THE Tipo first made an impact combining fun and practicality when it was launched in 1988.
The latest model, which hit the road three years ago, aimed to follow in its footsteps and has largely succeeded.
A new S-Design version was introduced recently to add sporty styling to the mix - and the result is an eye-catching car that has all the marque's traditional strengths.
You get a motor boasting diamond cut 18-inch alloy wheels and a wide grille featuring glossy black trim which wraps around the fog lights and door mirror caps as well as the bi-xenon headlights.
There are also body-coloured handles and tinted rear windows while no discussion of the S-design's exterior can be completed without mention of the distinctive Street Grey paint job on the motor delivered to Keenan Towers.
One of five colours available it certainly garnered plenty of responses from the neighbours - the vast majority positive - and gives the good-looking hatchback a real road presence.
Step inside and the first thing you notice are the comfortable ‘techno' leather and fabric seats while lots of gizmos are fitted including Fiat's Uconnect seven-inch infotainment system situated in the centre of the dashboard.
The high-resolution touchscreen gives access to the audio system and dinky sat nav as well as your smartphone thanks to the inclusion of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The multi-function steering wheel offers handy buttons for the digital radio's volume, hosts controls for the cruise control system and provides access to a voice recognition system.
Handy aids for the driver include automatic headlights and rain-sensing wipers plus parking sensors and a reversing camera with a parking gate system that makes even the tightest spots a cinch to manoeuvre into.
There's an airy feel about this hatchback with the dual-zone climate control ensuring a pleasant atmosphere while four adults get the head, leg and shoulder room necessary for a relaxing journey. A fifth person can be accommodated although the slightly raised transmission tunnel does impinge a bit on legroom.
The cabin offers a plethora of cup holders and cubby holes for a family's nik-naks - including a lidded box between the driver and the front seat passenger.
The boot is roomy for this size of car with 440 litres available for shopping and luggage. The rear seats split and fold when more space is needed but a slight lip is left so I found loading my golf bag wasn't as easy as it could have been.
Power is provided here by a 1.4-litre T-Jet 120ps petrol engine which propels the Tipo from a standing start to 62mph in 9.6 seconds and on to a top speed of 124mph. It is partnered with a six-speed manual transmission that offers reasonably precise gear changes although it could be slicker.
Fuel consumption is reasonable averaging around 40mpg during my time with the car while emissions are 139g/km.
The ride is smooth as the suspension soaks up most of the horrors on our roads and the handling is sure-footed.