The Fiat Croma (1986-1996)

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Shakespeare already had it say in the play 'Romeo and Juliet' / ask: “What is in a name?”. Yet a name apparently means a lot. Because why the Fiat Croma, meant as a generous business / family car in the Netherlands, did not break all sales records?

That must have been his name

And if you, dear reader, now with a raised eyebrow, wonder what 'Croma' could cause? Then you are the last man in the Netherlands who still lives in an 100% male universe. Croma is still a bake and roast product that was also fully advertised in the time of the new, big Fiat. "For Baking and Roasting, Jus, Beef, Poultry, Pig, Gourmet: Croma does brown, but does not splash."

The Fiat Croma was a refreshing appearance

Nevertheless, the Fiat Croma was a refreshing appearance in the Fiat range in the higher segment, which for a number of years was characterized by fairly conventional, sometimes even rude, cars from the 'box upon box' era, such as the Fiat Argenta. The name here was good for some giggling, but the Fiat Croma was actually a pleasant surprise. The sleek elegantly lined Fiat had a nice styling and a nice CW value of 0,32. However, the Fiat Croma lacked quality to compete with its German counterparts. The body was not completely torsion and beep-free, the interior was seen as rather 'plastic-like' and the engine noise was experienced too loudly in various tests from that time. Strangely enough, British magazines from that time were sometimes very merciless compared to the Fiat.

Unity is strength

The Fiat Croma was part of the Tipo Quattro project; a partnership between Fiat – Saab – Alfa – Lancia where the chassis was the same for the different brands. That Tipo 4 chassis was jointly shared by the companies mentioned in the eighties and nineties. This resulted in the Fiat Croma, the Alfa Romeo 164, the Saab 9000 and the Lancia Thema.

The Fiat Croma came on the market here in August 1986 and was available with both petrol and diesel engines. In 1991 the car was modified on a few points and from 1993 a V6 engine could also be supplied, the same as in the Alfa 164 was delivered. This model went out of production in 1996.

Current and in accordance with the standard

At the time of its presentation, the Fiat met all the requirements that were imposed on a car from the high-end segment. The civilized elegant-looking car was actually a crystallized result of the drawings that had been done on Lancia's Theme, but due to adjustments to the lines of the hood and the fifth door, it still had its own looks. The sleek, dynamic, business-like exterior was combined with an equally serious (and easily accessible through the wide doors) interior with lots of space and good all-round visibility.

A very dynamic car

Driving such a Fiat Croma also did great, even with a touch of sportiness. With a two-liter injection engine from 155 hp, the Fiat was even thick 190 km / h fast. And that was something that Germans, without sufficient money for a Mercedes or BMW, could appreciate very much with their Autobahn tradition.

But the speed aspect could also be accentuated in the then almost limitless Netherlands with the Croma Aerokit package developed by Interstate. It consisted of a front and rear spoiler plus side skirts and could be perfectly finished with a set of light-alloy wheels with low-profile tires.


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  1. Little shame about information about the engine. The 2.5 V6 was not in the 164 but in the 155. I don't think photo of the Lancia Theme is part of it either.

    • Naja die haben halt den gleichen V6 wie der 164er nur eben als 2,5er und nicht 3 Liter Version gehabt. Vom Aufbau her sind die Motoren aber sonst identical. Im Thema gab es übrigends 2 Verchiedene V6 Engines einem den Alfa Typicals Arese und einen others der nicht von Peugot oder so kam.

  2. The brother of a garage owner who was the boss of a friend of mine (Garage Van Splunteren from the Zaanstreek) used to have a Croma known in our group of friends as 'the primer Croma' because it had a strange shade of gray.

    It was very 'thick' and lowered so it could well have the above-mentioned Interstate kit on it.
    As far as I remember there was also a big engine in it, maybe even a turbo or something ?!

    I have no idea what eventually happened to it, but I thought it was a cool thing at the time… ..

    Croma is Italian for chrome.

    • I still have such a nice Croma with the big engine. 2.0 turbo ie petrol…. bought new in August 1988… so now 30 years young… .Yes… that squeaking and rattling was ingrained as standard…. but walk ..
      Oh so good…. 240 km on the counter….
      After a Grootpoort facelift / overhaul… it can take it again… .. It can be a bit calmer now… .. By the way… .. and we have used the same coupling again…. Still as new…
      As the first owner…. To enjoy….

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