The Fiat Tipo is not a stranger to this green and pleasant land of ours, arriving originally way back in June 1988 as a base 1.4 or DGT, a 1.6-litre DGT and SX and 1.9-litre TDs. The 1.7TD arrived a few months later and became the SX in January 1992 and yet the base models disappeared in April 1990 before eventually being replaced by the Bravo and Brava models in 1995. The end of an era you might think.
And then, news arrived of an all new Tipo, fresh faced and fancy free and including up to date styling and technology that would allow the Fiat to compete on an even playing field with the best that the rest could offer. The Fiat looks good, of that there can be no doubt, arriving in hatchback form rather than the Station Wagon that is also available, it offers the consumer a thoroughly modern hatchback, especially when in the metallic pearl sand paintwork on test. Proportionally correct, the Tipo displays an upmarket look that sets it apart from the many Focus’ and Astras out there, it’s smart grill and Chrome surround complement the additional Chrome around the front fogs and windows, standing out particularly though are the beautiful chrome door handles which help to create a link between yourself and the car right from the off. Refreshingly restrained and yet still distinctive amongst the competition.
Step inside the cabin and it’s clear that Fiat have spent a considerable amount of time considering how best to serve the driver and their passengers in the all new Tipo. Rather impressively, Fiat’s designers and engineers have managed to include a whole host of well thought out, space saving solutions to the problem of in car storage with handy chubby holes and holders offering a total capacity of 12 litres, allowing you to store everything you need when you’re on the move.
The Lounge Edition on test displays excellent value for money including, as it does, what Fiat describe as their innovative infotainment options, including the Uconnect 5” touchscreen DAB Radio with Bluetooth®, audio streaming, voice recognition, SMS reader, USB and AUX ports and TomTom Live* navigation system. The touchscreen also allows you to check your fuel savings, eco-performance and service status which is essential to get the most from this motor as you can adapt your own driving to maximise fuel efficiency.
And that’s not even mentioning the adaptive cruise control, climate control, Visibility Pack (Rain and dusk sensors and electrochromic dipping rear-view mirror), Chrome Pack (chrome window, gear lever, fog lights and grill surrounds), Rear view camera, Driver’s seat electric lumbar support and 17” alloy wheels. Let’s not forget that this is a car that starts at just £13,485.
Dynamically, the Tipo delivers it’s superior ride quality due to McPherson independent suspension in the front and lateral dynamic control at the rear, providing the driver with excitement and comfort in equal measures. Fiat have cleverly introduced additional elements of technology within the general levels of engineering excellence to enhance safety and the overall driving experience. Fiat’s Slip Regulation system (ASR) uses the brakes and engine control to optimise the traction of the hatchback, particularly on slippery roads whilst the Tipo’s Hill Holder, a feature more usually found on the current crop of SUV, helps with hill-starts by keeping the brake applied for around 2 seconds, allowing you to pull away on a gradient with no trouble.
With a mix of petrol and Diesel present, ranging in size from 1.3 to 1.6L, Fiat are clearly looking to satisfy fans of both engine types with the Tipo. The 1.6 MultiJet 120 hp Diesel is an impressive power plant delivering it’s full complement of horses at just 3750 rpm and 236 ft/lb of torque at a lowly 1750 rpm, all of which which gives you a superb response the moment you press the throttle. With peak torque available from the off, the Fiat allows you the luxury of virtually instant gratification as the power is right where you want it on the road. Overtaking is a pleasure as you’re not having to worry about selecting the correct gear and rev combination to safely pass the car in front as this 1.6 MultiJet engine flatters you with the wide spread of power available.
In the Tipo you don’t get the feeling that the engine is overpowering the rest of the chassis rather the Fiat combines the two to great effect. The Fiat may (only) arrive with 120 bhp but the manner of the delivery is paramount as it allows the Tipo to be equally satisfying on the motorways and A roads as it is on smaller country roads. And let’s not forget, this is all whilst delivering up to a claimed 76.3 mpg on the combined cycle and CO2 emissions of 98 g/km.
This is a practical family car with a good size 440L boot, excellent economy, stylish looks and a spacious interior in which to spend your time and all whilst not compromising the driving experience available. The final word should be left to Fiat who state that: It used to be that if you wanted to get more in a car, you had to pay more. But now that’s all about to change. The new Tipo range is turning things upside down, by offering you a better class of car without asking for a penny more. How’s that possible? Simple: Tipo offers you more. For less.
Where will you go?