Fiat Tipo Hatchback

Easy Plus 1.4 T-Jet

Fiat 124 Tipo hatchback
Fiat Tipo, front
Fiat Tipo, front
Fiat Tipo, front
Fiat Tipo, rear
Fiat Tipo, rear
Fiat Tipo, rear
Fiat Tipo, interior
Fiat Tipo, boot

IT'S sometimes necessary to speak the unspeakable ... some folk are NOT car nuts.

Yes, I know, it's hard to conceive but out there, people exist who have limited interest in motor matters, driving and even in cars themselves.

For them, a vehicle is purely a means to get from A to B. No amount of banter about torque, understeer or acceleration figures will hold their interest.

They do however need wheels and they are likely to purchase a practical, family type model that performs its task safely and inexpensively, is capable of carrying the necessary clutter and won't bust the bank to buy.

Not for them the latest fashion fad, or rear spoiler that will boost down force.

One of the cars that could feature on their shopping list is the Fiat Tipo, an understated but efficient five-door hatch with a price tag just north of £15,000, which makes it one of the best deals around.

Despite its unpretentious exterior, a glance at the spec sheet shows it to be a pretty useful performer with 62mph coming up in 9.6 seconds and a max of 124mph. A few years ago these would have been hot-hatch stats, and even now they are impressive for a ‘non-sporty' hatch.

And passenger space is better than you'd imagine from a car that measures less than 4.5 metres long. The luggage area, too, is roomy with a 440 litre boot.

The low pressure turbo 1.4-litre petrol engine pushes out 118bhp and offers more low down punch than most rivals meaning that little gear changing is required. All this helps towards a relaxed gait and low noise levels.

The gear change is, in fact, one of the lightest and best around. Swapping cogs in the standard six-speed box is fast and smooth.

While the Tipo doesn't make out to be sporty, its handling is light and wieldy with decent levels of cornering and pleasantly weighted steering. It raises no protest at being hurried along and can cover distances swiftly and competently.

Despite the punchy performance, the petrol Tipo is light on the wallet. My average was 45mpg and 50mpg is easily possible on long, gentle journeys.

The cabin lacks the flair and styling of the iconic baby Fiat 500, instead offering a reasonably comfortable and practical environment. The mouldings used for the fascia are black, soft touch plastic but the doors get a less tactile covering which isn't so user friendly.

Front seats are wide enough but the backrests are too flat and offer little support. Space in the rear is ample and the rear seats split and fold but they don't make a perfectly flat floor.

The entry model gets air con, DAB radio and Bluetooth. And the mid-spec Easy Plus version tested also benefits from parking sensors, rear electric windows, alloy wheels and cruise control. Only on the most expensive Tipo is sat nav, reversing camera and climate control included.

FAST FACTS

Fiat Tipo Hatchback Easy Plus 1.4 T-Jet

Price: £15,485

Mechanical:118bhp, 1,368cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 124mph

0-62mph: 9.6 seconds

Combined MPG: 47.1

Insurance Group: 13

C02 emissions: 139g/km

Bik rating: 26%

Warranty: 3yrs/unlimited miles

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