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Top Tipo Tested - Is Fiat's Cheap And Cheerful Hatch Up To Scratch?
Andy Harris, Motoring and Property Editor
The Fiat Tipo was last sold in the UK some twenty years ago. Now it is back on sale in the UK, ready to do battle in a crowded and competitive market.

I was unable to attend the launch late last year and therefore was pleased to welcome a top-spec 'Lounge' model to the wilds of Yorkshire for extended testing.

The new Tipo is attractively styled but lacks the design flair of some of the Italian manufacturer's other offerings. Practicality and value for money are more the order of the day here.

The cabin boasts comfortable seats front and rear, with enough head and legroom for all but the tallest of passengers.

The dashboard is sensibly laid out and all major controls fall easily to hand. The touchscreen is rather on the small side and is therefore unnecessarily fiddly to use. It is an odd move especially as top models boast satellite navigation and all models boast Apple CarPlay and Android connectivity.

Boot space is a generous 440 litres and the low load lip makes it easy to load heavy or bulky items.

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Those used to soft touch materials will find the Tipo's interior trim quality a letdown. Scratchy plastics are the order of the day and whilst there's an air of durability, most rivals do it better.

There's no shortage of standard kit with flagship 'Lounge' spec. Smart alloy wheels, automatic climate control, parking sensors and camera, cruise control and satellite navigation are there to be enjoyed.

Fiat offers and choice of two petrol and two diesel units in the Tipo. The more powerful 1.6-litre MultiJet oil-burner is tested here. The 120PS engine will power the car from 0 to 62mph in just under ten seconds and it feels pleasantly brisk on the road.

There's a noticeable kick when the turbocharger cuts in which can make progress in the lower gears a little jerky. The slick six-speed gearbox has a light action and is a pleasure to use.

This engine also boasts excellent green credentials with a huge 76.3mpg forecast for the combined cycle. Expect an easy 50+mpg in everyday use. CO2 emissions are commendably low, just sneaking in under the all important 100g/km mark.

Fiat has set the Tipo up to ride well and only the worst sections of pock-marked roads intrude into the cabin. Wind and road noise are well suppressed making the car a relaxing long distant cruiser.

Handling is safe and secure, with commendably little body roll but the rather lifeless steering doesn't encourage.

As tested the Tipo costs £18,145 and must do battle with some rather talented rivals (Golf/Focus/Astra).

However the range starts at just £13,345 and at this price point it all starts to make more sense.

Low running costs, a well equipped and comfortable interior and decent driving characteristics should help attract buyers.

However many will be wooed by the excellent PCP deals on offer and those looking to buy will be attracted by the zero percent finance offers. Why not pop down to your nearest Fiat showroom and take a look for yourself?

Fast Facts

Fiat Tipo Lounge 1.6 MultiJet
Price £18,145
120PS 1,598cc diesel engine
0-62mph in 9.8 seconds
Top speed 124mph
Combined economy 76.3mpg
Emissions - 98g/km CO2
36 month/60,000 mile warranty

Top Tipo Tested - Is Fiat's Cheap And Cheerful Hatch Up To Scratch?, 17th March 2017, 8:53 AM