Fiat prepares new Mini MPV for 2013

The Italian manufacturer will reveal a new compact MPV at the Geneva Motor Show in March as it prepares a rival for the Vauxhall Meriva and the forthcoming Fiesta-based Ford B-Max.

The new Fiat car uses the name Ellezero but this may not be the final name for the car, which is a successor to the slow-selling Fiat Idea.

It could take up the Fiat Multipla name, a compact MPV which is based on the van of the same name in the UK.

However, the new model is expected to be more stylish and handle better than a converted van in keeping with the popularity of the likes of the Fiat 500 city car in recent years.

Despite being slightly bigger, the Ellezero bears a resemblance to the new 2012 Fiat Panda, which will be launched in the UK early this year.

The Ellezero shares the six window layout of the Fiat Panda but its front end is more in keeping with the Fiat 500.

Capable of seating five, the Fiat Ellezero will compete against the Ford B-Max when it goes on sale in 2013 and as a result Fiat is expected to dip into its award-winning engine range to improve fuel economy and ultimately reduce running costs.

This means a turbocharged TwinAir petrol engine delivering 84bhp could be used alongside MultiJet diesel engines.

This should lower CO2 emissions to below 120g/km and ensure free first year road tax in the UK for the new mini MPV.

The new Fiat MPV will be revealed at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2012 and a UK Fiat dealership launch date of 2013 is expected for a full production version.