The FIAT brand has been on fire in the South American market, with products like the Strada subcompact pickup, Toro compact pickup, and Argo subcompact hatchback. Now, the LATAM part of the Italian marque is about to release another hit with the Fiat Pulse subcompact crossover SUV. The Pulse is the brand’s first SUV fully created, developed, and produced at the Betim Automotive Pole (MG). It also allows FIAT to compete in the B-SUV segment, one of the fastest-growing segments in South America.
Starting with a blank sheet and listening carefully to its consumer basis, the Pulse was designed to express an attractive, modern design, highlightening robustness, and technological elements at any angle. The Pulse looks like a lifted, more aggressive, and taller hatchback. Its wide front grille features the FIAT brand’s new logo script with the “FIAT Flag” in the lower right corner, a reminder of the Italian roots of the model designed by and for Brazilians.
Exterior & Interior Styling –
The Pulse features LED headlamps that give the B-SUV an expression of confidence while demonstration the technology present inside and outside the vehicle. Its muscular stance from the side, with large fender arches, and a longitudinal rack on the roof, the Pulse’s profile a unique and distinctive look. In the rear, the 3D LED taillamps, are inspirated by floating blades. The LEDs are positioned to optimize the vehicle’s presence to other drivers while delivering a signature FIAT look to the vehicle. A unique rear bumper unites functionality with form, as the design optimizes the Pulse’s departure angle proving this vehicle is more SUV-like than a standard hatchback.
Although the Pulse was completely designed in Brazil, there is no doubt that FIAT’s Italian style influences the interior theme. With a completely new interior design receives silver and gray tones with different elements, bringing the same modernity expected in an SUV. The interior pieces uses a mix of textures that are pleasant to touch, thanks to soft touch materials throughout.
The new knitted or synthetic leather seats feature exposed stitching in an enveloping design. The gearshift knob is adorned by a discreet silver border, the same tone used around the controls of the new steering wheel, which for the first time brings the FIAT logo and allows access to various functions, such as adjusting the sound, changing gears through paddle-shifters or one-touch Sport mode.
The instrument panel (I/P) features an all-new digital guage cluster, a new floating screen Uconnect 5 touchscreen in either 8.4-inch or 10.1-inch configurations, and the ability to produce a 4G internet connection. Controls for the vehicle’s sound system, air conditioning and controls are brought together in an intelligent integrated cluster, creating a clean look and facilitating quick access to Pulse’s key features. Below it are two USB ports, one of which is Type-C, positioned just above the induction cell phone charger. Another USB connector placed between the seats allows rear seat passengers to charge their smartphone.
These elements create an enveloping style in the Pulse cabin with a feeling of spaciousness, making the environment pleasant for the occupants. In the SUV, design and practicality go hand in hand, as is clear from the 18 storage compartments scattered throughout the cabin, which total 25 liters (1,525 cubic inches) of storage.
Following in the footsteps of its American adventure cousin, the Jeep® brand, there is a number of “Easter eggs” hidden throughout the vehicle. There are things like a map of Italy and Latin America with off-road trails.
What Is Under The Hood? –
The Pulse comes to the market with a wide and modern catalog of transmissions and engines, including the arrival of the new Turbo 200 Flex, the most powerful turbocharged 1.0-liter engine in Brazil capable of delivering of up to 130 horsepower.
The unique propellant is part of the award-winning family of engines developed by Stellantis, and repeats 100% of the innovations and technologies of the existing set, the Turbo 270 Flex (turbocharged 1.3-liter GSE-T4 inline-four-cylinder), which is already equipped in the updated Fiat Toro. It took more than three years of development and 30,000 hours of bench tests, which resulted in the best of both worlds – greater performance and more efficiency, given the even more compact “packaging” with the use of three cylinders that follows the global trend of downsizing, delivering a lighter set.
