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Fiat Shows the Pulse, a B-Segment Crossover Starting at R$ 79,990 ($14,353)
Fiat may be owing new products to its fans in Europe for quite a while. That’s not the case in Latin America, where the Italian brand has been a sales leader with a reputation for robust vehicles since it launched the Palio back in the 1990s. The company’s newest car was presented this October 20, and it is called Pulse. Here’s all you have to know about the B-segment crossover.

Fiat Shows the Pulse, a B-Segment Crossover Starting at R$ 79,990 ($14,353)

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Fiat sells in Latin America a vehicle that would be equivalent to the Punto in Europe. It is called Argo. Well, the Pulse was said to be just a Fiat Argo on high heels. The Italian carmaker would have adopted a similar strategy to that Honda elaborated with the Honda WR-V, nothing more than a Fit/Jazz with a slightly different appearance and higher ground clearance. Fiat stated that is not the case with the Pulse.

According to the company, the Argo uses the MP1 platform. It was presented in 2017 and was based on the architecture of the Fiat Punto, called SCCS. However, Fiat said COP (carry-over parts) represented only 20% of MP1. For the Pulse, Fiat would have developed another platform called MLA. The company did not inform its COP: it only said that 87% of the steel used in its body is of the high and ultra high strength kinds.

We’re not sure it makes it that different from the MP1. The wheelbase of the Pulse is very similar to that of the Argo (2.53 meters against 2.52 m, or 99.6 inches against 99.2 in). Other measures diverge more, but there’s always a feasible explanation for that.

The Argo (4 m, or 157.5 in) is shorter than the Pulse (4.10 m, or 161.4 in). That could be accomplished with bulkier bumpers, as being slightly wider can be credited to bigger rear-view mirrors and plastic cladding. The hatchback is 1.72 m (67.7 in) wide, while the crossover is 1.77 m (69.7 in) wide. Fiat did not inform the width without rear-view mirrors for its cars.

The front and rear tracks are also only marginally different: respectively, 1.49 m (58.7 in) and 1.51 m (59.5 in) on the Pulse and 1.47 m (57.9 in) and 1.50 m (59.1 in) on the Argo. The larger tracks on the crossover may explain part of the width disparity, but we are still not sold that the body is another one.

The main discrepancy in terms of dimensions comes from the luggage compartment: 300 liters (10.6 cubic feet) for the hatchback and 370 l (13.1 cubic feet) for the Pulse. That could be achieved with a thinner spare tire or even by eliminating it to make more room.

Regardless of being an Argo crossover or not, the Pulse has other elements to attract buyers. The R$ 79,990 price tag – equivalent to $14,353 at the current exchange rate – for the entry-level version was defined by the Brazilian media as “aggressive.” If the Pulse were sold in Europe, it would cost €12,345.

The Dacia Sandero Stepway costs €12,790 in Germany, but it is weaker than the Fiat crossover, presenting 74 kW (99 hp). The entry-level Pulse uses a 1.3-liter, four-cylinder engine with 78.7 kW (106 hp). The turbocharged Dacia engine has more torque, though: 170 Nm (125.4 pound-feet) against 129 Nm (95.2 lb-ft) of the naturally aspirated Fiat engine. But this more affordable option will probably sell way less than the ones with the Turbo 200 Flex engine.

This 1-liter flex mill generates 96 kW (128 hp) and 200 Nm (147.5 lb-ft). First presented in Brazil, the Pulse can use ethanol, gasoline, or any mixture of these two fuels. The maximum power is obtained with the renewable fuel, but torque is the same regardless of what the driver puts in the tank.

The turbocharged three-cylinder engine counts on MultiAir III. This evolution of Fiat’s famous hydraulically-actuated variable valve timing and variable valve lift engine technology allows the engine to breathe much better. Fiat said it could open the admission valves in the compression cycle to prevent detonation without interfering with ignition timing.

Buying this engine requires customers to pay at least R$98,990 ($17,729 or €15,278). It comes mated with a CVT made by Aisin that simulates seven gears. The only version with a manual gearbox is the most affordable one.

Although a trade agreement between Mercosur and the European Union could eventually make Fiat export the Pulse to a few European countries, it is implausible that it will ever go beyond Latin America. Products with better chances to do that would be the Fiat Strada or the Fiat Toro, especially now that the Ford Maverick is proving to be so attractive to American customers.

 
 
 
 
 

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