Fiat haven’t had much to offer the world of late, unless it’s 500 related or a rebranded Mitsubishi pickup…or maybe a rebodied MX-5 things have gone rather quiet.
That is until the Tipo was released. A budget family hatch with class leading boot space and rear leg room. Yes, that’s really what it’s marketed on.
We took the 1.6 diesel MultiJet in Lounge trim on some long motorway slogs to see what it’s really like.
Money wise you’re looking at a smidge under £19k for the model you see here, the only option being the £550 Volcano Black paintwork.
Well, it’s deceptively big. Measuring in at 4.37 metres you soon realise the Tipo sits in the space alongside the Honda Civic and Vauxhalls Astra.
There are some nice styling lines to it, but the Tipo looks somewhat stuck between modern and dated. Nothing quite stands out or shouts different.
It’s inoffensive and blends into the crowd.
Our Tipo was powered by the 1.6 diesel MuliJet lump, this made 118 BHP and a rather huge 320 Nm of torque.
0-62 comes up in 9.8 seconds, but it feels rather more spritely than that thanks to all those torques at your disposal.
A 6 speed manual gearbox felt a little woolly at times, being geared rather on the short side you swiftly make it through the first three gears when setting off.
On the motorway you can really eat up the miles in the Tipo, we covered nearly 500 and felt perfectly fresh after every long jaunt. This Fiat is definitely a comfy ride.
Even if it’s a little softer than I’d have liked it sucked up the lumps and bumps with ease…but that comes at a price. Wallowy cornering means the body shifts about more than you’d like it too.
On occasion it can feel as though the body of the Tipo is shifting around sitting atop the chassis. Comfy, just not very connected.
The same can be said for the steering, there’s no feel at all through the leather clad rim and it doesn’t give a connected sensation at all. You can switch the Tipo into ‘City’ steering mode, which lightens it yet further for around town usage.
Engine noise can become a bit tiresome at higher revs, but keep it in the middle of the power band and you’ll be safe.
One thing the Tipo trumps though is the miles per gallon, we managed 50 MPG from 474 miles of town and motorway use. Fiat claim the 1.6 MultiJet will get 64.2 Urban, so it’s not far off that.
As with a budget vehicle you should expect plastic. Lots of plastic.
It’s not the best looking, equally it’s not the worst looking either. And with the entry level model starting at £13,795 what more do you expect?
You’ll also notice the teeny tiny infotainment screen which is standard on Easy Plus trim and up. Measuring in at 5” it looks laughably small compared to the plethora of other offerings in competitor’s vehicles.
But, you know what…it did the job just fine. It was all we needed. The Sat Nav is TomTom based, it was clear enough and easy to read even on the small screen. I really grew to love its simple nature.
I have to mention the stereo too. It was great for standard set up. Clear, loud and bassy. Perfect.
Now, about those class leading stats.
Rear seat legroom is pretty gargantuan, with an average sized driver up front you can properly stretch your legs out. It’s all a bit Vauxhall Signum back there.
Boot space, again is huge. Measuring in at 440 litres it seems it’s not quite as class leading as Fiat would have you believe. Maybe it was upon launch, but the Honda Civic is in the C Segment…it has 478 litres. Hmm.
Either way it’s massive and can easily swallow a couple of suitcases.
I think the Tipo has had a bit of a bad rap so far from the auto press. Sure it’s not as dynamically proficient in its handling as say the Civic, Golf, Astra, but if you’re after a cheap family hatch you could do far worse.
Ideally you want some poke to it, so the 1.4 T-Jet (petrol turbo) would be the one to get. That means you have to have ‘Easy Plus’ trim (yes, it’s really called that) the price then goes up to £15,795.
The cheapest 5 door Golf starts at £18,420. Civic? £18,475. Even a comparative Astra with nav is £17,235.
The only car that can beat it is the ultra-budget Suzuki Baleno at £13,999, but that simply can’t compete on size and space.
So yes, for the money the Fiat Tipo is a great little family hatchback. Comfy, roomy with decent levels of kit on offer.
Owner / Editor of Carwitter – French car fiend, hot hatch lover. Follow @car_witter