Revisions were made on the Fiat platform that is used by the Fiat Punto and Alfa Romeo MiTo subcompacts so that it can underpin minivans, compact SUVs and crossovers, according to a company executive. Mauro Pierallini, the head of product development for Fiat's Europe, Middle East and Africa regions, said that this platform, which Fiat refers to as Small, may underpin vehicles as long as 4.4 meters. They could accommodate gasoline engines with displacements up to 2.4-liters, broadening its coverage to the compact segment. The debut of the revised Small architecture will be on the 500L small minivan which starts selling in Italy at the end of this week, prized from 15,500 euros. Fiat will start to offer the 500L in the U.S. next summer.
During an event to launch the 500L near Milan, Pierallini said that this architecture is created for front-wheel-drive and for four-wheel-drive. The latter has also been designed for trail-rated eventual applications for the Jeep brand. Fiat assembles the 500L at its new plant in Serbia for Europe and North America. The 500L sits on a 2612mm wheelbase and is 4,147mm long. The Small architecture was developed to hold a wheelbase raised by as much as 165mm and to get to 4,400mm in overall length.
Pierallini has decided not to confirm that a lone model meant to replace the Jeep Patriot and Compass could be built on the modified Small architecture. Even so, the fact that this architecture could be powered by a 2.4-liter gasoline engine implies that Chrysler will use this in the future. Fiat does not provide 2.4-liter gasoline engines on models produced in Europe, while this is the exact capacity of Chrysler's Tiger Shark engine. Fiat's Small architecture will also be used on an entry SUV for the Jeep brand, which is set to be released in 2014. Chrysler currently offers this model as the B-SUV but its final name has still to be determined. It is expected to be smaller than the present Patriot and Compass models.