Friday, 15 December 2017

Italian flair runs through Fiat's 'Best Buy' winner

Italian flair runs through Fiat's 'Best Buy' winner

THERE is something deliberately “retro” about the new Fiat Tipo and after spending some time with the car I rather liked its dare I say muted “old-fashioned” values.

I know that will not cut much ice in today’s ruthlessly competitive car market — after all, cars are being updated and remodelled almost as frequently as mobile telephones. The demand for the new and exciting is insatiable.

But that is the way of the world in 2017 and can only get more acute as markets contract. In coming years only the best and most desirable models will survive.

That is not to say that the new Fiat Tipo is a car that doesn’t meet all the needs of today’s motorist.

Everything is certainly in place and it’s competently and well put together. Yet the Fiat Tipo might struggle in the popularity stakes — at present it’s a fact that there are more exciting models around.

So let’s concentrate on the positive aspects of this motor car and there are a lot: it was certainly well received when it won the 2016 Best Buy Car of Europe award.

In both Tipo five-door hatchback and Tipo station wagon (estate) there is plenty of room for driver, passengers and any loads. The hatchback version I have been driving has a boot capacity that is best in class with a volume of 440 litres.

The station wagon version adds an additional 110 litres of boot space at 550 litres.

Five engines are available — two diesel and three petrol — with automatic and dual-clutch transmission an option.

UK specification includes air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity and DAB digital radio on all versions.

Then there is the look of the car. This is one aspect of car manufacture where Italians are seldom seen to be wanting.

Indeed, although the Tipo does have a purposeful retro style — as a sort of homage to the model’s antecedents — the look is definitely run through with quiet Italian flair.

There are some useful storage compartments easily reachable by driver and passengers. There is also a USB port for charging and connecting devices. I found the car quite comfortable to drive and appreciated the lumbar support on the driver’s seat on long drives.

Both the hatchback and station wagon come in three trim levels.

The entry-level trim is equipped with air conditioning, remote central locking, front electric windows, body-coloured door mirrors with electric adjustment, six airbags, DAB digital radio, chrome door handles, split rear seats, a front seat centre arm rest, USB and Bluetooth connectivity with steering wheel remote controls.

The station wagon adds rear electric windows and longitudinal roof bars.

The mid-range trim level adds a five-inch Uconnect touchscreen infotainment system, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear knob, rear power windows, LED daytime running lights, 16-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, rear parking sensors and cruise control.

Also included with the mid-level version are the Uconnect live services, which combines with a smartphone app (available via the App Store or Google Play) to offer music streaming with Deezer and TuneIn, news from Reuters and the ability to stay in touch with friends via Facebook and Twitter.

The top trim level, which is priced just £1,000 above the equivalent mid-level version, builds on the specification of the mid-range Tipo but adds satellite navigation with TomTom live services including HD Traffic, climate control, 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic lights and wipers, rear view camera, driver’s side lumbar support and a chrome pack all as standard.

The engine range comprises five engines. There are three petrol engines, a 1.4-litre 16v, a 1.4 T-Jet turbo petrol and the 1.6-litre e-TorQ engine and two turbo diesel engines — a 1.3-litre MultiJet II and a 1.6-litre MultiJet II.

The 1.3-litre MultiJet II 95hp engine is equipped with a five-speed manual gearbox and Start & Stop as standard. Official combined cycle fuel economy figure is 76.3mpg and CO2 emissions are 99g/km for both hatchback and station wagon.

The top diesel engine in the range is the 1.6 MultiJet II 120hp unit and in the Tipo it is combined with a six-speed manual gearbox or Fiat’s new DDCT six-speed dual clutch automatic transmission.

Official combined cycle fuel consumption figure and CO2 emissions are the same for both bodies — 124mph, 76.3mpg and 98g/km respectively.

Fiat Tipo

l With both body styles the new FIAT Tipo offers roominess with class leading legroom and boot space

l Five engines available, two diesel and three petrol, with automatic and dual-clutch transmission available

l The top diesel engine in the range is the 1.6 MultiJet II 120hp unit

l High standard UK specification includes air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity and DAB on all versions

l Top trim level adds satellite navigation with TomTom LIVE services including HD Traffic, climate control, 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic lights and wipers, rear view camera, driver’s side lumbar support and a chrome pack all as standard

l Prices start at just £12,995 OTR for the FIAT Tipo hatchback and £13,995 OTR for the Tipo station wagon

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