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ROAD TEST: Fiat Tipo

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 new Tipo – which comes as a hatchback or station wagon, boasts greater practicality and more room, a high specification and five engine choices.

The design of this new 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. It’s also very safe, with strong Euro NCAP safety ratings.

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 vast range of engine options I test drove the 1..4 TJet petrol version in Lounge trim level which comes in at a pretty reasonable £16,145 on the road. The range starts at £12,995 for the entry level Tipo. Extras as standard in this trim level include smart alloys, steering wheel mounted controls, satellite navigation, all round electric windows, cruise control, automatic climate control, radar parking sensors with camera, electrically adjustable heated door mirrors, leather steering wheel and a good RDS radio with media inputs.

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 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 for a long time. This latest version should ensure it does just that.

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