The Turbo 200 Flex (turbocharged 1.0-liter GSE-T3 inline-three-cylinder) engine is capable of generating 130 horsepower of maximum power with ethanol (125 horsepower with gasoline), a best-in-class horsepower claim. The Turbo 200 Flex also provides ample torque of 148 lb.-ft. (200 Nm), reguardless of fuel and is available between 1,750 rpm and 3,500 rpm.
One of the features that enables this is BorgWarner’s low-inertia turbocharger. It features an electronic wastegate, which quickly adjusts to the demands of the throttle actively. This reduces component response time and extends pressure control across the assembly. The intake system has a reduced volume, further decreasing turbo lag.
These features are reinforced by the MultiAir III, a unique technology from Stellantis. It is equipped with an electro-hydraulic system for flexible control of the intake valves, maintaining high performance without compromising fuel consumption, and low emissions.
With the MultiAir III, the Pulse Turbo 200 Flex engine can open the intake valves during the cylinder compression cycle, which reduces the compression ratio and cools the combustion chamber. This gives greater control over detonation without compromising ignition advance.
The electronic control also makes it possible to anticipate the opening of the intake valves in the exhaust phase, creating a recirculation of gases that reduces the nitrogen oxides arising from combustion. Because of this, Pulse hits the market already in compliance with the new emission rules that will take effect from 2022.
Direct fuel injection has injectors placed almost vertical to the pistons, at an angle of 23°. This favors the air-fuel mixture while avoiding compromising the oil film on the cylinder wall, providing stability and speed in combustion. Precise engine control is reinforced with information from the ethanol sensor, which detects the type of fuel used before it is burned.
Even the placement of the catalyst is designed for maximum efficiency. Placed next to the exhaust manifold integrated to the head, it allows for a quick heating of the set, favoring the control of emissions with the engine in a cold cycle. The silent distribution chain, on the other hand, is of the “for life” type, and does not require maintenance during the life of the vehicle, reducing maintenance costs.
In addition to the Turbo 200 Flex, the well known, naturally-aspriated 1.3-liter GSE-N4 inline-four-cylinder engine. The naturally-aspirated version of the 1.3-liter generates 107 horsepower of power with ethanol at 6,250 rpm and 99 lb.-ft. (134 Nm) of torque at 4,000 rpm.
Both engines of the Pulse are coupled to an 7-speed automatic transmission CVT. This transmission was developed together with Aisin, one of the most prestigious companies in the powertrain segment. With it, the Pulse with Turbo 200 Flex engine is able to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 62 mph) in 9.4 seconds, the best performance in the segment.
The CVT gearbox uses two variable pulleys connected by an oil-dipped metal belt. This solution delivers maximum smoothness and comfort to the driver without compromising the performance and efficiency of the set.
It operates with three operating modes. In Automatic mode, the electronic control unit adjusts the ratios and response time according to the driver’s demand, adjusting itself according to the different day-to-day scenarios and favoring low revs for greater comfort and low fuel consumption.
Manual mode is for those who don’t give up the control. In it, the electronic control of the gearbox creates seven pre-set gears, which can be changed manually and sequentially through the gearshift lever or by the throttles on the steering wheel. Finally, in Sport mode, activated by a button on the steering wheel — another exclusive in the segment —, it takes even more fun driving the Fiat Pulse. It acts on steering, stability control, throttle mapping, and alters gearshift and response time, further leveraging the Turbo 200 Flex’s maximum power. Everything for a more sporty and dynamic playing.
The robustness and low maintenance cost are guaranteed by the lubrication system sealed with oil “for life”. It does not provide for change over the life of the Pulse, making the cost of ownership even lower.
The CVT automatic transmission is standard on the Pulse Turbo 200 Flex versions. The naturally-aspirated 1.3-liter engine can be equipped with a 5-speed manual or the 7-speed automatic CVT transmission.
