A revised Fiat Idea range has just gone on sale in the UK. It features detailed styling changes, new interior trim and upholstery, comprehensive standard equipment specification upgrades, and significant performance enhancements achieved through an expanded engine and transmission range.

An attractive contender in the mini-MPV market, the versatile, practical Idea reflects Fiat Auto’s unrivalled expertise in the field of small cars. Its design provides an elevated driving position, impressive interior space, seating flexibility and class-leading storage facilities, despite exterior dimensions only marginally bigger than those of the average supermini.

Five versions of the 2006 Idea, priced from £10,295 – £13,195 on-the-road, are available, embracing three trim levels – Active, Dynamic and Eleganza – and a choice of three engines: a further refined version of the spirited FIRE 1.4 litre 16 valve 95 bhp petrol unit, and both 70 bhp and 90 bhp versions of Fiat Auto’s widely acclaimed 1.3 litre 16 valve MultiJet diesel engine – the smallest and most advanced second generation common rail direct injection turbodiesel in the world.

Dynamic and Eleganza 1.4 litre petrol versions of the latest Idea are now mated to a new 6-speed transmission, whilst both 70 bhp and 90 bhp versions of the 1.3 litre MultiJet powerplant as well as the Active 1.4 litre petrol version incorporate a 5-speed manual gearbox. Dualogic transmission, a sophisticated, clutchless, 5-speed sequential manual shift with a selectable, fully automatic mode is available as an option throughout the range.

The 2006 Fiat Idea’s improved equipment specification has been carefully considered to simplify and enhance life on board, with a stereo radio/CD player, remote central locking, driver and front passenger airbags, electric front windows, three rear headrests, Dualdrive power steering, Follow Me Home headlamps, ABS anti-lock braking and body coloured bumpers now fitted as standard across the range.

Numerous options more usually reserved for vehicles in a higher segment include parking sensors, curtain airbags (fitted as standard with Dynamic and Eleganza trim levels), ESP (including ASR, MSR and Hill Holder), a CD sound system that can play MP3 music files and a SkyDome glass sunroof occupying nearly 70% of the new Idea’s roof area (also fitted as standard to Eleganza models).

At the heart of the new Fiat Idea’s outstanding interior flexibility is a unique rear seat – set 5 mm higher than the front seats at 70 mm off the ground – combining a 40:20:40 split/folding and 60 degree reclining backrest with a 60:40 split/folding, and sliding, seat base. In conjunction with front and centre rear seats which fold forwards to form flat table tops, the system offers no less than 32 different seating configurations allied to a luggage capacity of between 320 to 1420 litres. Moreover, extensive cabin storage features no less than 27 different storage points.

Fiat Auto has equipped the 2006 Idea with class-leading levels of both passive and active safety. Allied to a chassis designed to provide exceptional torsional stiffness yet absorb impact with maximum efficiency, the Idea may be fitted with up to four airbags, whilst height adjustable front seat belts with pretensioners and load limiters, three-point rear seat belts, anti-submarining front and rear seats, and Fiat’s FPS Fire Prevention System are all fitted as standard.

The 2006 Fiat Idea also offers the full range of braking, traction control and stability systems available today: ABS anti-lock brakes complete with electronic brakeforce distribution, ASR to limit wheelspin during acceleration, MSR to modulate engine torque whilst changing down, and a sophisticated ESP to control stability through bends. Vehicles fitted with ESP also benefit from hydraulic brake assistance and a unique Hill Holder function to facilitate smooth hill starts.

Incorporating true Multi Purpose Vehicle space efficiency and flexibility practicality, the 2006 Fiat Idea offers enhanced performance, improved specification levels and exceptional comfort, combined with unrivalled safety and outstanding value for money.

Subtle yet distinctive revisions to all areas of the Idea’s compact, monobox design instantly identify it. At the front, indicator lamps are now incorporated within headlamp clusters which are, themselves, flush fitting within the nose section. A new grille is finished in chrome, rather than black, and the front bumper inserts are body coloured.

Either side, door handles and mouldings are body coloured on Dynamic and Eleganza versions, whilst the body coloured rubbing strips are highlighted by elegant chrome accents. Door pillars are finished in black to reinforce the Idea’s generous 3.6 square metres of glazing and emphasise the clean homogeny of the design. At the rear, tall, upright tail-lights flanking a practical, top hinged tailgate now feature distinctive chrome inserts.

On board, a new, lower contrast, two-tone dashboard is complemented by a high-gloss instrument binnacle and chrome highlighting to the gear lever, air vent handles and storage compartment handles. Improved upholstery is available in a range of new fabrics and colours; Red or Grey Iris fabric in Active versions, Inox Black/Bronze or Inox Black/Azure fabric in Dynamic models, and Inox Black/Azure fabric and leather or Inox Black/Steel fabric and leather in the Eleganza.

The 2006 Fiat Idea is available in a choice of 10 paint finishes, including four new colours; New Orleans Blue, Minimal grey, Digital Grey and Chorus Blue.

In a 2006 model range rationalised and restructured to provide enhanced equipment specifications and competitive pricing, five versions of the new Fiat Idea are available as follows:

1.4 16v Active 95 bhp: £10,295

1.3 16v MultiJet Active 70 bhp: £11,095

1.4 16v Dynamic 95 bhp 6-speed: £11,745

1.3 16v MultiJet Dynamic 90 bhp: £12,995

1.4 16v Eleganza 95 bhp 6-speed: £13,195