Fiat Uno (1984)
1108cc in-line four
Front engined FWD
The Giugiaro styled Uno was distinctive for its upright and glassy design, which became a huge influence in car styling over the next decade. The packaging of the car, combined with the agile handling and comfortable ride soon became the new face of Fiats design language for the 80’s and Fiat were rewarded with huge sales in Europe. Furthermore the Uno became an instant success across the world, due to Fiats global factory set up. Available as both a 3 door and 5 door hatchback, it carried over some of the previous 127 engines initially but replaced by a new range of long lived overhead cam Fully Integrated Robotised Engine (FIRE) which helped improve the performance and fuel economy.
Various models were sold with the Fiat and Ford engineered variable automatic transmission, which pointed the way for further development. Fiat also continued their sporting models, with the Turbo entering production from the start, while the Turbo was quick in a straight line it was always over shadowed by its main rivals. The basic uno model had a typically long production run and after enormous success in Europe, the mk2 Uno ceased European production in 1995. Polish production ended in 2002, Moroccan in 2003, Pakistani cars in 2004 and South African assembled versions finally coming off the production line in 2006.
Fiats challenge for car of the year could have easily been lost to Peugeots new 205. Like the Fiat it replaced a long lived model, the 104 and was offered in 3 and 5 door hatchback from. The car’s sales success was strengthened by the crisp in-house styling, outstanding handling, supple ride, a range of durable turbo diesel and petrol engines, a pininfarina designed Cabriolet model and more notably the GTI versions. Further successes came in the form of the 450bhp group B rallying T16, which went on to win 16 world rallys. Production of the 205 ended after 14 years of sales, as subsequent replacements often lived in the shadow of the original.
The final major contender for car of the year could be argued as the most deserving. The 3 and 5 door hatchback Golf took over seamlessly after the original 1974 Golf with further improvements to economy, quality and safety. While not visually too different to its predecessor, the Golf became an instant success. The platform was also used on the saloon Jetta and the sporting Carrado, but it’s true success can be directly attributed with the Golf GTI. The car became a a motoring icon and the car to beat as it quickly established itself as the best all round hot hatchback.