By Ian Strachan
The often-overlooked Fiat Tipo has been around for a while and has always been a pleasing car to look at, with a good range of engines and high build quality. But now its got whole lot better.
The latest Tipo – which comes as a hatchback or station wagon or the stylish Tipo Street, boasts great practicality and more than enough room, a high specification and five engine choices.
The design of this mid-sector offering is strong, well-balanced and pleasing; more eye catching than its predecessors. Its sharply-lined profile and assertive road stance set it apart.
Inside too, the design is attractive as well as practical, with adequate leg and headroom despite its low roofline, and a huge boot which can be made even bigger by folding the 60/40 split rear seats. The seats are comfortable, with supportive sides. And there’s plenty of space around the cabin for keys, phone, money and other bits and pieces.
From the wide range of engine options I test drove the 1.4 litre 120 bhp T-Jet petrol version in S-Design trim level which comes in at a pretty reasonable £18,150 on the road. The Tipo range starts at £14,550 for the entry level model. Extras as standard in this trim level include smart 18-inch alloys, steering wheel mounted controls, satellite navigation via a seven-inch touchscreen, all round electric windows, cruise control, automatic climate control, rear parking sensors with camera, electrically adjustable heated door mirrors, leather steering wheel, leather and fabric seat trim and a good DAB radio with media inputs and Bluetooth.
You also get tinted windows, rain and dusk sensors, emergency autonomous braking, bi-xenon headlights and fog lights. My car had metallic paint for an extra £550.
The 1.4 litre, 120 horsepower petrol unit is a good performer. It manages a respectable 47.1 mpg for mixed driving, and pulls well throughout the range of a slick, pleasant-to-use six-speed manual gearbox.
Ride and handling are comfortable and confident. Steering is taut and precise, and the car feels substantial and composed, even when cornering at speed.
The Tipo deserves to be more popular with British drivers. Hopefully this latest version should ensure it does just that.