By on August 4, 2008

Build a better mouse and the world will beat a path to your door?There's one good thing about a crisis: it motivates people to create remarkable things that wouldn't have been possible (or necessary) in normal (or desired) circumstances. Remember: an oil crisis gave birth to the original Mini, a remarkable piece of engineering with incredible efficiency. Now that the days of efficiency are back, the car industry has once again been forced to awaken from its boringly predictable evolution and offer us some new efficient and smart solutions. The first signs have already been visible for a few years, with manufacturers showing a plethora of microcar concepts. Some producers even have such projects in advanced development. As spy photographs show, Fiat is currently testing a car smaller than the 500. At 3.2 meters the new Topolino ("little mouse" in Italian, named after the original model produced between 1936 and 1955) is expected to use the same 3+1 seats solution as the Toyota iQ concept (the rear bench is divided into a normal-sized and a smaller chair, placed right between the rear wheels at the very back of the car). With both rear seats in use, the car has virtually no trunk space. But fold the rear bench and now you got room for… a suitcase or two. Anyway, it's a remarkable achievement that could rival the original Mini. From a design POV, this layout doesn't allow for a sloped roof. I reckon a boxy rear will be the recognition element for all the 3+1 cars.

[For more of AA's photochopistry, click on]
Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!


13 Comments on “TTAC Photochop: Fiat Topolino...”

  • avatar

    I kind of like how it looks. I figure at 6’4″ all I would have to do is get a custom shop to take out all the seats, plonk in an aftermarket Recaro just in front of the rear hatch, and I’m good to go.

  • avatar

    There is a mistake. Why does it have a renault Badge?? Could this maybe be the Twingo’s smaller brother??

  • avatar

    Pretty cute car.

    I’m seriously considering a Panda when I’ll move to Europe: cheap and cheerful.

  • avatar
    Cyril Sneer

    Nick, don’t be too sure. I’m 6’3.5″ and I fit with plenty of room to spare in a smart car, could be the same deal here. Some manufacturers don’t need to use a 6000 lb vehicle to accommodate one ‘actual size’ human.

  • avatar

    I don’t remember there being an oil crisis in 1959 when the original mini appeared on the market.

  • avatar

    @ jems86
    That is the new Fiat logo actually. I have to admit though that distorted in perspective it does look rhombic.

  • avatar

    The Topolino is powered by a new twin cylinder 900cc engine making 65Hp. Referred to as the SGE, Fiat’s Small Generation Engine comes in a turbocharged version as well yielding 105Hp.

    This car could be a lifesaver for Chrysler who are now in talks with Fiat…

  • avatar

    The Topolino is powered by a new twin cylinder 900cc engine making 65Hp. Referred to as the SGE, Fiat’s Small Generation Engine comes in a turbocharged version as well yielding 105Hp.

    Fantastic, wonderful to note the improvements in engines. My 1959 VW had a 4 cyl 1200 cc engine but only produced 36 horsepower.

    As I posted previously on TTAC the automakers need refinements like this and NO MORE growing of a car model in size from one year to the next.

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    Andrei, the original Mini was introduced in 1959. The oil crisis was a whole lot later. But substitute “Golf” for “Mini” and you’re just fine.

  • avatar

    No, Andrei is correct–there was a fuel crisis in Britain in 1956. It was caused by the Suez Crisis of 1956, and was mostly confined to Britain and possibly France, who were combatants in that war. There was a real boom in bubblecars and microcars in Britain because of the gas crisis, and it convinced Morris to go ahead with the Mini to provide a “real car” to compete with the bubblecars (Isetta/BMW, Messerschmidt, et al.)

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    Thanks, Illinois. I stand corrected.

  • avatar

    I wouldn’t be seen dead in a Fiat. These cars were never buit to withstand the weather conditions in the UK. Everyone I know who owns?has owned one reports problems during the wet conditions of winter. Staring can be a nightmare!

  • avatar

    Build a better mouse etc… I think not Fiat judging by the bland on bland design that has been proposed for the new Topolino, The original showed engineering creativity and design flair – judging by what has been revealed so far this may possess some of the former but absolutely none of the latter. Tell your design department to throw their other mouse away and use their head and heart in the time honored Italian tradition to create a car that is worthy of using the Topolino name.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • lstanley: I often wonder about the buyer of certain vehicles. Some are pretty obvious, like commuters buying a Camry...
  • jkross22: Ford’s got problems, but marketing won’t solve any of them.
  • mcs: @Art Vandalay: I know the PDP11 well. Actually, the backplanes were wire-wrapped and not the boards. Learned to...
  • lstanley: Just wait until this technology also won’t allow your car to start until the windshield is replaced....
  • N8iveVA: More commercial applications for EV’s and a growing world population?

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Matthew Guy
  • Timothy Cain
  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber