Fiat Tipo tops on

value

Fiat Tipo, 2016, front
Fiat Tipo, 2016, front, action
Fiat Tipo, 2016, side, action
Fiat Tipo, 2016, side, moving
Fiat Tipo, 2016, side
Fiat Tipo, 2016, rear, action
Fiat Tipo, 2016, interior
Fiat Tipo, 2016, rear
Fiat Tipo, 2016, front, static
Fiat Tipo, 2016, side, static
Fiat Tipo, 2016, rear, static
Fiat Tipo, 2016, display screen
Fiat Tipo, 2016, rear seats
Fiat Tipo, 2016, 1.6 MultiJet diesel engine
Fiat Tipo, 2016, boot
Fiat Tipo estate, side

ANOTHER name from the past is returning to the Fiat fold as an all-new Tipo is released as both a hatchback and an estate.

Last used by Fiat some 25 years ago the Tipo name is as steeped in Italian automotive heritage as the famous 500 and even the recently resurrected 124 Spider.

The new Tipo sees Fiat making a comeback in the medium-sized family car market and as such it's pitched against the likes of the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra.

Strong alternatives but Fiat is hoping to steal a march by making the Tipo larger than the rest and surprisingly competent to drive.

We tried out some range topping 1.6-litre diesels in both body styles and neither cost more than £20,000.

In fact, the Tipo range kicks off at £12,995 - and that's a supermini price for a car from the league above.

Its strong points are space and comfort throughout, excellent luggage capacity at 440 litres in the hatch and 550 in the estate and, on the models we sampled plenty of urge and good economy.

Mid-40s to the gallon was easily achievable on a long run through Snowdonia to the Welsh coast. Acceptable though that was, it's still a fair way off the 76.3mpg Fiat claims as the official fuel figure which gives the Tipo a tax-friendly CO2 rating of 98g/km.

Fiat is also using its 1.3-litre diesel engine in the new Tipo and its 1.4-litre petrol in various states of tune and turbo boost.

There's also a 1.6-litre petrol automatic and the option of a dual clutch transmission on the 1.6 diesel.

The engines we tried felt well suited to the Tipo with the larger estate feeling a little more taut through corners.

With the engine developing 120bhp there's a good amount of power giving the hatch a respectable 0 to 60 time of 9.8 seconds. The estate is a fraction slower but both top out at 124mph and the fuel figures are the same for both models.

Noise insulation was good and when asked the Tipo jinked through bends with quite a sporty flair.

The 1.6-litre diesel powertrain can be had in mid-range trim priced from £16,995 and as the range topper it costs from £17,995 making the Tipo highly competitive.

The estate costs £1,000 more and looks the better thanks to a sleek roofline emphasised by a slight aerodynamic cut out in the roof top - a feature of both models.

In practical terms the estate can handle loads up to 1.8 metres long, has a large, flat boot floor and comes with roof rails as standard.

Removable side panels in the luggage area can increase the width and the luggage blind can be stored under the boot floor which can be clipped up at an angle for convenience when using the low level compartment.

Comfort levels are high on both hatch and estate versions and rear leg and headroom is above par for cars in this class.

For the money the Tipo is a very cost effective offering and the only niggle is the five-inch touchscreen used for the sat nav which in this day and looks a little dated,

All versions come with a digital radio and Bluetooth but sat nav appears only on mid-grade Easy Plus models and is carried over to the top specification Lounge cars.

In between, Fiat is offering the Tipo in an Elite specification specifically aimed at company car drivers.

It's based on the Easy Plus 1.6-litre diesel but costs £1,000 more, is tuned to reduce emissions to 89g/km which is the equivalent to 84.1mpg and attracts a relatively mild tax hit of 18 per cent.

To cater for business needs it also comes with sat nav, automatic cruise control and autonomous emergency braking as standard - quite a package for less than £19,000.

It's a good looking, very roomy car that is competent on all fronts and in diesel guise very friendly on the pocket.

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