Practical estate car majoring in value-for-money
- Generously appointed
- Fine value for money
- Roomy cabin
- Dull to drive
- Modest performance
After almost a decade’s absence, the Fiat Tipo Station Wagon marks the Italian brand’s return to the estate car market.
A five-door estate version of the new Fiat Tipo Hatchback, the Station Wagon is one of three bodystyles offered, although the four-door saloon is not yet confirmed for the UK.
While Fiat’s resurrected the Tipo name, the original model was only available as a hatchback – this car is, in effect, a delayed replacement for the Stilo Multi Wagon that went off sale back in 2007.
It faces stiff competition in the lower-medium segment, with a diverse range of established rivals including the Ford Focus Estate, Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer and Volkswagen Golf Estate, as well as competitive alternatives in the forms of the Peugeot 308 SW, Renault Megane Sport Tourer and Skoda Octavia Estate.
Comfortable, spacious estate
Built at Fiat’s plant in Turkey, the Tipo Station Wagon looks more like a stretched version of the hatchback rather than a purpose-designed load-lugger, ditching the utilitarian styling of some rivals.
Save for a few interesting details, particularly the graphics within the headlamps and the grille treatment, it’s an unadventurous design. The Station Wagon doesn’t even get unique tail lights, sharing the boomerang-shaped lamps with the hatchback.
The passenger compartment of the Tipo Station Wagon mirrors that of the hatchback, which is to say it’s roomy but the centre rear passenger gets a bit of a raw deal with a narrower, firmer seat.
As for the boot, there’s 550 litres of space with the rear seats in place. Not only do they split and fold for longer loads, the seat base also rises out of the way to help create a completely flat floor; not something many competitor estates offer.
Ride quality feels comparable to the hatchback’s, which is to say it’s good rather than exceptional, despite Fiat extolling the virtues of its variable-rate dampers. Just don’t expect the driving experience to be one that sates your inner enthusiast.
Efficient petrol and diesel engine range
Mirroring the hatchback, there will be five engines for the Fiat Tipo Station Wagon range, including three petrols and a pair of diesels. None are particularly quick – the most powerful two in the line-up only produce a meek 118bhp.
Not that you’re likely to buy a mid-sized family estate specifically with speed in mind, but the quickest 1.4-litre T-Jet petrol is the only one to crack the 0-62mph sprint with a sub-10-second time.
Most buyers are expected to plump for a diesel to maximise efficiency, with the 1.6-litre MultiJet II version offering adequate performance as well as the lowest emissions at 98g/km of CO2.
All Tipo Station Wagons have six-speed manual gearboxes save for the automatic-only 1.6-litre E-TorQ petrol and an optional twin-clutch automatic, called DDCT, for the larger diesel motor.
Inexpensive to buy, generously appointed
The Tipo Station Wagon will be sold in three trim levels, called Easy, Easy Plus and Lounge.
All Station Wagons come with DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity and air-con as standard, with prices for the 2016 launch starting at sub-£14,000.
Many of the interior plastics feel of lower quality than rivals in this segment as there’s a relentless push upmarket for competitor brands, but nevertheless the Tipo’s cabin doesn’t feel either cheap or nasty. Our early-build test example was blighted with a few annoying rattles, though, including a retractable luggage cover which refused to sit quietly.
Read the Parkers full Fiat Tipo Station Wagon review to discover how effective the new estate is.