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Date: 05 Feb 2018 Author Type: Public Review
Author: Julian Lurie Edited by Liam Mothilall
Source: Julian Lurie
Late last year Fiat, Chrysler Automobiles in South Africa launched their all new Fiat Tipo in both sedan and hatchback variants. The new Tipo marks the Fiat's return to the medium-compact segment and with its modern good looks and roomy interior; it should achieve a reasonable share of its segment. Locally in addition to the two body styles, there are three trim levels, three engines and three transmission types available. The sedan is available in the POP or EASY versions whilst the hatchback will be available in the POP, EASY or LOUNGE configurations. The engine range comprises of one diesel and two petrol derivatives with a choice of 5 or 6-speed manual gearboxes or a 6-speed automatic transmission, depending on the engine. The model featured in today’s road impressions is the Fiat Tipo 1.3L Easy Sedan.

The Tipo was designed in Italy by the Fiat Style Centre and developed in Turkey at one of Fiat’s largest research and development centres. The first thing worth noting is that in appearance, the Tipo is a very stylish looking car and in the typical Italian way, the looks are quite eye-catching for a 4-door sedan. The front end is dominated by the attractive full-width grille, narrow headlights and sculptured bonnet, while the colour coded body, chrome door handles, front fog lamps, rear “B” Sting antenna and attractive 15-spoke alloy wheels, which on the press vehicle were shod with 205/55R16 Pirelli tyres, add the good looks. Good news is that under the boot-board is a full size spare wheel.

The Tipo will accommodate five passengers very comfortably, even tall folk up to 1.87m in height at the front and 1.80m in the rear travel in comfort, and combined with the new dashboard layout, ensures great visibility. The driving position is also excellent. Legroom is generous, measuring 1.07 m between the edge of the front seat and the passenger's heel and 934 mm for the rear seat. Additionally, the rear seatback splits 60/40 and can be folded down for extra luggage space. The 4-spoke multi-function steering wheel is fully adjustable and the controls for the air conditioning, radio and control panel fall nicely to hand, while a media centre for connecting devices is situated in front of the gear lever.

The boot is enormous, allowing for 440 litres in the hatchback and 520 litres for the sedan. The boot sill is low and step-less, for easy loading, even the bulkiest of packages. At the sides of the luggage compartment, two panels for holding small items can be removed to further increase the width of the luggage compartment, plus there is 12 litres of space for oddments in various compartments.

Standard features include cloth upholstery, Bluetooth, the latest generation audio system, a 12 volt plug, auxiliary input and USB point, electric windows, electrically adjustable door mirrors and electric power steering. Safety features include driver and front passenger airbags, electronic stability control, rear parking sensors, hill holder, a Start&Stop system and a tyre pressure monitoring system

The Fiat Tipo 1.3 Turbo-Diesel Easy Sedan is powered by the 1.3 MultiJet II 1 248cc in-line 4-cylinder turbo-diesel engine developing 70 kw at 4 000 rpm and 200 Nm of torque at 1500 rpm and transfers power to the front wheels through a 5-speed manual gearbox. In acceleration tests, the Fiat Tipo 1.3L diesel did the 0 to 100 km/h dash in 12.5 seconds after two gear changes and goes on to a top speed of 183 km/h. In terms of fuel usage, Fiat claims a diesel consumption of a remarkable 3.7 litres per 100 kms in the combined cycle, but over the week I had the car on test, the trip computer showed that I had averaged 5.3 litres per 100 kms, which is still very good.

The Fiat Tipo is an easy car to drive with all switches, buttons and levers within easy reach of the driver. For driving around town the ride was very comfortable and although the turbo-diesel engine can be heard at idle, once you get moving, the noise disappears, and will only be heard again under quick acceleration such as for quick overtaking, or when you have to drop a gear or two up steep hills. At a steady 120 km/h on the freeway the motor turns at just 2 950 rpm in 5th gear and if you’re brave enough to get to 160 km/h, which it does quite effortlessly, it revs at 3 700 rpm. On the twisty roads and sweeping corners, the Fiat Tipo feels well-planted. It holds its line well while the steering gives the driver pretty good feedback for an electric system.

All in all, the Fiat Tipo as tested felt well-balanced, gave a comfortable ride and was economical on fuel. The recommended retail selling price of the Fiat Tipo 1.3 Turbo-Diesel Easy Sedan is R274 900 which includes a 3 year/ 100 000 km warranty and service plan.
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