Over the last decade, some strange cars have left Italy with a Fiat badge gracing the front and rear, cars that were hugely practical but were so odd they never really worked. Think of the Fiat ‘Multipla’ or perhaps the ‘Croma’ maybe even the not so bright ‘Idea’ as prime examples.
There have been a few other models that have never really worked at putting up stiff competition to rivals whilst at the same time selling in large numbers due to varying reasons such as reliability issues and a lack of quality with a high price tag.
More recently Fiat seems to have regrouped and recharged, mostly I would say off the back of the hugely popular and successful Fiat 500 which has sold worldwide in huge amounts. The positives from which have spread throughout the company and as such Fiat have a strong and affordable line-up on offer today.
This all new Fiat Tipo is one car that comes to the family hatchback market with affordability in mind and offers great value with the five door hatchback starting from just £13,345 and the estate variant starting from a very sensible £14,435.
A trio of petrol engines are on offer starting with a 1.4L producing 95bhp which is mated to a 6 speed manual gearbox whilst a punchy 1.4L T-Jet produces 120bhp and is also paired to a 6 speed manual ‘box whilst finally a 1.6L E-Torq is available producing 110 bhp which comes with a 6 speed automatic transmission.
The good ole Norn Iron favourite, the diesel has a pair of engines on offer starting with a 1.3L Multi-Jet producing 95bhp which is mated to a 5 speed manual ‘box whilst a 1.6L Multi-jet producing 120bhp is available with a 6 speed manual or 6 speed DCT ‘box.
A hatrick of spec’s are on offer from the Italian maker starting with the ‘Easy’ model which is equipped with Air Con; DAB radio with Bluetooth, USB and Aux-in along with steering wheel controls; spare wheel; remote central locking; 60:40 split rear seats and height adjustable drivers seat as well as electric wing mirrors.
Next up is the ‘Easy Plus’ (as tested) which adds a 5” touch screen radio; leather steering wheel and gear knob; rear electric windows; LED daytime running lights with front fog lamps; 16” alloy wheels; cruise control and rear parking sensors.
Finally a ‘Lounge’ further adds automatic climate control and a navigation system with live services; 17” alloy wheels and rear view camera as well as a chrome pack and visibility pack whilst the estate models across all spec’s also add roof rails; flip and fold rear seats; full sized spare wheel and a height adjustable load platform.
This hatchback model tested thanks to Donnelly Group in Mallusk comes into the segment with a retail price of £17,345 on the road, but with great discounts on offer is available from them for only £14,995 and the only option added to this car is the Sat nav at a mere £500 extra.
The Tipo is quite a nice looking car I will admit and compared to the likes of a Vauxhall Astra or Ford Focus, offers something a little different that will stand out from the crowd and likely wont be just as common.
In estate guise (or Station Wagon as Fiat call it) the Tipo SW is even better looking again and certainly a car that I personally would look into if I go back to owning an estate again anytime in the next few years.
Load space on the hatchback was surprisingly usable as you can see from the image above, with the estate variant offering a further 110L of volume before rear seating is folded flat. Inside the Tipo can be got (depending on model) with either cloth or leather materials and there is a plethora of cubby holes on offer inside the cabin.
Decent room front and rear comes as standard, even for four adults which was surprising but welcomed and with an adjustable front central armrest, comfort was great with seats that supported very well also for such an affordable car.
Materials around the dash and doors is maybe a little utilitarian compared to some rivals, but then this is more than reflected with the within reach costs of the Tipo in comparison. The sat nav built into the dash is a little small compared to many unit on the market today but it done the job perfectly and with ease of use so it’s not really a complaint.
Engine wise, we tested the 1.6L diesel unit with 6 speed manual gearbox and it goes rightly, great around town and it didn’t struggle at all on a decent motorway jaunt like some rivals would when equipped with a similar sized engine.
Driving wise the Tipo does the job perfectly, as someone who drives a sports hatchback with lots of power daily, I can’t say that the Tipo’s drive would excite me personally however as a family car or practical mile muncher it ticks all the boxes with ease, plus a few more.
Overall the new Tipo is a car which will suit the needs of most households andif your in the market for such a car then do not rule it out and give Donnelly’s a shout for more details and a drive, you will be pleasantly surprised.
Words and Photos: Graham Curry