at Fiat dealerships countrywide.
Fiat Auto South Africa offers Fiat owners a 24-month Manufacturer Warranty, unlimited mileage and an additional 12-month Dealer Extended Warranty or up to 100 000km in total, three years on paintwork and five years on rust anti-perforation.
As with all new Fiat models, the Vibe is covered by the AA Fleetcare roadside assistance for 12 months. The service is active 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is available by calling the dedicated toll-free number 0800 223 727.
Palio Vibe 1.2 three-door – R89 900
Palio Vibe 1.2 five-door – R91 900