Fiat Uno (1983 – 1993) Review

Fiat Uno (1983 – 1993) At A Glance


+Practical car for those on a tight budget, 'Fire' engines will run and run if looked after, tidy design, in a 1980s kind of way, lived on as Petit Taxis in Morocco

-Low-mileage Unos used for short runs only can spell trouble, so can the 903cc 'Uno 45' engine, pre-1990 models are rust boxes, most scrapped

Throughout its history, Fiat has been a small car pacesetter - so when it introduced its 127 replacement, the Uno, there were high expectations. Fiat pulled out all of the stops with the Uno, so it received an all-new platform, and up to the second styling by Ital Design - all that let it down was that the new FIRE (Fully Integrated Robotised Engine) wasn't ready for launch, being rolled out two years later in 1985.

With excellent aerodynamics, vastly improved interior room, and excellent ergonomics, the Uno rightly won lots of friends very quickly, and this popularity culminated with the European Car of The Year award in 1984. With 900cc, 1.1- and 1.3-litre options, there was an Uno for everyone, especially after 1985, when the Turbo i.e. model was introduced to fight the likes of the Renault 5GT Turbo and Peugeot 205GTI. In 1989, the Uno received an extensive facelift, giving it styling that linked it closely with the then-new Tipo. Quality was vastly improved with these later cars - but who knew that as of 2013, the Uno remains in production in South America. That's quite an achievement.

Ask Honest John

Where can I sell my 1991 Fiat Uno?

"I have a 1991 Fiat Uno 70SXie (1.3-litre) with 47,000 miles from buying it new. It has a full service history, 10 months MoT and no rust. Could you please advise where best to sell it and what sort of money should I ask?"
It's a very rare car now, except in Morocco, where they form a fleet of Petit Taxis. But Fiat itself might be interested, if only to prove to the public that Fiats are nothing like as bad as some people think they are. Back in the 1990s I did a story about a Panda 999cc FIRE 4x4 that had done 206,000 miles taking a teacher from his home in Alston (Britain’s highest town) to his school in Hexham, Northumberland. While I was interviewing the owner, his neighbour showed up in one that had done 216,000 miles. But on the open market your Uno is worth buttons. You could ambitiously ask for £500. But to get it gone you might have to accept as little as £100.
Answered by Honest John

How can our 17-year-old grandson get cheaper insurance in his Fiat Uno?

"My 17 year old grandson is taking the driving test in the next few months. He will be driving a 2004 Fiat Uno 1.2 litre 3-door manual petrol model. The problem is insurance or even being added to his parents' insurance. They are 42 and 48 years old with clean licences, yet have been quoted £3,000 for insurance for the 17 year old. Any suggestions?"
A 'black box' telematics based insurance. Links at the bottom of this directory:
Answered by Honest John

Why won't my Fiat Uno start after a wiper motor repair?

"My Fiat Uno was kept in the garage for a minor wiper motor repair. I happened to collect it on the third evening. With the headlights on, the battery discharged within 15 minutes of driving and the lights dimmed. My mechanic advised me to keep the engine running at idle for 30 minutes, but after doing so it did not restart. Now he says the battery must be charged. Please help. Is my mechanic right? What is the solution? "
Reads to me as if the alternator has failed, or is disconnected.
Answered by Honest John
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