The Fiat Group’s main attraction at this year’s Geneva show isn’t a car at all. Towering over everything else on the stand – in the hall, even – is a house-sized replica of the Fiat 500 supermini, complete with giant-sized front seats, steering wheel and gearstick, as well as a coffee bar, a lift and and myriad TV and video screens within.
In its shadow, however, the Italian outfit hasn’t forgotten the most important ingredient of any Swiss show: must-see metal. From Lancia, there’s the hitherto-unseen Delta; from Alfa Romeo, the gorgeous 8C Spider; from Fiat there’s the squeaky-clean 500 Aria concept and the new Fiorano MPV; and from Abarth, the new Abarth 500
The new Delta compact hatchback, from Fiat’s re-enlivened Lancia brand, was one of the biggest draws in the hall. Everyone was interested in slamming its doors, poking fingers into its nooks and crannies, and finding out exactly how upmarket it really looks and feels. Most of them left looking impressed.
Exhibited were three Deltas, one in black, the others in Lancia’s trademark white with black pillars and roof. All three looked stylish and eye-catching, with shapely headlights, a shield grille, some expensive-looking brightwork and a signature ‘D’ shape in the B-pillar.Inside the Delta feels plush, rich of materials and well screwed together, although all three of the cars exhibited had expensive looking leather and leather-suede upholstery, which are unlikely to come on cheaper models. The ambience is airy, stylish – closer to that of Alfa Romeo than Fiat products. And, thanks to the car’s generous 4.4-metre length, there’s as much legroom in the rear as you’ll find in a 159 too, even if head- and shoulder room is tighter.
It was a quiet Geneva show for the Fiat brand in particular, which is still basking in the glow of its runaway-success 500. Still, there were two debuts on the stand: a concept car called the 500 Aria, and a new mini-MPV called the Fiorino.