Initially, the Uno was offered with the 0.9litre (903cc) OHV, 1.1litre (1116cc), and 1.3litre (1301cc) 138-series SOHC petrol engines.The 1.3 (1300cc) diesel (not for the UK market) engine was launched a couple of months later. The Uno's badging was not by the commonly used measurement of engine size but by bhp: 45, 55, 60, 75 or 90. The Uno was available as either a 3- or 5-door hatchback. It also featured unusual "pod" switchgear cluster around the main instrument binnacle, although indicators remained on a stalk; an unusual arrangement notably also used by Citroen.
The Uno had MacPherson strut independent front suspension and beam axle rear suspension with telescopic dampers and coil springs.
From 1985, the new 1.0litre (999cc) SOHC Fully Integrated Robotised Engine (FIRE) powerplant was offered. This was a lighter engine and gave improved performance and economy. Also in 1985, the hot hatch version - Uno Turbo - was launched, with an IHI turbocharged Ritmo/Strada-derived 1.3 146-series engine, initially offering 105bhp (78kW). It was priced to compete with the Peugeot 205 GTI.