For those familiar with the pint-sized Fiat 500, the new Aegea concept is likely to seem positively huge.
The new concept vehicle, dubbed the Fiat Aegea Project, was unveiled today at the Istanbul Motor Show – an appropriate reference to the coast of Turkey where Fiat Chrysler Automobiles operates a major assembly plant.
The dimensions shouldn’t be all that surprising once you realize this is a second take on the Dodge Dart platform – itself an update of an older Fiat chassis, originally used for the Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Initial reaction suggests FCA may actually have come up with the best design of all with the Aegea.
Among other things, the Aegea replaces the familiar Dodge crosshair grille with a multi-slatted design, and opts for discrete taillamps rather than the Dart’s racetrack layout. The hood gets a nice power bulge, meanwhile.
Inside, there have been only a few modest tweaks to the Dart’s cabin layout, the Aegea even getting the American model’s Uconnect infotainment system.
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The four-door sedan provides room for up to five passengers, as well as a large trunk. There’s no word on whether a hatchback or wagon variant will follow, though those are two popular variants in European and Middle East markets.
The production version of the Aegea sedan will be offered with a mix of gasoline and diesel engines ranging from 94 to 118 horsepower and paired with either a manual or automatic gearbox.
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The project was spearheaded by Centro Stile, FCA’s Italian design center, with additional work at the Tofaş R&D center. That Aegean facility is housed right next to the Bursa assembly plant set to produce the new sedan. Run by Koc Holdings and FCA, the assembly plant produces not only Fiat products but also models for Citroen and Opel, as well.
Might we see the Fiat Aegea come to the U.S.? Probably not, unless Dodge opts for a major styling shift with the Dart. For their part, Fiat officials have said they aren’t planning to offer anything much bigger than the current 500 model for State-side buyers, at least not in passenger car trim, though they have obviously stretched the boundaries a bit with the likes of the 500L people-mover and 500X subcompact crossover-utility vehicle.
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The decision to give a few tweaks to the Dart and then rebadge it as a Fiat is in line with the broader FCA product strategy. Recent years have seen a number of U.S. models, such as the Chrysler 300, land in Europe under Fiat brand names. In particular, the ailing Lancia division has become little more than a European outlet for Chrysler. That American marque, meanwhile, is being pulled out of the U.K., its future products to be sold there under Fiat brand names.