No-frills five-door Fiat
IT’S sometimes necessary to speak the unspeakable... some folk are NOT car nuts.
Yes, I know, it’s hard to conceive, but out there, people exist who have limited interest in motor matters.
For them, a vehicle is purely a means to get from A to B. No amount of banter about torque, understeer or acceleration figures will hold their interest.
They do, however, need wheels and they are likely to purchase a practical, family-type model that performs its task safely and inexpensively, is capable of carrying the necessary clutter and won’t bust the bank to buy.
One of the cars that could feature on their wish list is the Fiat Tipo, an understated but efficient five-door hatch with a price tag just north of £15,000, which makes it one of the best deals around. Despite its unpretentious exterior, a glance at the spec sheet shows it to be a pretty useful performer, with 62mph coming up in 9.6 seconds and a max of 124mph. A few years ago these would have been hothatch stats, and even now they are impressive for a ‘non-sporty’ hatch.
And passenger space is better than you’d imagine from a car is under 4.5 metres in length.
The luggage area, too, is roomy, with a 440-litre boot.
The low-pressure turbo 1.4-litre petrol engine pushes out 118bhp and offers more low-down punch than most rivals, meaning that little gearchanging is required. All this helps towards a relaxed gait and low noise levels.
The gear change is, in fact, one of the lightest and best around. Swapping cogs in the standard six-speed box is fast and smooth. While the Tipo doesn’t try to be sporty, its handling is light and wieldy, with decent levels of cornering and pleasantly weighted steering. It raises no protest at being hurried along and can cover distances swiftly and competently.
Despite the punchy performance, the petrol Tipo is light on the wallet. My average was 45mpg and 50mpg is easily possible on long, gentle journeys. The cabin offers a reasonably comfortable and practical environment. The mouldings used for the fascia are black, soft-touch plastic but the doors get a less tactile covering which isn’t so user friendly.
Front seats are wide enough but the backrests are too flat and offer little support. Space in the rear is ample.
The Tipo provides low-cost, no-nonsense motoring for families who put practicalities before gimmicks.