Fiat phased out the Punto several years ago and while the supermini wasn't replaced in Europe, a new small hatchback was launched in 2017 in South America and marketed as the Argo. In 2018, the Cronos subcompact saloon followed, and now, a crossover is joining the fray. Previously known as the Project 363, the B-segment model is being officially previewed in Brazil.
It's simply called the SuvFiat for the time being because the Stellantis brand is asking fans to choose the final name at https://suv.fiat.com.br/. You're limited to three options: Tuo, Domo, and Pulse. The name to get the most votes in the coming days will become a badge on the company's new B-segment crossover once it will go on sale in Brazil this September.
Gallery: Fiat 363 (#suvFiat)
Interestingly, Fiat says the crossover rides on a new platform dubbed "MLA" rather than using the MP1 underpinnings of the Argo and Cronos. It's unclear how related these two architectures are, but the company says MLA (no, not Jaguar Land Rover's MLA) brings more performance, robustness, and comfort. It also boosts safety and ushers in mechanical components not shared with other existing products.
Our Motor1.com colleagues from Brazil are expecting the little crossover to feature a turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine based on the Argo's 1.0 Firefly unit. It's said to have somewhere in the region of 125 bhp and just under 200 Newton-metres (147 pound-feet) of torque, delivered through a six-speed automatic transmission. The lesser versions will make do with a naturally aspirated 1.3-litre engine producing 109 bhp and 139 Nm (103 lb-ft) sent to the road via a CVT-type gearbox.
The styling takes cues from the Argo and Cronos, but with slightly more rugged accents suitable for the vehicle's crossover nature. We could honestly do without the faux exhaust tips that are sadly becoming the norm in mainstream non-performance cars, but the rest of the exterior is a good effort from Fiat's design team.
Shown here is the flagship version with a contrasting black roof and two-tone alloy wheels, not to mention full-LED headlights and a chrome bar running across the entire width of the front end. The interior hasn’t been revealed and it will be interesting to see the efforts made by Fiat to separate the crossover from its hatchback and saloon cousins.
The official premiere is slated to take place in the coming months and we're expecting the crossover to remain a Latin American affair.