Volkswagen Nivus or Fiat Fastback?  Coupe SUV Controversy

Volkswagen Nivus or Fiat Fastback? Coupe SUV Controversy


Two SUVs with a bold design and a little “off the edge” – or rather, right angles – VW Nivus and Fiat Fastback compete alone (at least for now) in a special category. In this article, we discuss – and compare – the two rivals.

In the hotly contested segment of compact SUVs in Brazil, the VW Nivus and the Fiat Fastback stand out – and I’m sorry to say the obvious – they are different. While the others are all regular hatchbacks, they have coupe-style bodies.

Naturally, both brands have other SUVs in their pedigree, incidentally, the first of which their brands offered here in Brazil. In the case of Nivus, the “godfather” is the T-Cross (launched in 2019); in Fastback, Pulse (from 2021).

Due to their nature, the two also share the platforms of their direct relatives, mechanical bases and various parts of their bodies – such as doors, front grill and others – and almost everything in terms of interior design, panels and to finish The original, in fact, is that profile of the coupe.

Along with it, apart from being different from many and having a more sporty visual appeal, however, these two rivals have another unique and very attractive feature: a comparatively large luggage space in the trunk, and very easy access, too .

One and the other:

Mechanics and performance

In the photos in this article, we show the two top versions of these models – the Highline of Nivus and the Limited Edition of Abarth of the Fastback. On the face of it, this is a surprising difference between the two: while the VW has only one type of engine, the Fiat has two. Let’s start with that.

In the Nivus, in this version of the Highline – and in the Comfortline, the other one currently available, the engine is a 1.0 TSI (turbo) flex three cylinder, with up to 128 hp of power and 20.4 kgfm of torque, which if it does not provide sporty performance as much as desire his may suggest, it does the job even with some residuals.

In the Fastback, there is a similar option in the 1.0 GSE Turbo engine, also with three cylinders, which produces up to 130 hp of power and the same 20.4 kgfm of torque. In this configuration, the main difference is in the exchange, which is traditional automatic with six gears in VW and CVT, simulating seven in Fiat.

In general, even with a 1.0-liter engine and a CVT transmission, the Fiat shows a more aggressive and, shall we say, emotional behavior. Something that is emphasized when the beautiful red key with the scorpion on the steering wheel is pressed, the engine speed rises and the electric steering wheel dries.

In the “by Abarth” version, 1.3 out of 185 hp, then, the button promotes almost as much change as that of Dr. Jeckkill for Mr. Hyde, from a doctor to a monster, and speed up to get red pepper.

The surprising thing is that the suspension (harder) of Nivus and its great precision in handling is closer to the idea of ​​a sports car than the gentler and oscillations of the Fastback – which does not lose in stability and neutral behavior. folds.

Before going further, it is important to mention that, with the “big motor” 1.3 – the same one that equips the Toro pickup and the cousins ​​of the Jeep, Renegade, Compass and Commander – the Fastback starts today at R$ 158,490. Nivus Highline costs BRL 141,890.

For a closer comparison, the Impulse 1.0 version of the Fastback – which has almost the same equipment as the smaller series and, as we mentioned, the same performance – is worth R$ 145,490 on the automaker’s page (São Paulo prices).

With this 1.0 configuration, the Fastback has a slight advantage in acceleration, doing 0 to 100 km / h in 9.4 seconds, against 10.1 for the Nivus. The difference that grows a lot if under the hood Fiat brings the 1.3 GSE turbo flex four-cylinder engine, up to 185 hp of power and 27.5 kgfm of torque.

In this case, the Fastback has a six-speed gearbox similar to that of the Nivus and accelerates from 0 to 100 km / h in 8.1 seconds *.

But if it loses in performance, Nivus goes further in consumption: with gasoline, it runs 12.1 km / liter in the city and 14.2 km / liter on the highway. With the same fuel, the Fastback 1.0 does 11.3 km per liter in the city and 13.9 km on the highway, while the spicy Abarth 1.3 does 11.3 and 13.6 km, respectively.

all data presented are those provided by the manufacturers.

form and content

Although both are coupe SUVs, the style of our two characters is completely different. While the Nivus has a more modest look, where boldness is more sensible than compromise, the Fastback is more extravagant and, um, dedicated. And it is also 16 cm big.

That little more appears in the sense of space, a little bigger inside the Fastback, although on paper, the Nivus has a bigger wheelbase (2.57 m vs. 2.53 m) and, especially, in the capacity of trunk liters: 516 vs. 415.

The Fiat also has larger wheels – 18 inches, against the Volks’ 17 inches -, although in both models they fill the same visual space, highlighted by the black plastic rim that surrounds them in the fender housings.

Inside, the difference in styles once again shows their origin and brand. In VW, as in almost the entire line, the footprint is much smaller, with the digital instrument panel and multimedia center integrated horizontally into the dashboard, with no contrasting colors and shapes.

In the Fiat, although a little simpler, the instrument panel, also digital, has a more exciting feel. It changes color to red, for example, when the game key is pressed on the steering wheel. And the multimedia center has a floating type screen, standing out from the panel.

The “direct” approach of the Nivus, however, also translates into slightly superior ergonomics, with easier access to adjustments and more intuitive instructions. In the Fastback, the extra width of the console between the seats makes access to the belt hook more difficult, for example.

The two opponents are equal in the quality of the seats and their upholstery, both in leather, with good designs and with a great sense of contact. Cabin insulation is also fine, but the Nivus is a little quieter overall.

In terms of resources and connectivity, the VW multimedia takes advantage (and has fast responses, too), although it does not have a “resident” navigator (GPS) as a rival – which, fortunately, is good and provides traffic conditions and directions to be updated. in real time.

As for safety, the Nivus starts at the front with six airbags, compared to just four for the Fastback. Both feature today’s standard features such as traction and stability controls, hill start assist, as well as autonomous emergency braking and blind spot warning.

The duo also has automatic high beam control – which, by the way, is LED – and front lights that turn on for curves and maneuvers, as well as front and rear parking sensors and a reverse bias camera.

But, although it is the only Fiat with steering wheel-based lane departure warning, it is the only rival with an adaptive cruise control system, an electronic lock (as part of the stability system) and is able to detect – and warn about – driver fatigue.

And then?

Although they are direct competitors in the same – and small – segment, the Nivus and Fastback are very different cars. Naturally, they have an unusual combination of space (especially for luggage) and practicality with a more sporty style.

Comparing their performances, at least when Volkswagen does not launch a version of the Nivus with a more powerful engine (who knows the GTS 1.4 TSI?), the balance is in favor of the Fastback (especially the Abarth) which, although it uses more fuel, gives more sensations.

The Fiat model also has an advantage in space for passengers (a little) and cargo (a lot), with numbers that make it a rival even to compact sedans and don’t leave much nostalgia for old station wagons in this segment.

On the other hand, the 16 centimeters lower does not pay much in comfort for the passengers of the Nivus and makes it easier to drive in tighter garages. In addition, the model offers a little more in terms of safety features and is generally more precise and “easier” to drive.

Of course, choosing a car goes beyond logic and involves personal taste and the sympathy we develop with a particular model. And to find out, you have to test the candidates. But if we were to put this comparison in “points”, as seen above, the Fiat Fastback would be the winner.

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