Fiat's new Croma will make its way to South Africa in the final quarter of 2005 and the spacious luxury estate will be at the head of the Italian manufacturer's range of passenger cars.

Fiat's new Croma will make its way to South Africa in the final quarter of 2005 and the spacious luxury estate will be at the head of the Italian manufacturer's range of passenger cars.

Its name is derived from the Croma saloon built at the Cassino plant in Naples, Italy, where close to 450 000 units were produced between 1985 and 1994.

Giorgetto Giugiaro, the designer for the new Croma, said: "In the last 20 years, technological progress and market expectations have evolved rapidly. Compared to the three-box model of 1985, the new Croma has basically taken onboard the lessons learned with people-movers, while it maintains the image of a very comfortable saloon; in other words a comfort wagon."

Perhaps more importantly, the Croma will initially be fitted with a choice of two engines - a 108 kw 2,2-litre petrol and a 110 kW 1,9-litre Multijet turbodiesel. The petrol derivative will be offered with a choice of a five-speed manual or automatic transmission with sequential shifting. The diesel-powered model will be equipped with a six-speed manual transmission as standard equipment.

Its independent front suspension is comprised of a MacPherson layout mounted to a hydroformed steel frame, while a multilink system is fitted at the rear.

The estate will be equipped with a high level of safety and comfort features, which include ESP with integrated Hill Holder (driver assistance on hill starts), up to nine airbags, xenon headlights, automatic dual-zone climate control and an eight-speaker audio system with sub-woofer.

Pricing for the new model will be released closer to the Croma's official launch date.

Original article from Car