Fiat Tipo S-Design

Fiat Tipo, front
Fiat Tipo, rear
Fiat Tipo, front
Fiat Tipo, interior
Fiat Tipo, boot

IT'S amazing how the introduction of a particular colour can add a new dimension to a car's appeal.

With the launch of the S-Design version of the Fiat Tipo the Italian car maker also introduced the new Street Grey colour, which somehow has the ability to dramatically increase the kerb appeal of this attractive family hatchback.

Admittedly it's not necessarily a colour that appeals to everyone - my neighbour somewhat disparagingly called it battleship grey - but it's certainly a colour which makes people take a second glance.

But it's not just the new colour that makes the S-Design stand out from the rest of the Tipo range.

This latest variant adds bi-xenon headlights, 18-inch diamond cut alloy wheels, tinted rear side windows and body coloured door handles, not to mention a new look grille.

Changes to the inside include new style Techno leather and ribbed fabric seating - which holds you firmly in place on tight corners - and the addition of a high-resolution seven-inch touch screen for the infotainment system.

But for all the changes it's the value for money and spacious interior which tend to appeal most to family buyers.

At just a whisker over £18,000 the Tipo S-Design is hard to beat for a car of this size which offers generous five passenger seating and is impressive when it comes to comfort.

Forwards and backward adjustment of the driver's seat has to be done manually but the backrest operates electrically so you can get the perfect angle.

Luggage space too is generous thanks to a very deep boot area which can accommodate some 440 litres of suitcases or grocery although the deep lip can be a little awkward when lifting in heavy loads.

It's a car which is not lacking on creature comfort either, with satellite navigation, DAB radio and a multi-function steering wheel all part of the package.

A button on that wheel also allows you to use the voice recognition system for numerous on-board functions from temperature control to changing the radio station.

Powered by a 1.2-litre, 120 bhp petrol engine the Tipo S-Design offers good pulling power and reasonable acceleration, hitting 62 miles per hour in a respectable 9.6 seconds.

The ride is good if a little firm and the steering too tends to be a little on the heavy side but there is no problem when it comes to parking in tight spots as one touch of a button on the dashboard brings into play Fiat's famous City Parking system which lightens everything up, almost allowing you to spin the wheel with two fingers.

Use it in conjunction with the reversing camera with its overlayed parking gate system which shows exactly where you are heading and parking becomes a cinch.


Fiat Tipo S-Design

Price: £18,150

Mechanical: 120bhp, 1,368cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via six speed manual gearbox.

Max Speed: 124 mph

0-62mph: 9.6 secs

Combined MPG: 47.1

Insurance Group: 14

C02 emissions: 139 g/km

Bik rating: 28%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles


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