TURIN — Don't judge Fiat SpA's Ecobasic by its appearance. Despite the bizarre styling, this is no comic-strip cartoon car but a serious attempt at creating a low-cost, in every sense of the term, small car. Conceived by a team that Fiat claims had “been released from all constraints,” the Ecobasic is an innovative mobile laboratory for the future of affordable, green motoring. If it was going to be sold globally, it had to be simple, rational, reliable and pass the tough 2005 emission ...

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