Fiat have been somewhat quiet in the Irish market over the last year. Their cars are better than ever before though. The 500x impresses, and while the 500 itself is not to everyone's tastes, it is a popular machine among some. They haven't really been capturing the imaginations of the hatch class in recent years. Times are changing though, and with the Tipo, Fiat really are in a good position to compete.
The Tipo is not going to thrill you with extreme performance figures. This car is not about that, but who knows what's in store for the future. No, for the moment we are going to have to do with a selection of smaller diesel and petrol 4-cylinder offerings. The smallest offering is a 1.3 litre, Multijet II, diesel. This brings you from 0-100km/h in 12 seconds and has a top speed of 180km/h. Next up is a 1.4 petrol engine which covers the same distance in 12.1 seconds and has an on-paper top speed of 185km/h. The 1.6 ETorq engine gives 0-100km/h in 11.5 seconds, but the quickest of the lot is the 1.4 T-Jet, which goes from 0-100km/h in 9.6 seconds. Also available is a 1.6 Multijet II (0-100km/h in 9.8 seconds). The horsepower on offer ranges between 95 and 120. As we noted, this car is not about high-end performance, it's certainly a family machine.
On the road, the Tipo is impressive for what it is (an affordable family car). It feels solid and the suspension set-up deals with Irish road imperfections without much drama. The steering is very light when you choose the city steering mode, but things stiffen up a bit on other settings.
The car can be subject to wind noise once you start making your way towards motorway speeds. The 1.6 diesel engine which we tested is both efficient and economical on paper, but it can be loud when the foot is urging it to get to that 120km/h on the motorway. Apart from wind noise and engine growl, the interior is sturdy and if Fiat could calm the noise elements, this could be a very comfortable cruiser.
The plastics on the door panels feel a bit cheap, but the actual dash board itself is soft to the touch. There is good manoeuvrability in the front seats and the steering wheel is easy to adjust. The infotainment system is small, but easy to use and they have installed their Uconnect.
Fiat scored 4 stars in the Euro NCAP. The car scored 82% for adult occupancy and the results suffered because low scoring regarding child occupancy (60%) and pedestrian safety (62%). This is not to say that the Tipo is not a safe vehicle, however, per the NCAP results, they should be scoring higher.
Space in both the front and rear cabin is very good. The rear offers good leg and head room and three adults could fit in there without much effort or discomfort. The Tipo is available as an estate, a family hatch and a saloon. Boot space is good with the following measurement respectively; 550 litres, 440 litres and 520 litres – which means the Tipo scores very highly for practicality.