New-look Tipo shows some brio on satnav magical mystery tour
FIAT HAS relaunched its Tipo hatchback and estate with a complete make-over, at prices which may make you swerve away from rivals like the Focus and Astra and Qashqai and give a much-needed boost to UK sales. In the last 11 months they fell 5.6 per cent to drop below 57,000.
Prices for the five-door hatch begin at £12,995 for the 94bhp 1.4 petrol in Easy trim, with a 94bhp high torque 1.3 diesel from £14,995. The petrol is rated at 50mpg and 132g, with a 0-62mph time of 12.1 seconds. The diesel statistics are 76mpg, 99g and 12 seconds.
These prices bring air conditioning, 15 inch steel wheels, remote locking, DAB radio, front power windows, Bluetooth ready. The station wagon (estate) adds rear electric windows and roof bars and costs only £1,000 more - giving extra load space in a longer body.
Move to the Easy Plus range (from £13,995 for the entry petrol) and as well as more kit (touchscreen connectivity with your phone, music streaming, 16 inch alloys, rear parking bleepers, cruise control) there is a choice of more powerful petrol and diesel engines and automatic transmission for both.
The Lounge range (from £14,995) brings navigation, climate control, 17 inch wheels, automatic lights and wipers, rear camera.
This is a smart looker, designed at Fiat HQ in Turin and developed and built in Turkey at Bursa. More cars than you realise are built in Turkey.
So much for the content and creation. On test was the station wagon in Lounge spec with the 118bhp 1.6 “multijet” diesel engine which develops 236 lb ft of torque – that’s a lot for a mid-size car and gives good in-gear response. With manual gears it is rated at 0-62 in 10.1 seconds and a combined economy of 76.3mpg and 98g – the latter meaning no UK road tax and good tax offset for business use. The price is £18,995. “Minimal” grey metallic paint added £550. It did not have the safety packs. I did not crash.
If you live in the world of quiet diesel power you will get a jolt. The Tipo’s 1.3 oiler is rorty with a sporty note – but remains smooth. This was appealing. The car is, after all, Italian and they like brio. How they manage to find anywhere using the navigation system is a mystery. I take the approach that a navigation system should be intuitive, without having to use the handbook.
Even using the handbook I was no wiser. The short entry for navigation (by TomTom) tells you little that you can’t see on the screen – and then not much more. Somehow, I did get one address in but couldn’t repeat the trick.
The interior of the Tipo is otherwise fine, no drama, quite functional. The information touchscreen is smaller than many and looks dated. The rear seats can be folded almost flat, or completely flat if you pull up the hinged bases and stack them upright against the front seats. There is no remote trigger to do this inside the tailgate but that’s not unusual. The load area is large and long, and has useful side pockets for boots, boxes of eggs, your choice.
The car drives nicely and I enjoyed using it. The ride comfort is adequate – quiet enough, with some firmness over bumps intruding, when unloaded.
The fuel consumption was so-so, averaging around 50 miles a gallon most of the time. Trips included a regular 45-miler using A, B roads and motorways. Another country route gave the same result. This is 10mpg lower than even the urban figure in the handbook.
Fiat has taken the decision to make a safety pack an option at extra cost. It brings a speed limiter and automatic emergency braking for £250. The standard Tipo is rated at just three stars in the EuroNcap crash safety ratings. With the Safety Pack it gets four stars but the absence of pedestrian avoidance is a reason it did not get the top five star rating. EuroNcap’s Michiel van Ratingen notes: “The Tipo is marketed as a functional car which maximises value for money. However, to maximise safety, and to bring the car up to the protection levels offered by its biggest rivals in this segment, consumers should not pass over the safety pack.”
Compared with contemporaries like the Kia Niro and latest Peugeot 3008 and Renault Scenic its detail scores are lower, particularly child passenger protection, rated at 60 per cent. The Nero rating is 80pc, the 3008 is 85pc and the Scenic is 82pc.
Fiat’s Tipo gets a complete makeover, with competitive pricing to complement the smart looks and comfortable ride. However, some safety features come as an extra cost.