The Tipo hatchback is back from the ‘80s, facing a new set of rivals
- Spacious interior
- Good value
- Unexciting to drive
- Not especially quick
Further swelling the ranks of the mid-sized family car market is the Fiat Tipo Hatchback, which replaces the Bravo after a two-year hiatus.
The Italian brand’s got a habit of dusting off previously used nameplates from its back catalogue – witness the recent Fiat 124 Spider as another example – but the one and only previous generation of Tipo disappeared from pricelists back in 1995.
Most sold in the UK will be five-door hatchbacks but there’s also a Tipo Station Wagon estate, while a four-door Tipo saloon is also under consideration for British sales. A Tipo Trekking with pseudo-SUV looks is highly unlikely.
So what’s the new Tipo up against? What isn’t it up against would be an easier question to answer. Essentially everything in this sector, from the stalwart Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and Volkswagen Golf trio, to highly competent rivals in the forms of the Hyundai i30, Kia Ceed and Skoda Octavia.
Roomy and comfortable hatchback
Disappointingly, the Fiat Tipo lacks much in the way of Italian brio, although this isn’t a reflection of the fact it’s manufactured in Turkey.
It’s a relatively ‘safe’ design that doesn’t make much attempt to stand out from the crowd, and despite a smattering of interesting detailing – the headlights, grille and bodyside creasing, for instance – it nevertheless blends in with the plethora of generic Eurohatches on sale.
There’s plenty of space once aboard the Tipo, including a welcome 440-litre boot, which makes it one of the roomiest in the class. Unlike its original namesake, the rear seat is designed in such a way that the central passenger position is inferior to the outer two, being narrower and firmer.
Fiat claims to have maximised the benefits of the spacious interior by making the Tipo especially comfortable to drive. While it isn’t bad, it doesn’t set new class standards in this regard. Neither, sadly, does it feel satisfyingly wieldy to pilot along winding B-roads.
Economical petrol and diesel engines
Five engines will comprise the Fiat Tipo’s British line-up, with a pair of diesels and a trio of petrols. ‘Modest’ best describes their performance attributes, the whole range producing between 94bhp and 118bhp. The highest top speed mustered by any of them is 124mph, while the 1.4-litre T-Jet petrol’s the quickest for 0-62mph sprints at 9.6 seconds.
In truth, that T-Jet motor and 1.6-litre MultiJet II diesel – both with 118bhp – offer the best combinations of adequate performance and decent fuel economy. It’s also the larger 1.6-litre diesel, as opposed to the smaller 1.3-litre edition, with the lowest CO2 emissions at 98g/km.
Manual transmissions feature as standard, apart from the 1.6-litre E-TorQ petrol which is exclusively available with a six-speed automatic. There’s a six-speed twin-clutch automatic – DDCT in Fiatspeak – available as an option on the larger of the diesels, too.
Well-appointed and good value
Three levels of Tipo trim hierarchy are available - Easy, Easy Plus and Lounge, plus a special Elite company car spec.
All Tipos will come with air-con, Bluetooth connectivity and DAB radio, including entry-level models that start at under £13,000 at the time of its 2016 launch.
Build quality feels fine for the price although the early-build examples we tested displayed a few squeaks and rattles, and some of the plastics do feel cheaper than those your fingers will experience in the likes of an Astra, let alone a Golf.
Read on for the full the Fiat Tipo Hatchback review to find out how good it is.