A rare encounter prematurely cut short. Sorry about that.
I’m aiming to keep this brief, given that it’s Sunday and I’m nominally on holiday. A two week sojourn on Spain’s Mediterranean coastline is hardly anyone’s concept of a mortifying act and let’s face it, there are plenty of other, more pleasant diversions to be found around these parts.
Consequently, it’s probably just as well that I am driven to write, because otherwise you, dear readers would stand a better than even chance of facing an empty page today. But my duty to DTW, as I trust you appreciate, is absolute.
But to the subject at hand. One of the more diverting aspects of places such as this are the areas of diversity and digression – and the automotive end of the spectrum is no different. The Southern European markets have long diverged from their Northern neighbours, although needless to say, a growing and regrettable conformity is starting to creep in.
Today’s point of focus however is one of those divergences. The Fiat Linea was a model offered in developing markets and in some Southern mainland European markets – such as this one. The Punto-based compact saloon was a joint development between Fiat Auto, Tofaş in Turkey and Fiat do Brasil. Production of the Linea ran from 2007 until last year, with assembly taking place as far afield as Betim, Bursa, Pune, and in CKD form, at Naberezhnye Chelny.
Designed by centro stile Fiat and based upon the 2005 Punto, the Linea; a Latin term denoting ‘line or stripe’, frequently applied in medical appellations, employed a stretched version of the already Grande Punto’s platform, drivetrain and chassis, with an extra 93mm in wheelbase and an additional 530mm in overall length – sadly not in the crucial ‘dash to axle’ ratio.
Intended to replace the Bravo/ Brava-based Marea in Southern European markets, the Linea was offered with normally aspirated and turbocharged 1.4 litre FIRE units and Multijet diesels in 1.4 and 1.6 litre capacities. Brazilian market Lineas were also offered with 1.9 and 1.8 litre ethanol-compatible engines.
The Linea is a car I had hitherto only viewed in photographs and as such had considered to be one of the better executed hatchback to saloon revisions. However, in three dimensions, I found it to be somewhat less convincing. The overall impressions are not bad, although the nose treatment doesn’t really harmonise satisfactorily with the rear three quarters, but specific aspects such as the aforementioned ‘prestige gap’, A-pillar/ front quarter light arrangement and rear bumper shutline appear particularly slapdash.
My efforts at photographing the car in question ran into something of a glitch when I realised I was being observed, who for all I knew may have been the car’s owner. Not a fluent speaker of Spanish (to my shame), I concluded it was perhaps more valorous to adopt the Monty Python ‘Brave Sir Robin’ approach and bugger off with the paltry photographic evidence I had, rather than having to somehow explain myself.
In the hope of obtaining a second bite at the cherry, I passed that way again, but the car had gone. And with slightly over 5000 Lineas sold in Spain from 2007 to 2011, the chances of sighting another is probably slim to non-existent.
So there you have it. Not perhaps to normal DTW standards, but I refer you to the opening paragraph. Anyway, it comes in at over 600 words – so if you really feel the urge to complain, Mr Editor Kearne is… oh, hold on, he’s on extended sabbatical as well, and I certainly won’t call it rehab if you agree not to.