The Fiat Tipo is available in hatchback or station wagon body styles and offers generous levels of space for occupants and all their luggage. It is economically priced and generously kitted out with all the latest infotainment systems.
The goodPractical, economical and easy to drive
The badToo much plastic inside the cabin
Fiat Tipo hatchback 1.6 MultiJet 120hp Lounge
At a time when the motoring world seems to have gone SUV-crazy it’s worth reflecting on the value of the family hatchback and Fiat has just sent out a strong reminder of its importance.
By adopting a ‘value-for-money’ approach from the off, Fiat has resurrected a blast from the past and introduced its latest family hatchback called the Tipo.
Car enthusiasts will be familiar with the Tipo name as it was in production back in the 80s and 90s and although new Tipo carries the same name that is where the similarities end.
That’s because today’s Tipo is far bigger and boasts one of the most spacious interiors in its segment. Admittedly, if you are seeking a luxurious cabin that oozes upmarket leather upholstery and looks like its rolled off the set of the latest Star Wars movie, then this is not the car for you.
If, however, you are looking for a family hatchback that is great value then read on. I’m not for one moment suggesting the Tipo lacks refinement because the range-topping model supplied for my test drive featured the likes of LED daytime running lights, 17-inch alloys, roof rails, body-coloured bumpers and chrome door handles. Move inside and the interior is feature-rich too with a sat nav system, DAB radio, Bluetooth, automatic climate control and what appears to be the world’s tiniest touchscreen at just five inches.
The car carried a £18,485 price-tag, but special paint bumped the cost up to £19,035. However, it’s worth noting that this is the price of the highest specced car and the Tipo range starts from just £13,215. The test model could sprint from 0 to 62mph in 9.8 seconds and maxed out at 124mph. According to official figures, it could deliver combined fuel efficiency of 76.3mpg with carbon emissions of 98g/km.
And it’s this fuel efficiency and low CO2 figure that helps keep costs down for Tipo owners. During me week behind the wheel I clocked up almost 300 miles in the vehicle and the fuel gauge was still hovering around the half-a-tank mark.
The Tipo is also practical which is essential when catering for a family’s needs. Storage options include generously-sized door pockets, proper cup holders that would securely hold a hot drink, a decent glovebox, a central bin and a couple of convenient trays. The boot has a 440-litre capacity, which increases with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat. Unfortunately Fiat hasn’t measured it for an exact figure, but it’s big!
The switchgear is well positioned and simple to use and there is a soft-touch dashboard, but in my opinion the interior is rather let down by the presence of too many hard plastic surfaces.
But, on the plus side, the Tipo is one of the easiest cars to drive. It’s not super dynamic but is comfortable cruising at motorway speeds, weaving through congested city traffic or being unleashed on the faster country lanes. There is ample power on tap from the 1.6-litre 120hp diesel engine and the six-speed manual gearbox is both smooth and responsive. The road-holding is impressive even when pushed hard into bends and, despite a little engine rumble, the cabin is generally well-insulated against outside sounds.
There is a City Driving Mode which lightens the steering making it easier to manoeuvre and park, and the driver benefits from good all-round visibility.
Comfort levels are excellent and back seat passengers are treated to oodles of room with plenty of leg, head and elbow space for two adults or three if you don’t mind rubbing shoulders.
All in all, the Tipo is a smart family hatchback that’s very practical, comfortable, economical and easy to drive.