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Car Reviews, Hatchback

Fiat Tipo S-Design Review

25 Aug , 2019  

We really loved the Fiat Tipo when we reviewed it back in 2017, an honest, no-frills, comfy medium-sized hatchback which returned great MPG. What could be better?

A Fiat Tipo with go faster looks, obviously.

When the Fiat Tipo S-Design was announced, I was a little excited, genuinely. It looked pretty damn good, and it was a car I already loved. Prices start at £18,225 for the 1.4 16v with 95 HP, but our turbo’d 120 HP 1.4 was pricier at £19,225 before options.

So what’s it like?

 

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Looks

The Tipo is your standard two-box hatchback, nothing amazing. It’s not ugly, it’s not pretty it’s just there.

S-Design removes all the chrome in favour of gloss black, think of it like the ‘Black Edition’ models that Audi sell all day long, many other marques have also jumped on the bandwagon. Chrome is somewhat dated these days and switching to gloss black with darkened headlamps really adds to the Tipo’s street cred.

Large 18” alloys fill the arches nicely and gloss black mirror caps set off the £550 (almost Nardo) Street Grey paintwork. There are five other colour options if this doesn’t take your fancy.

 

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S-Design turns an already great hatchback into something with a little more presence. You can go the whole hog and opt for the £1,350 ‘Sport Pack’ if you so desire. This adds a roof spoiler, front splitter, side skirts and rear diffuser.

Probably an option that nobody will ever spec, but it makes the Tipo appear like a rival to the Hyundai i30N, sadly it doesn’t pack anywhere near that power.

 

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Drive

Our main take away from the Tipo last year was how easy it was to drive, a light gearshift on the 1.4 turbo model continues in the same vein. But although this engine has many more horses under its bonnet, the 1.6 diesel feels far stronger thanks to the added torque.

 

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From a standing start, the Tipo 1.4 T-Jet will hit 62 in 9.9 seconds. It makes 120 HP and 215 Nm of torque. While the petrol is quieter and more refined in general compared to the diesel, in terms of all-round ability and to day to day liveability we’d have to opt for the latter.

Which is annoying as Fiat don’t allow you to pick anything bar the 1.4 petrols in S-Design trim.

Ride is no stiffer than a common-or-garden Tipo. Again, personally that’s a plus. You aren’t going to set the world alight in a Tipo, no matter what the ‘murdered out’ exterior would have you believe, so a comfy, soft ride is absolutely perfect.

 

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There’s a slight amount of body roll in corners, you wouldn’t want to be ‘pressing on’ down a country lane in an S-Design. But on the whole the Tipo S-Design rides well over any surface.

Wind noise at 70 MPH on motorways is more pronounced than it would be in its competitors, but it’s not so bothersome in the grand scheme of things.

MPG was also on the low side with this lump fitted, we could only muster 35 MPG over 200 miles of motorway with some town roads thrown in for good measure. Compare that to the 1.6 diesel, and we managed 50 over the same sort of use.

Fiat claim the 1.4 T-Jet will achieve 31.7 MPG Urban, while the new WLTP rating hits the nail bang on with a combined figure of 34.9 MPG.

 

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Interior

Inside see’s a refresh, gone is the dinky little infotainment screen. In its place now sits a reasonably large 7” touch screen with sat-nav, Bluetooth, USB input, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The system looks far more fitting with its rivals and less of a 90’s throwback as in the lesser specced models.

You’ll also find ‘Techno leather’ and fabric seats, they’re comfy and more supportive than the outgoing ones. There’s also gloss black accents across the dash along with a leather wheel and gear knob.

 

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Sadly, the interior still features the ‘crushed bin bag’ door cards. If they were made from recycled plastic or some other green initiative you could forgive them. But to be made brand new like that is just awful.

Please, Fiat, add a little soft touch to the upper doors, it would make a world of difference.

Rear seat legroom is huge, class-leading no less. While right at the back the boot also measures in at 440 litres, which can only be beaten by the current Honda Civic for space.

 

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Fiat Tipo S-Design Conclusion

While the price has crept up by roughly a grand for the Tipo S-Design, the new interior bits and aggressive external styling are worth the money. It is however a significant downfall to only offer the 1.4 petrol engines.

For me, the diesel combines the best of both MPG and performance, so you’d be better off opting for a ‘Lounge’ model with the 1.6 diesel, that comes in at £20,900. In fact, you can’t get the diesel in anything less than ‘Easy Plus’ trim which is £19,510.

If you want a hatchback that’s firmer, sportier, then look to the new Vauxhall Astra. But if comfort and affordability are your thing, the Tipo is a superb hatch on a budget.

 

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Owner / Editor of Carwitter - French car fiend, hot hatch lover. Freelance writer and car journalist I've turned my passion for cars into my livelihood.