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FIAT Tipo Hatchback And Wagon Review

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Driven: FIAT Tipo Review

I attended the FIAT Tipo international launch in Turin, Italy and tried out both the hatch and wagon versions of the car while I was there in both the petrol and diesel engines. Here’s what I thought of the cars.

What is the FIAT Tipo all About?

FIAT have been out of the C-segment market for some time and are making a comeback into this market with this new Tipo. The Tipo will be offered in 3 body types in the UK; a hatchback, saloon and wagon.

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FIAT are pitching the Tipo to be an authentic, low price, down to earth car that offers functionality, simplicity and personality. They have gone about doing this by listening to the customers and removing things that they didn’t need and spending wisely on functionality that there is a demand for.

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The Tipo has quite a sharp and exciting look from the front with the main focus being the grille, with that silver tipped detailing creating the perfect surround for the FIAT badge. If you look closely you will notice that the bonnet has aggressive lines that run down to the front bumper which gives the car a look of speed and aerodynamics. The back of the car in both hatch and wagon format is also very tasteful with the main highlight being the banana-shaped LED lights.

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We tested out 2 engine types, the 1.6 litre diesel and the 1.4 litre petrol. The 1.6 litre turbo-diesel engine creates 118 bhp and 320 Nm of torque, with the power going through a 6-speed manual gearbox. The car will get from 0-60 mph in 9.8 seconds and will reach a top speed of 124 mph. The most outstanding statistic about this car is that FIAT says it will do a combined economy figure of 76 mpg, whilst only creating 89 g/km of CO2. Not bad at all.

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The smaller 1.4 petrol creates 118 bhp and 215 Nm of torque. This means 0-60 mph is around 9.6 seconds and top speed of 124 mph. The petrol’s emissions go up to 132 g/km of CO2 and economy falls to 47 mpg.

How Does it Drive?

The Tipo driving characteristics are quite endearing. Sitting in the cabin it is relatively customisable with regards to the driving position. Once you are off and moving the most standout point I noticed about the Tipo is the ride comfort, which certainly seems to be punching above its weight for an affordable car. I believe it is a combination of the tyre choice and suspension that help lap up all the dents in the road. In both the hatch and the wagon, the ride quality is great.

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The diesel engine was my preferred motor of the two. You can really feel the benefit from the 320 Nm of torque that will power the Tipo forward from low down the rev range and feel like a solid power plant, which of course has bigger benefits in the wagon if you are carrying heavier loads.

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There is a choice of manual, automatic and DCT gearboxes available in the Tipo. I only had the opportunity to test the manual out, but it was great. The shifts felt clean and there was a relatively short distance between gears. There was certainly nothing not to like about the gearbox in the Tipo.

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One of the beauties of driving the Tipo is just how lightweight and friendly all the controls are. In particular, the steering, which works well when it comes to parking and driving in complicated or busy environments. The Tipo also has a good turning circle, which in many ways just makes life simpler. The disadvantage of the light steering is that it does take away some of the feedback from the driver. But I believe they have made the right decision for this car in removing some of the feedback in exchange for effortless driving.

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On the motorway, or dual carriageway, the Tipo certainly finds its pace and cruises very nicely, overtaking in both the diesel and the petrol was no bother at all. Surprisingly for the price of the car the cabin noise is also very low which means making a call on the handsfree system at speed is no problem at all.

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What is it Like Inside?

Inside the FIAT Tipo is pretty good, the dashboard has a very simple layout that anyone could instantly use without even thinking about it. The highlight to the dashboard is the large infotainment display. Everything is where you would expect, it performs how you would expect, and it is instantly responsive. There are no complications, no reading the manual, and no time wasted… Perfect.

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There was also a huge amount of room inside the car; you can easily get 4 adults in comfort in the car. FIAT have taken things to the extreme with doors that open 80 degrees wide. There are 9 compartments inside the car to store all your things. Most noticeably though the leg room in the car is extensive in both the front and back which is great for a car with a smallish external footprint.

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The boot space in the hatch is pretty good but moving up to the wagon the space is as good as it gets in this segment. The space is very large, but also very clever. There is a smart floor allowing you to store objects out of the way underneath. The side bins over the arches have removable panels allowing the space to flow around as wide as you need, if you choose. This means that whether you are storing lots of small items or one large item the Tipo does its best to help you out.

The Experience

The Tipo, in any body style you choose, will leave you feeling content and stylish by its affordable yet very Italian flair. The car has a cheeky feel about it knowing that it is good value for money, looks great and has plenty of kit inside.

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Verdict

The Tipo experience, as a family of cars, comes with a solution to fit pretty much all needs; the hatchback, saloon or wagon gives you a variety of choice to meet your needs. Once you have settled on the body shape there is a selection of economical engines to give you the best driving experience and then there is an entire array of comfort and feature choices to put the icing on the cake. What more could you ask for in this market?

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Video Highlights

FIAT Tipo 1.6 litre Diesel Hatch

  • Price: £17,995
  • Engine: 1.6 litre Turbocharged Diesel
  • Power: 120 hp
  • Torque: 320Nm
  • Transmission:  6-Speed Manual
  • 0-62mph: 9.8 Seconds
  • Top speed: 124mph
  • Weight: 1,370kg
  • Economy: 76mpg
  • CO2: 89g/km

FIAT Tipo 1.4 litre Petrol Wagon

  • Price: £13,995
  • Engine: 1.4 litre Turbocharged Petrol
  • Power: 120 hp
  • Torque: 215Nm
  • Transmission:  6-Speed Manual
  • 0-62mph: 9.6 Seconds
  • Top speed: 124mph
  • Weight: 1,380kg
  • Economy: 47mpg
  • CO2: 132g/km

Full Gallery

Author: Paul Hadley

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