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Fiat keeps it simple with practical, spacious Tipo

PUBLISHED: 07:02 27 October 2016

Fiat Tipo is a practical, comfortable and well-priced family hatchback workhorse.

Fiat Tipo is a practical, comfortable and well-priced family hatchback workhorse.

PA

Fiat's new family hatchback gets an old name and old-school simplicity, but there's something likeable about that, as James Fossdyke found out.

What’s new?

Pretty much everything about the Tipo is new, apart from the name. Last seen on a boxy hatchback of the 1980s and 90s, the Italian nameplate is back on a practical Fiat.

This Tipo takes on the likes of the Kia Cee’d and Hyundai i30 at the budget end of a market led by the ever-popular Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf. It’s a no-nonsense, no-frills family car, and comes with a simple engine range, simple model line-up and simple, yet stylish, design.

Fiat Tipo

Price: Lounge 1.6 MultiJet II 120 £17,995 (range from £12,995)

Engine: 1.6-litre, 118bhp four-cylinder turbo diesel producing and 236lbf.ft of torque

Transmission: Six-speed manual, driving front wheels

Performance: 0-62mph 9.8 seconds; top speed 124mph

MPG: 76.3 combined

CO2 emissions: 98g/km

Looks and iamge

Although one of Fiat’s budget offerings, it’s a pretty good-looking car. It doesn’t jump out at you in the way cars like the Ford Focus do, but there’s something appealing about its understated handsomeness.

Inside, the cabin is made up of various bits and bobs from the Fiat-Chrysler group’s parts bin but they feel well put together. Even though it’s a bit dark, the cabin looks quite stylish.

Space and practicality

The Tipo is monstrously practical, offering a sizeable 440-litre boot that’s competitive in the segment and makes some big-selling rivals look cramped.

It’s the same story in the cabin, where there’s plenty of room for passengers front and rear, with decent headroom, plenty of legroom all round and lots of storage cubbyholes.

Behind the wheel

The cabin is well suited to long distances, but the driving dynamics are even better suited to touring. It’s comfortable even over poor surfaces, and the 1.6-litre diesel engine is punchy with decent refinement.

The Tipo is no driver’s car – the steering is numb around the straight-ahead position but urban driving is simple with light low-speed steering and commendable visibility.

It’s economical, too, thanks to frugal diesel engines. Petrol units include 94bhp 1.4-litre and 108bhp 1.6-litre and a 118bhp 1.4-litre turbo and there’s also a 94bhp 1.3-litre turbo diesel.

Value for money

The £12,995 starting price is attractive but most customers are going to want a few home comforts in the mid-range Easy Plus model. It’s £1,000 more than basic Easy variant and offers 16in alloy wheels, a wider engine choice of engines and five-inch Uconnect touchscreen infotainment system.

Range-topping Lounge trim is another £1,000 more expensive and you get an awful lot of kit – satellite navigation, climate control and 17in alloys, automatic lights and wipers and rear-view camera.

There’s a £16,995 business-focused Elite trim with the touchscreen, satellite navigation, safety pack and an environmental upgrade that improves the 1.6-litre diesel’s efficiency.

Who would buy one?

Anyone looking for a practical, comfortable and well-priced family hatchback will find the Tipo fits their needs perfectly. Like the Panda, it’s an honest workhorse that focuses more on family life than fast lap times – it’s all the better for it.

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