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Palio goes eCo friendly

by CAR magazine on 06/07/2006

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Fiat has released details of its Palio eCo, and prices of its three- and five-door models (both under R75 000) appear to be very fair. Will the more affordable model win it favour in the ongoing budget war?

Fiat has released details of its Palio eCo, and prices of its three- and five-door models (both under R75 000) appear to be very fair. Will the more affordable model win it favour in the ongoing budget war?

The Palio has never really endeared itself to us here at CARtoday.com, and it’s expected that the eCo won’t do much to change these perceptions. However, the newest addition to the Fiat Palio range does pack a fresh surprise that may help us change our minds. Compared with the Go!, which it effectively replaces, the eCo makes a very convincing statement (based on price) over similarly-priced superminis using smaller capacity engines.

Prices are R71 900 for the three-door, and R73 900 for the five-door. Both models are powered by Fiat’s eight-valve, 1,2-litre engine that produces 54 kW at 6 000 r/min and peak torque of 102 N.m at 3 250 r/min. Top end for this model is 164 km/h, with fuel consumption on the combined cycle being 7,8 litres / 100 km.

The eCo is a culmination of two years of study between Fiat Auto SA, Wits University, and most recently Fiat Auto Brazil, exploring ways to reduce costs in the manufacturing process, and in so doing, reduce costs to the prospective vehicle owner.

Though FASA reveals that most of the changes have been effected beneath the surface, cost reducing exercises include the installation of the trim upholstery and the dropping of the key lock on the passenger door.

Standard kit on the Palio eCo includes colour-coded bumpers, key operated central locking with a rolling code immobiliser, intermittent windscreen wipers, internally adjustable external mirrors, pre-wiring for the radio and antenna fitment, a rev counter and heated rear window.

Suspension for the front-wheel drive eCo uses independent MacPherson struts up front with an integrated roll bar, and a torsion beam axle with trailing arms and a stabiliser bar at the rear.

Safety features include height-adjustable head restraints, a third high-level brake light, rear fog lamps, side impact bars, anti-submarining seats and a collapsible steering column. A full-sized spare wheel has also been included.

The eCo has 20 000 km service intervals and is covered by a 12-month manufacturer warranty (unlimited mileage), with a three-year paintwork and five-year rust anti-perforation warranty. The eCo is also covered for one year by AA Fleetcare roadside assistance.

And just in case you are as confused as we initially were, the Go! and the eCo are essentially the same car, though a Fiat Auto SA spokesman explained the name change by saying, “The eCo is being called a new model mainly because of its new price positioning. The Go! will continue to be sold until stocks of that model run out.”