The Pulse was developed to meet the strictest criteria of performance, strength and comfort, essential among consumers in the segment. For this reason, Pulse adopts several technologies fully developed in Brazil in the areas of suspension, steering, bodywork, as well as acoustic and vibration isolation.
Delivering the versatility you expect from an SUV without compromising the vehicle’s stability and handling on a day-to-day basis is not easy. Fiat Pulse uses a unique suspension, developed especially for the model. The set comprises the McPherson system on the front axle and the torsion axle for the rear wheels, both equipped with a new geometry.
At the front, a more rigid flat cross member favors superior dynamic performance and contributes to more protection in collisions. The new springs and shock absorbers are connected to it, capable of absorbing irregularities in the ground while optimizing the stability of the Pulse in curves. The new front stabilizer bar is designed to contain the leaning of the body when cornering, something essential in an SUV. The piece is linked to new swing arms fixed by a new vertical bushing, designed to provide comfort to passengers in any type of situation. At the rear, the new torsion axle has greater rigidity, which mitigates vehicle roll in curves and improves stability. The component also received recalibrated shock absorbers and springs specifically for the Pulse.
This care with the smallest details gave Fiat SUV excellent numbers for those who want more versatility. The wide 20.5° entry angle allows the driver to face the most different ramps and ditches without the risk of touching the bumper to the ground.
The ground clearance reaches 22.4 cm (8.8 inches), with a minimum height of 19.6 cm (7.7 inches). This provides safety on bumps and dirt roads, preserving the Pulse floor against contact with rocks and other obstacles. At the rear, the raised suspension combined with the new bumper offers an excellent exit angle of 31.4°, preventing damage and scares even on the steepest garage exits.
The new electric steering has progressive and linear assistance, allowing a comfortable and safe driving in any driving condition. And maneuvering a compact SUV has never been easier: the Pulse steering wheel has the lowest stationary effort in its class, plus a turning diameter of just 10.5 meters (34.4 feet).
The robustness of Fiat’s SUV is also shown with features such as the TC+, which helps the vehicle to transit in conditions of low grip. The equipment adjusts stability control parameters to lock the wheel without grip and transfer torque to the other side, increasing the Pulse’s ability to overcome obstacles. In addition, the TC+ also has ABS Off-Road, which ensures better braking in conditions of low grip on floors such as dirt, mud and sand, thus bringing more safety and efficiency when braking the model.
The engine and gearshift are fixed by means of special bushings that ensure maximum vibration and noise absorption, which makes the cabin environment quiet and pleasant. Taking care of these components allowed a reduction of vibrations of up to 32% on the steering wheel and 7% on the seat rail compared to its main competitor.
Trim Levels –
The 2022 Fiat Pulse will be available in five different configurations. Those configurations include…
- Drive (Manual) – 1.3-liter inline-four-cylinder, 5-speed manual transmission, LED headlamps & taillamps, 16-inch aluminum wheels, and 8.4-inch infotainment screen
- Drive (Automatic) – Drive (Manual) features plus, 7-speed automatic CVT transmission, and dual-zone climate control
- Drive (Turbo) – Drive (Automatic) features plus, turbocharged 1.0-liter inline-three-cylinder, 7-speed automatic CVT transmission with “Sport” mode
- Audace – Drive (Turbo) features plus, Advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), Keyless Enter ‘N Go, and Wireless Phone Charging
- Impetus – Audace features plus, Leather seats, 10.1-inch infotainment screen, and 7-inch full-digital cluster
The Pulse is available in 8 exterior colors for 2022. Those colors include Valcano Black, Montecarlo Red, Bank White, Amalfi Blue, Silver Bari, Silverstone Gray, Stratum Gray, and Alaska White. There is also the option on upper level trims for a two-tone exterior color (adds a Gloss Black roof) to the mix.
What do you think of the all-new 2022 Fiat Pulse? Let us know in the comments below or in the MoparInsiders.com forums.
2022 Fiat Pulse Image Gallery: