WHEN Fiat launched the first Tipo nearly 30 years ago it was voted European Car of the Year and appeared to have a bright future but after seven years it went out of production and the model name disappeared until this year for the Italian company has just introduced a new Tipo and this one could be a real success.
Like the first Tipo the new model which is designed in Italy and built in Turkey has already won a top award but after test driving it I feel that this time round the car which is being sold in the UK as a hatchback and estate could have a bright future in this market sector.
For it has a very roomy interior and load area and is very good value for money especially at the lower end of the price range where it starts at £12,995 and is very well equipped when compared with rivals such as the Vauxhall Astra and Ford Focus.
And it also has an attractive shape that should provide it with plenty of showroom appeal especially up front that will make it more marketable at this end of the market where buyers are more interested in value for money.
My test car was the five door Hatchback 1.6 MultiJet 120hp Lounge with the four cylinder diesel engine priced at £17,995 on the road which provided a top speed of 124mph a zero to 62mph time of 9.8 seconds with a combined fuel consumption of 76.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 98g/km that means no road tax to pay.
It had a very impressive level of standard equipment including a Uconnect 5" touchscreen with DAB radio, reversing camera, Bluetooth and a navigation system with Tom Tom LIVE services although I would have preferred a larger screen which would have been more user friendly and easier to see.
I was also pleased to see that under the floor of the very roomy rear load area there was a spacesaver spare wheel which is much more preferable to a puncture repair kit that many manufacturers now offer.
The new Tipo is a deceptively large hatchback especially inside where there is ample passenger space in the rear and the instrument panel is easy to see through the steering wheel and there is also a digital speedometer right in front of the driver that is clearly visible at all times along with other useful information on the trip computer.
Fiat say there is so much room in the rear that there is enough space for three six feet plus passengers thanks to class leading leg and headroom although I would not fancy being the one in the middle on a long journey!
The six speed manual gearshift was solid and precise and helped to make the driving experience with the lively and economical diesel engine linked with the handling and comfort levels most enjoyable. Fiat's decision to launch another
Tipo in this very competitive market has come in for some scepticism from certain motoring writers but I believe that with this latest model the Italian company could have come up with model that will have plenty of appeal to certain potential buyers particularly family owners on a budget.
For it has pleasant styling good economical engines with plenty of space inside and at the rear with lots of standard kit even from the entry level models and with such tempting prices Fiat could well find they have have a car that will appeal to motorists in this niche sector who are not bothered about the likes of the Astra and Focus but more about value for money which the Tipo certainly is and in this respect it ticks all the right boxes.
Model: New Fiat Tipo 1.6 MultiJet 120hp Lounge.
Engine: 1.6-litre diesel. Output: 120ho @ 3750 rpm.
Transmission: Six speed manual.
Top speed: 124mph.
Acceleration: 0 to 62mph 9.8 seconds.
Fuel consumption: 76.3 mpg combined.
CO2 emmissions: 98 g/km.