Fiat Tipo Station

Wagon 1.6 MultiJet

Lounge

Fiat Tipo Station Wagon, front, action
Fiat Tipo Station Wagon, side, static
Fiat Tipo Station Wagon, side
Fiat Tipo Station Wagon, interior
Fiat Tipo Station Wagon, rear
Fiat Tipo Station Wagon, rear, action
Fiat Tipo Station Wagon, boot
Fiat Tipo Station Wagon, front

WE all love to bag a bargain. Ever more so after suffering the ravishes of recession.

How else have certain German supermarket chains thrived, and pound stores sprung up everywhere...

And it's the same with cars. Yes, badges are still important but we also want to get plenty for our hard-earned money.

This is where the Fiat Tipo Station Wagon comes in...a family-size estate with a boot big enough to swallow up half a street's luggage and a price tag more like a supermini. It even looks prettier than the hatchback - in my view - and can carry 20 per cent more cargo. All this for just £1,000 more than the ordinary five-door.

The model I drove was the 1.6-litre MultiJet diesel which has enough mid-range clout to embarrass a few hot hatches yet sips fuel at a miserly rate.

The great thing about the SW's design is that the load area is really low so hauling heavy items aboard is a synch. What's more there's no lip and the tailgate opening is good and wide, leaving space for 550 litres of cargo. Fold the 60-40 split back seats down and the space more than doubles. There is, however, a small step in the floor.

Although available also as a 1.4-litre petrol, it is the diesel that wins the popularity contest for its economy and usable performance. The 1.6-litre knocks out 118bhp, which is sufficient to polish off the 62mph dash in around 10 seconds and go on to a max of 124mph.

While it has few aspirations towards sportiness, the Tipo is a good drive with composed handling and a decent ride that smoothes out all but the worst bumps and potholes. Steering is a tad woolly but you notice this when really pressing on.

The standard six-speed gearbox is light but the change isn't the smoothest in its class.

With emissions of below the magic 100g/km, economy is impressive. Most owners will be regularly capable of getting 50mpg-plus, and the official combined figure is 76.3mpg.

Because of the general level of refinement, you find distances are covered quickly and in relaxed fashion. The diesel engine has a bit of a van-like rattle at idling speed but soon quietens to a distant hum.

The cabin is plain but well finished with clear dials and switches that are nicely weighted giving an impression of quality and future longevity. A small touchscreen is set in the centre of the dash incorporating sat nav, while the steering wheel is sprinkled with further controls including those for the audio system.

No shortage of space for passengers with generous headroom front and back and a decent amount of legroom for all aboard. The big boot has a second floor where valuables can be hidden.

In Lounge trim, as tested, you get climate control, parking sensors, reversing camera, sat nav and driver's seat with lumbar support.

FAST FACTS

Fiat Tipo Station Wagon 1.6 MultiJet Lounge

Price: £19,795

Mechanical: 118bhp, 1,598cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 124mph

0-62mph: 10.1 seconds

Combined MPG: 76.3

Insurance Group: 15

C02 emissions: 98g/km

Bik rating: 21%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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