The Fiat Tipo is not unused to being brought back from the dead – our motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay explains.
What’s In A Name?
The name was first seen on cars a century ago. Then it was brought back to life in 1988, went on to win the European Car of the Year award in ’89, before being killed off again in 1995. Now this year, Fiat is getting the moniker going once again by taking the tried and tested value-for-money path.
The Italian motor-maker is frank about its objectives: the 2016 Fiat Tipo is a car without embellishments and, even though it’s more or less rivalling Dacia’s ‘shockingly affordable’ marketing strategy, its real competition comes in the form of the Skoda Rapid Spaceback.
Now, I know good looks are in the eye of the beholder, but the Fiat Tipo is, in my view, nicer looking than the Skoda. This is due to its stylish nose design, and tidier shape. The Tipo’s price-tag starts from a low £12,995 on the road, which is bound to stir up the UK’s motoring marketplace.
In UK Soon
The renewed Fiat Tipo is coming to British shores in September in five-door hatchback and ‘Station Wagon’ semblances. The models are identical from the rear doors onward, and the exterior of the new Tipo really doesn’t exude ‘cheap’ by any means. It’s only when you sit inside the Italian car that any lack-of-frills becomes apparent.
Some of the fresh Fiat Tipo’s switchgear – and the steering wheel – is from the Fiat 500 range’s parts bin. This is no issue, though, because these components feel wholesome to the touch – it’s the knee-height plastics around the doors and centre console that give the game away. But, the Tipo’s factory-fitted equipment soon brings the Fiat back into the good books. Kit includes electric windows, six airbags, a USB port, Bluetooth connectivity and DAB digital radio.
I test-drove the ‘High’ trim level (comparable to Fiat’s ‘Lounge’ spec) of the Fiat Tipo hatchback. Equipment at this point includes climate control, sat-nav with TomTom LIVE services, a rear view camera and 17-inch alloy wheels – pushing the price to £17,995. The car I tested came with Fiat’s renowned 120PS 1.6-litre Multijet II diesel power unit – but the line-up also offers the choice of a 1.3-litre diesel, as well as 1.4 and 1.6-litre petrol powered units.
On the move, it’s plain that the new Fiat Tipo has been constructed so that it provides comfort over everything else. The pothole ridden roads I drove on were a breeze for the Tipo hatchback – its forgiving suspension permitting the car to float over them without any uneasiness in the cabin. Point the all-new Fiat Tipo’s muzzle into a bend hurriedly, though, and body roll is perceivable. The agreeably weighted steering helps to make up for this to some extent, but it still doesn’t make you feel as attached to the asphalt as you’d like to be.
From a power point of view, the all-new Fiat Tipo’s 1.6-litre diesel unit is no athlete, but the car’s six-speed manual gearbox impresses with its confident-shift action. The car’s CO2 emissions of 98g/km are below Skoda’s Rapid Spaceback, which in 1.6 TDI CR 115 SE Tech form, releases 99g/km of carbon dioxide. Costs are similar, too – the Skoda being only £675 cheaper at £17,320.
The all-new Fiat Tipo certainly gets things right when it comes to space. It’s lengthier than a far costlier VW Golf, so legroom is generous for rear seat occupants. The hatchback’s boot is class leadingly decent at 440 litres, too. In real-life terms, that’s more than enough room for the supermarket shopping and a toddler’s buggy.
When all is said and done, the all-new Fiat Tipo is pleasant to drive and its cabin quality is generally good. The car also looks handsome; it has loads of room; it’s comfy and it comes laden with kit. So even though 2016’s Fiat Tipo has a few points to pick at, it still exemplifies top value for money.
PROS ‘N’ CONS
- Inexpensive √
- Comfortable √
- Roomy √
- Some cabin plastics X
FAST FACTS (Fiat Tipo 1.6 Multijet II 120)
- Max speed: 124
- 0-62 mph: 9.8 secs
- Combined mpg: 76.3
- Engine layout: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder diesel
- Max. power (PS): 120
- CO2: 98 g/km
- Price: £17,995
Check out Perrys’ Fiat dealerships here.