Fiat Tipo Cross 1.0

Fiat Tipo Cross, 2021, front, static
Fiat Tipo Cross, 2021, front
Fiat Tipo Cross, 2021, side
Fiat Tipo Cross, 2021, badge
Fiat Tipo Cross, 2021, interior

WHEN I bought a Fiat Tipo back in 1993 it was something of a novelty.

Not only were there not that many of them around, but this particular one was designed to take on the likes of the Golf GTI and the Peugeot 305 GTi.

Dubbed the exotically-named Sedicivalvole (16 valve), the two litre engine delivered, for the time, pretty blistering performance and looked the part as well.

It has gone through a couple of incarnations since then, being replaced by the Bravo/Brava, which I also owned, then the Stilo and then back to the Tipo again just a few years ago.

Now the latest version of the Tipo has been given the steroids treatment with the Cross.

It is a smart-looking car and features the new handwritten style Fiat logo and is a pumped-up version, sitting higher off the ground and given a more muscular look with beefed up bumpers, new grille, skid plates, bits and pieces of cladding and rear privacy glass.

Add the integrated roof bars and smart 17-inch alloys and it looks a bit of a powerhouse, except that it is powered by a relatively small one litre three-cylinder engine.

That's not to say it's not a willing, flexible engine. Like other three-pot engines there is a pleasant rasp under acceleration, and mated to a five speed box hits 60mph in just over 12 seconds.

Despite the muscular stance, looks can sometimes be a bit deceptive and while it looks like it could be an off roader, it is only currently available as two-wheel drive.

At the European media presentation, Fiat said the car would be a true ‘family crossover' intended for a completely new target customer: young families, with a dynamic lifestyle, who seek functionality, emotions, space but also style and content at an affordable price.

It's certainly affordable and looks the part and offers plenty for the price tag of £22,175, with features such as full LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, automatic climate control, rear parking sensors, dimming mirror and the usual array of electric and electronic aids you would expect on a range-topper.

Soft touch finish is fairly scarce but the car has a solid feel with comfortable seats and decent legroom to the rear.

As a crossover it needs to be practical and the folding 60-40 split rear seats provide impressive stowage capacity, with the standard 440 litres of space expanding to an extremely spacious 1,835 litres. There is also an array of cubbyholes and storage areas.

The interior is smart, functional and well equipped with the centrepiece a seven-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation, Bluetooth, USB and DAB functionality together with smartphone connectivity available. A large cockpit display also offers crucial driver information.

On the road the 99bhp engine proves a willing workhorse despite its small size. It feels quicker than the 12.2 seconds, and the big bonus is the economy, with just short of 50mpg achievable, and a low insurance rating.

Despite sitting higher off the ground than the hatchback, it still handles pretty well. Do not expect limpet-like traction on bends, but it is capable and the ride offers the kind of comfort to be expected in family cars.

Safety kit is comprehensive with a full complement of airbags, assisted braking and stability control, driver drowsiness monitoring, hill holder and traffic sign recognition.

FAST FACTS

Fiat Tipo Cross 1.0

Price: £22,175

Mechanical: 100bhp, 999cc, 3 cylinder petrol engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 113mph

0-62mph: 12.2 sec

Combined MPG: 48.7

Insurance Group: 11

C02 emissions: 131g/km

Bik rating: 31%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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