Parkers overall rating: 3 out of 5 3.0
  • Three petrols, two diesels from launch
  • None will deliver heart-racing speed
  • 1.6-litre diesel is the best all-rounder

Three petrols and two diesels provide the power for the Tipo, but performance is best described as adequate across the range. You won’t find any high-performance Abarth versions of the Tipo here.

MultiJet diesel best-suited to the Tipo

Fiat was one of the pioneering forces behind the efficient common-rail diesel engines that are now commonplace, with its MultiJet II motors being the latest evolutions of the breed.

Fully capable of hauling the Tipo’s near 1.4-tonne heft around is the 1.6-litre MultiJet II, serving up 120hp and 320Nm of torque from a slightly higher 1,750rpm, propelling it on to a top speed of 124mph and 0-62mph in 9.8 seconds.

That low-down torque makes this the pick of the Tipo’s powerplants, requiring less to-ing and fro-ing of the standard six-speed manual’s lever to make progress, whether at urban or open-road speeds. It’s pleasingly quiet when cruising.

Claimed economy matches the smaller (and now discontinued) 1.3-litre unit, but CO2 emissions drop to 98g/km.

There’s a twin-clutch automatic called DCT, also with six speeds, but this takes slightly longer to get from 0-62mph at 10.2 seconds.

Fiat Tipo: three petrol options

Producing 95hp, the non-turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol is the cheapest powerplant in the range as well as being the least sprightly.

Just 127Nm of torque’s available from 4,500rpm meaning you’ll have to rev the engine and work the six-speed manual gearbox hard to extract anything close to resembling its 115mph top speed or its 12.1-second claim for 0-62mph.

Officially, Fiat claims Tipos with this engine will average 49.6mpg and emit 132g/km of CO2.

In the middle of the line-up is the 1.6-litre E-Torq petrol, complete with a six-speed automatic as the only transmission.

It produces 110hp and 152Nm of torque, again at a high 4,500rpm, enough for a 0-62mph time of 11.5 seconds. Top speed is 119mph.

This is the least efficient Tipo with an official average of 44.8mpg and CO2 emissions of 147g/km.

Topping the petrol line-up is the 120hp 1.4-litre T-Jet, the turbocharger making the 215Nm of torque much more accessible at 2,500rpm. A six-speed manual’s again your only choice here.

It’s the quickest Tipo available with a top speed of 124mph and taking 9.6 seconds to reach 62mph from a standstill – so everything’s relative. Press on and it does sound strained, not returning to a less-frenzied engine note until you’re back below 3,000rpm.

Officially it’ll achieve 47.1mpg with CO2 emissions pegged at 139g/km.

Discontinued Fiat Tipo engines

Up until July 2018, a 95hp 1.3-litre diesel engine was available producing 200Nm from 1,500rpm. Topping out at 112mph and taking 12 seconds to reach 62mph from a standstill, it wasn't especially fast but offered respectable grunt at low revs. 

A six-speed manual gearbox was the sole transmission. Efficiency benefited though, with overall claims of 76.3mpg and 99g/km of CO2.

  • Fiat claims to have majored on Tipo comfort
  • Steering said to be weightier but remains light
  • Disappointingly lacks much Italian character

There was a time when Italian cars were revered for their keen handling and the ease at which they made you grin from ear-to-ear: the latest Fiat Tipo is not of those models.

In fact, there’s very little evidence of the Tipo’s heritage at all, such is the ordinariness of the experience behind the wheel.

Fiat claims to have reengineered the steering to give it more feel, feeding back to the driver vital statistics about road conditions and level of grip the front tyres are experiencing. It doesn’t deliver in the way a Focus, Leon or even the Astra do, and its weighting feels on the lighter side of average, too.

Bodyroll’s kept pleasingly in check but push the Fiat too hard going into a bend and it’ll soon display understeer traits of the front tyres washing wide, not keeping to the tight line you’d expected.

To be fair, that’s not what the Tipo’s all about, with Fiat at pains to talk up its comfort levels, citing its variable-rate shock-absorbers as the key to success.

Theoretically, these dampers should offer the best of both worlds, being firm on smoother, faster surfaces but becoming more supple when dealing with pockmarked roads.

They work to a degree, but prolonged sections of rough, rippled asphalt and cobbles leave the Tipo unsettled, the suspension constantly trying to settle itself – and its occupants – down as the vibrations gradually peter out.