Fiat returns to the small family car market with their new hatchback the Tipo writes Hannah Gordon
What is it? A conservative family hatchback for people not wanting to blow their budget.
Who is it aimed at? With its generous interior space and harsh plastics it suits extremely well to a family, the large boot is capable of swallowing some serious luggage and the rear seats have isofix points. The Fiat Tipo offers superb value for money, whilst it has fairly dull styling and an uninspiring drive it would be a great addition to a growing family.
And styling? Don’t expect Italian flamboyance with the Tipo, the family hatchback market is a very ‘safe’ styled segment and the Tipo doesn’t wow the crowd. It is however pleasant enough and has a striking resemblance to the popular Vauxhall Astra. The Lounge spec does come with body coloured bumpers, 17 inch alloys and LED Daytime running lights as standard. The Fiat Tipo’s colour pallet is rather limited though with Silver looking the brightest and best option, although metallic paint will set you back £550 extra.
Under the bonnet? The Fiat Tipo comes with plenty of engine and gearbox choices, there are two petrol engines (1.4 and 1.6 litre) and two diesel engines (1.3 and 1.6 litre) and three gearbox choices (5 speed,6 speed and twin clutch auto) The sample vehicle had the 1.6 litre diesel with the 6 speed gearbox, it proved smooth and had plenty of acceleration when called upon. The selling point of the Tipo is its impressive economy figures, and with buying a budget car you also want to keep fuel prices down which is what the Tipo gives you.
What about inside? Not the most pleasing experiences within the cabin. I found it hard to get a decent driving position and I didn’t find the seats that comfortable, although I’m sure it would suit other people better. The harsh plastics are abundant but should last longer as this is a family hatchback after all. The infotainment screen isn’t the largest and does get lost within the dash arrangement, it is also fiddly to navigate on the move. The Fiat Tipo has plenty of standard features such as Air Con, central locking, DAB radio, Bluetooth and USB connectivity.
On the road? The set up on the Fiat Tipo is ok, with the suspension and chassis absorbing most of the UK road issues but with that comes an uninspiring drive. Cornering is spongy and the steering gives limited feedback, whilst the engine is peppy it does get loud in the cabin under acceleration and the six speed gearbox isn’t the most user friendly. Whilst these issues are noticeable at the start, after a weeks driving you really just get used to it.
What about safety? A recent Euro NCAP mark of three stars does have it lagging behind other rivals such as the Ford Focus and the Vauxhall Astra, but this is because of the lack of safety systems as standard such as Lane assist, speed assist and no autonomous emergency breaking. These shortfalls are present due to the budget price of the car. Even with the safety pack option ticked you will still only get a four star top score.
What are my options? A Comfort plus pack is available that includes leather heated front seats and costs £750 extra. There are also two safety packs, safety pack A comes with a speed limiter and automatic emergency braking for £250, Safety pack B has the same but also adds Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) for £500. Tinted windows is an extra £175 and a height adjustable passenger seat is £150, metallic paint as I mentioned above is an added £550.
Will it break the bank? A huge plus point for the Fiat Tipo is its impressive economy figures, the 1.6 litre diesel manages a reported 76.3 mpg on a combined cycle and has a CO2 output of just 98g/km which at the moment means it has zero road tax (after April 2017 road tax changes in the UK). Obviously take the mpg figures with a pinch of salt as day to day driving will see these fall to the mid 50’s.
So the verdict? The Fiat Tipo is a decent package and with the base model starting at under £13k its hard to fault, but to get a car that’s easier to live with you would want something higher spec and this press car was over £17,000 which puts it into Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra territory. A family car needs to be hardwearing, economical and safe, although the Tipo does seem to tick the first two it does struggle with safety. The low Euro NCAP result would put plenty off and certainly Fiat’s aren’t seen as the most reliable in the market. But the Tipo does offer great value for money, plenty of space and the engine choices should cater for everyone, there is also an estate version which gives you 110 litres more boot space.
Why you’ll buy one? Price; Spacious; Economical
Why you won’t? Styling; driving dynamics
Ford Focus – prices starting from £19,495
Vauxhall Astra – prices starting from £16,735
Kia cee’d – prices starting from £14,515
|FIAT TIPO HATCHBACK|
|ENTRY||1.4 Petrol 95hp MT||£12,995|
|ENTRY||1.3 MultiJet II Turbo Diesel 95hp MT||£14,995|
|MID||1.4 Petrol 95hp MT||£13,995|
|MID||1.6 E-TorQ 110hp AT6||£15,995|
|MID||1.3 MultiJet II Turbo Diesel 95hp MT||£15,995|
|MID||1.6 MultiJet II Turbo Diesel 120hp MT||£16,995|
|MID||1.4 T-Jet Turbo Petrol 120hp MT||£14,995|
|MID||1.6 MultiJet II Turbo Diesel 120hp DDCT||£17,995|
|HIGH||1.4 Petrol 95hp MT||£14,995|
|HIGH||1.6 E-TorQ 110hp AT6||£16,995|
|HIGH||1.3 MultiJet II Turbo Diesel 95hp MT||£16,995|
|HIGH||1.6 MultiJet II Turbo Diesel 120hp MT||£17,995|
|HIGH||1.4 T-Jet Turbo Petrol 120hp MT||£15,995|
|HIGH||1.6 MultiJet II Turbo Diesel 120hp DDCT||£18,995|
Max speed: 124 mph
0-62 mph: 9.8 seconds
Emissions: 98 g/km
Model price range: from £12,470
No of Doors: 5
Euro NCAP : 3/4
Fuel type: Diesel
Fuel Economy (combined cycle): 76.3 mpg
Boot Capacity Seats up: 440 litres
Length: 4368 mm
Width: 1792 mm
Height: 1495 mm
Wheelbase: 2638 mm
28th March, 2017