What have actually we here?
The brand-new Fiat Tipo hatchback.
That’s taken them a while, hasn’t it?
Yup – ‘Tipo’ is a name Fiat was applying to hatches in the 1980s. This brand-new one is a successor to the disappointing Bravo, which replaced the disappointing Stilo, which replaced, well, you get hold of the idea.
More frustration this time around?
First impressions aren’t spectacular. The family hatch sector is among the the majority of hotly fought spots of the market, and the Tipo’s focus group styling would certainly battle to stand out parked in a desert, yet alone alongside a Mazda 3, Renault Megane or Vauxhall Astra.
On the inside it’s clearly laid out yet the contents aren’t great, especially on the lesser half of the dash. It’s shiny, tinny and won’t maintain Hyundai or Kia awake at night. Skoda, Seat and the French will certainly sleep soundly too.
Hard-wearing and practical then?
That’s more the Tipo’s bag. There’s many room up front, a massive 440-litre boot, and folk in the spine will certainly be impressed at the knee and shoulder room. Not so clever on headroom though, oddly. Weird exactly how Fiat has actually taken a boxy roofline and misplaced the added space inside. There’s a Station Wagon version that solves that particular issue.
I’m bored now. Are we going driving yet?
Yes, and you’ll want the 118bhp, 1.4-litre T-Jet turbo engine for the task because, even though not as thrusting as its excitable name promises, it’s a bit of a peach. Throttle response is good, it doesn’t drone or resonate as the revs climb smoothly, and it punts the Tipo along at a useful pace. Good, zesty, Italian engine.
The six-rate manual feels adore it’s earned of rubber and lubricated along with plasticine, yet if anything that merely lets you crash the gears in a lot faster and maintain up along with Turin traffic smartly.
Trouble is, sixty per cent of individuals that get a Tipo, quite compared to hire one for the family holiday, will certainly get hold of a diesel by default due to the fact that they’ll be fleet buyers. The 1.6-litre 118bhp MultiJet diesel does the job, yet regularly chunters away as if it’s muttering to itself regarding the tedium of hauling about a cheap hatchback.
Meanwhile, the 1.3-litre 94bhp diesel has actually no torque and the clutch pedal is so flaccid you wonder if Fiat forgot to screw it in properly, so unless you truly should emit C02 in polite 99g/km chunks, avoid it.
Bet it’s not as great to drive as a 3 or Focus though?
Correct, though it’s no disaster. The steering’s well-geared and decently weighted, it doesn’t understeer badly and it can easily be rather agile. It’s surely handier compared to others (Nissan Pulsar, Hyundai i30) and may even embarrass the supposedly sportier Alfa Giulietta.
Unlike the Alfa, the Tipo’s actually based largely on Fiat 500L bits, and the ride is the main bugbear. Big bumps are dealt along with acceptably, yet smaller sized niggles fidget the vehicle and rattle about the cabin. It’s where you can easily tell the vehicle lacks some sophistication, and has actually been denied much better dampers or independent rear suspension to cut costs.
Fair enough, so long as the rate is right?
In Europe, you can easily select among these Tipos up, albeit in easy trim, for under €11,000 which is remarkable, Dacia-bothering value. It’s currently selling quite strongly too, in notchback four-door saloon form that we won’t get hold of in the UK.
Over here, it’ll begin from £12,995 along with Bluetooth, DAB and air-con thrown in. The range-topping Lounge spec we drove, fitted along with the likeable 1.4-litre motor, wearing 17-inch alloys, a reversing camera, 5-inch sat nav (the much better 8-inch system is weirdly denied to Brits) and so on is £15,995 – 3 grand much less compared to the 1.6-litre diesel version. Worth interested in if you’re not in to intergalactic mileage to offset the entry fee.
Essentially, Fiat’s pulling the ‘one-size-up’ trick that used to fulfill the Koreans so well, offering a Focus-sized vehicle for nigh-on Fiesta money. And yes, you can easily pinpoint where the cash has actually been saved, yet it doesn’t prevent the Tipo being a suit for purpose, honest workhorse.