Fiat Argo Revealed Completely
The Fiat Argo seems to fulfil most of the shortcomings of the Punto, while inheriting all its desirable traits!
Fiat has taken the wraps off Punto’s successor, the Argo. For now, the new hatchback has been confirmed for the Brazilian market and is likely to replace the Punto globally. Let us see what the Argo packs and what features could make to India.
The Argo is conceptualised by Fiat’s Latin American division, unlike the Punto which was styled by legendary Italian designer, Giorgetto Giugiaro. That’s one of the prime reasons the latter remained in production for over a decade.
̆Both cars look completely different from each other. The Argo looks aggressive and edgier, while the Punto drips of Italian flair with a Maserati-esque face (not post the India-spec facelift).
The Argo adopts Fiat’s latest grille design with 3D elements, which is by flanked by swept-back double-barrel headlamps. The headlamps feature LED lighting and daytime running lights. The hood looks bold and muscular with all its creases and humps.
The front bumper has muscular sides and its lower grille engulfs the circular fog lamps. Further, the bumper also features a highlighting strip that runs across its width.
At the sides, the window line sweeps upward and there’s a thick character line running across its length. Multiple alloy wheels are offered, including a diamond-cut option.
The big wing at the rear makes the Argo looks less rear-heavy. A gigantic Fiat logo is flanked by split wrap-around, C-shaped LED tail lamps. The licence plate sits on the rear bumper and the performance-oriented version gets a meaty diffuser (check out the image below).
Interior and Features
The cabin of the Argo looks upmarket with its minimalistic yet sporty layout. The floating touchscreen infotainment unit will catch your attention in the first place. It comes with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ 7-inch HD infotainment unit with capacitive touch and support for both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The Argo’s dash has the outgoing Punto-like contrasting middle layer, which houses three circular AC vents, very Mercedes-like! Below the vents are placed the aero-inspired switchgear. Further down is its automatic climate control unit and the central tunnel offers twin cupholders and connectivity ports.
The top of the dashboard features a textured layer, which extends to the door trims as well. Notice the side AC vents are angled towards the occupants. The steering of the Argo can be adjusted for both height and reach and the foot well doesn’t appear cramped like the Punto's.
The twin-pod instrument cluster gets a Punto EVO-like cowl. Fiat offers a standard 3.5-inch multicolour TFT MID screen, while class-leading 7-inch screen with personalisation settings is optional (check out the images below).
The outside rear-view mirrors come with a 'tilt down' function (automatically adjusts to the lowest position) whenever reverse gear is activated, to aid reverse manoeuvres and parking. The ORVMs also have puddle lamps, which are activated as soon as the doors are unlocked.
At the rear, the Argo passengers get circular headrests that are reminiscent of the Fiat 500 and there's one for the middle passenger as well. Boot space is rated at 300 litres, which is 20 litres more than the Fiat Punto EVO’s 280 litres.
As for the safety features, the Brazilian-spec Argo is equipped with six airbags, ESC (electronic stability control), TC (traction control) and hill hold assist.
Fiat has not divulged much into the technical specifications of the Argo, but highlights that its torsional stiffness has gone up by 7 per cent, while flexural stiffness has been increased by 8 per cent as opposed to the Fiat Punto. The Punto has already been acclaimed for its ride and handling and the updates promise to make the package even better.
In Brazil, the Argo will come with three engines – 1.0-litre (78PS/106Nm), 1.3-litre (110PS/139Nm) Firefly petrol engines and 1.8-litre E.torQ Evo VIS (140PS/189Nm) – and transmission options – 5-speed manual and automated manual transmission along with a 6-speed automatic.
(In Picture: Fiat Argo's 5-Speed AMT)
We hope the new 1.3-litre petrol motor makes it here, but chances are Fiat India will go with the 1.3 MultiJet diesel (maybe MJD II) and the newly introduced 1.4 MultiAir turbo petrol (coming with the Jeep Compass) options for the Argo. Also, Fiat is likely to offer its 5-speed AMT (Gear Smart Ride) transmission in the country, which is operated through buttons just like in the Abarth 595 Competizione.
Indian debut and Mopar
The Argo seems like an apt replacement for the Punto EVO in India. Though the latter received a thorough facelift in 2014 and a new performance-oriented version (Abarth Punto) and even crossover avatars (Avventura/ Urban Cross) afterwards, the Punto’s sales numbers are nothing to speak of.
As FCA is busy establishing the Jeep brand in the country, the Argo is likely to be launched here by 2019. It might have its public debut at the 2018 Indian Auto Expo. Hope for the best!
Fiat will offer a limited-run Mopar edition of the Argo in Brazil, factory-customised by FCA’s famed Mopar (MOtor PARts) parts, service and customer care group.
Mopar will also be introduced in India this year and it was first showcased at the 2016 Indian Auto Expo with a custom Jeep Wrangler.
Only 1000 units of the Argo's Mopar edition will be available, that too only in the ‘Portofino’ blue colour (check out the images).