You may well recognise the Fiat Tipo name, most recently used on a humble hatchback in the early 1990s. This new automobile has little in widespread with that model, nevertheless, and is Fiat’s most current automobile to take on the family members hatchback market, with rivals such as the Vauxhall Astra, Skoda Rapid Spaceback and Mazda three.
We’ve already tried the saloon version, but that model will not be available in the UK. Now we’ve had the chance to test the Brit-friendly hatchback, here in 1.six-litre diesel form. This engine is probably to be the top seller here, even though the variety will incorporate far more modest units from launch.
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The Tipo is positioned to compete with its rivals on worth – and with a starting cost of £12,995 it is one of the less costly C-segment hatchbacks on sale. Standard equipment involves a DAB radio, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, steering wheel media controls and air-conditioning – but this 1.6 diesel will come with a 5-inch touchscreen show, LED lights, alloy wheels, parking sensors and cruise manage.
The diesel engine feels punchy, thanks to the 320Nm of torque obtainable from 1,750rpm, and in-gear functionality is on a par with rivals like the Skoda Speedy Spaceback’s 1.six TDI. It does get noisy when accelerating, but at low revs it’s perfectly quiet inside the cabin. Road and wind noise is unobtrusive at most speeds as well, meaning the Fiat is surprisingly refined.
It’s comfy as well, with supportive seats and a great driving position complementing the soft suspension. Potholes and undulations in the road surface do trigger a bit of bounce, but the Tipo’s ride in no way felt harsh on the roads around Turin during our test drive.
The trade-off for that ride is in the handling, as the Tipo suffers from relatively considerable physique roll when cornering speedily. The steering lacks feel, and the front-finish does not really feel especially keen in the bends either. That’s not to say the Tipo is negative to drive, but the Mazda three, Vauxhall Astra and Ford Concentrate are all a greater bet for keen drivers.
Regrettably for Fiat fans, the Tipo is uncharacteristically dull for the brand. Even though the Panda and 500 have their faults, both are charming and entertaining in their own way, and this is a massive part of their appeal – but the Tipo is disappointingly dull to drive, as properly as to appear at.
Even though the Zagato-style double-bubble roof and the bulging bonnet are good styling touches, the general shape of the Tipo is rather uninspiring. The sporty Mazda puts it to shame, and the Tipo’s generally fashionable Italian roots add to the disappointment.
As soon as you see how sensible the vehicle is it’s less complicated to see the rationale behind the style, even so. With a 440-litre boot it is a single of the most sensible cars in the class, although the Peugeot 308 is bigger inside. There’s lots of legroom though, with enough space for adults to sit comfortably behind the driver – even though taller passengers could discover headroom a tiny tight.
The doors open wide as nicely, which ought to make fitting a youngster seat that bit less difficult. Storage in the cabin is good, despite the fact that the challenging plastics and cloth upholstery currently seemed to be collecting dust and dirt on our brand-new test vehicles.
Just like the exterior, the Tipo’s interior does not have a lot charm, and despite the fact that the plastic surfaces are not as well scratchy they do look rather dated for a brand-new model like this. The touchscreen show appears excellent and is simple to use, though, and the optional TomTom- sourced sat-nav is outstanding. Our automobile featured smartphone connectivity as effectively, which adds help for music streaming and social media attributes.
Economy from the 1.6-litre diesel model is pretty great, with Fiat quoting emissions of 98g/km and fuel economy of 76.3mpg. There’s no model in the variety that can match the Astra’s 91.2mpg and 82g/km diesel, but the Tipo nonetheless qualifies for the totally free tax bracket, while a low list price ought to support firm auto purchasers save some money, also.
Eventually though, the Tipo isn’t so low cost that it will result in concern for cars like the Vauxhall Astra and Skoda Speedy Spaceback. The additional you will pay for an equivalent Astra will be worth it, as that car is far more enjoyable to drive, has a a lot more upmarket interior and less costly to run.