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Fiat’s world car, the Palio, has been given a styling makeover and an all-new five-speed manual gearbox across the range.Fiat’s world car, the Palio, has been given a styling makeover and an all-new five-speed manual gearbox across the range.
The makeover includes distinctive new clear-lens, twin-reflector halogen headlights, the deletion of the black moulded rubbing strips on the flanks, colour coding of the roof pillars and bumpers on the upper-range models and new wheel designs.
The Palio range has also been given a round, dark blue, wreathed Fiat Centenary badge. The new badge now graces the nose, the steering wheel boss and the wheelcaps of the new Palio, Siena and Weekend, replacing the previous diagonal four-bar, graphic logo.
An all-new five-speed manual gearbox, used throughout the model range, has given the Fiat Palio, the Siena and the Weekend variants, an efficiently smooth-shift action.
The most extensive styling enhancements have been made to the Siena four-door sedan, specifically to the rear end, which still enjoys a class-leading boot capacity. The new rear gives the car a sleeker look, with the appearance of greater length even though exterior dimensions remain the same.
Apart from the exterior changes, there has been a significant upgrade in interior trim, including the provision of full cloth trim door panels for the entry-level models.
To coincide with the new, crisp look for mid-2002, the range now consists of 11 models and has also received new model designations in some cases (the previous HL derivative now carries new ELX badging), to emphasise the higher specification levels.
The 1,6 ELX is the new top model in the Fiat Palio range of variants, replacing the previous 1,6 HL. The familiar 74 kW 16-valve 1 581cm3 four-cylinder engine now drives through the new C514 five-speed manual gearbox, which has revised internal ratios and a slightly shorter final drive ratio for greater drivability.
To incorporate the new gearbox, detail changes were also made to the firewall and engine compartment of the rigid monocoque chassis. The Palio 1,6 ELX has a top speed of 184 km/h and an optimum zero to 100 km/h time of 10,1 seconds.
“It is two years since we launched the Fiat Palio, Siena and Weekend range here in South Africa, and we felt it was time to give a refreshment, aesthetically and dynamically, to all three of the products across the range,” said Gerry Clarke, Fiat Auto South Africa’s Director for Commercial and Marketing Operations. “The most significant changes have come to the Siena, with the body changes at the rear now being visually more contemporary.
"To date, over two million of the Fiat world car models have been sold worldwide after being launched in Brazil in 1996. Of these, the two-box-shaped Palio has been the most popular, with 1,3 million units sold to customers across the globe."