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AutoRAI 1999:the new cars

Fiat & Honda

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Fiat_Multipla_front.jpg (34779 bytes)Very odd car, this Fiat Multipla. It's more or less the Italian vision on the Renault Mégane Scenic. It has two rows of three seats and it's meant for young active families. Where else than in Italy would young families need room for six?
Somehow the original and innovative idea turned into a failure. Even the efforts of Formula One ace Michael Schumacher didn't change the public opinion that this car is strange. Instead of being bought by those young and active families it is turning out to become an alternative to a minibus, giving it an utilitarian and, even worse, untrendy image.

Fiat_Multipla_side.jpg (28626 bytes)Now be honest: does it appeal to you? No doubt that it's original and modern and maybe even ahead of its time, but is it nice to look at? Does it give you a warm feeling? Are you getting excited by it? I didn't think so either.
So what's the problem? I think the design is unbalanced, it looks like a monospace design of which the nose has been pulled forward and the roof has been flattened. The small round headlights and those big black chunks of plastic bumper in front and rear don't help either. It misses the 'elegance' of the Scenic and the Xsara Picasso, two very well balanced designs. Instead it looks bulky and boxy and unattractive in comparison.

Fiat_Multipla_rear.jpg (38028 bytes)Seen from the rear the odd proportions of the car are most evident. Its width is 1.87 m and its height is 1.67 m, which make it almost van-like. The total length of the car is 3.99 m.
The Multipla can be ordered with a 1.6 litre petrol engine delivering 103 hp and a 1.9 litre turbo diesel delivering 105 hp. A methanol engine is under development, as is a version with both an electric and a petrol engine (a hybrid system).

Honda_Accord_R.jpg (25571 bytes)Another very cramped stand was that of Honda. It had two novelties for Holland: the small Logo and the HR-V four wheel drive fun car. It was impossible to get a good shot of these cars, so you'll have to do with this picture of the Accord Type "R".
Honda is trying to get rid of their dull and uncool image. They want to appeal more to a younger public and the magic word seems to be 'racing'. Not only are they entering Formula One with a totally self developed car (well, with the aid of chassis expert Dallara that is), but also they've introduced some very sporty versions of their regular cars like this Accord Type "R".
The "R" has a four cylinder 2157 cc V-TEC engine, delivering an impressive 212 hp at 7200 rpm. Top speed is 228 kph and acceleration from 0 to 100 kph is done in 7.2 seconds. According to reports its roadholding is magnificent and overall impression is better than that of a BMW M3, so that promises something. However, except for the big spoiler on the back (which is optional) the car still looks dull and uncool...

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