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Fiat Chrysler recently launched the Fiat Tipo hatchback and its sedan sibling to the South African market – marking the brand’s return to the medium-compact segment. Reuben van Niekerk reports
Fiat’s Tipo is described as combining the brand’s historic concepts of functionality, simplicity and personality in a value for money offering, with a range of engines and trim levels designed to appeal to all pockets.
Locally two body styles, three trim levels, three engines and three transmission types are available. The sedan is sold in Pop or Easy versions while the hatchback adds a Lounge configuration.
The engine range includes one diesel- and two petrol-fuelled derivatives that target the 70 to 81kW market. Transmission choices extend to five- or six-speed manual options, or six-speed automatic, depending on the engine.
The Tipo hatchback is welcoming, practical and ideal for comfortable journeys. Designers have adhered to the most modern ergonomic criteria, resulting in excellent comfort, space configuration, accessibility, visibility and driving position.
In passenger form, the Tipo can accommodate up to five adults, the rear end incorporating a long, horizontal roof profile to provide added headroom. Legroom is also said to be class leading.
The boot offers generous space, 440 litres for the hatchback and 520 litres for the sedan with the sill situated low to facilitate the loading of even the bulkiest of items. The hatch features rear seats that can be folded down in a 60/40 split, expanding boot space substantially.
The exterior at the front is characterised by a chrome-embellished horizontal mesh grille aligned dynamically to form a graphic motif that compliments the Fiat emblem. LED daytime running lights on hatchback versions further emphasise the nose’s strong character.
The long bonnet is common to both body styles, but the rear silhouette of the hatchback is compact and sporty. A form line running from the headlights to the sculpted taillights dominates the sides of both cars.
The 1,4 litre, 16-valve engine delivers 70kW at 6 000 revs/min and 127Nm at 4 500 rpm. The engine is combined with a six-speed manual gearbox.
The 1,6 litre delivers 81kW at 5 500 rpm and 152Nm at 4 500 rpm and is mated to six-speed automatic transmission.
The 1,3 litre MultiJet II engine ensures good performance and low running costs and includes a Stop/Start system. It produces 70kW at 3 750 revs/min and 200Nm from the 1 500 rpm mark thanks to a variable geometry turbocharger. The model is paired with a five-speed manual gearbox.
The Tipo features latest-generation audio systems including Bluetooth, audio streaming, text reader and voice recognition, AUX and USB ports with iPod integration and controls on the steering wheel. A rear parking camera and TomTom 3D built-in navigation system are available as options on all models except the Easy.
Comfort and practicality are taken care of via manual air-conditioning on the Pop versions and an automatic system on all other models. Pop models feature 16-inch steel wheels fitted with covers while Easy derivatives incorporate 16-inch alloy equivalents, LED daytime running lights, chrome door handles, body coloured mirror covers and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Lounge trim – exclusive to the hatchback – features 17-inch alloy rims, chrome details and leather covered steering wheel and shift knob. Comfort and safety features include rear parking sensors, front fog lights, automatic climate control, cruise control, front armrest as well as Fiat’s UConnect infotainment system with navigation. A reverse camera is standard equipment
The Tipo offers modern active and passive safety devices such as driver and front passenger airbags while side and curtain airbags are available as an option.
Standard safety features include electronic stability control, panic brake assist, ABS with traction control and hill start assist. Cruise control is standard on Easy and Lounge variants and an option on Pop models.
The new car features a suspension layout comprising independent MacPherson struts at the front axle and an interconnected torque beam axle at the rear. These two layouts have been optimised to reduce weight and contribute to improved fuel efficiency, without compromising the dynamic driving experience.
In my view, the Tipo meets the needs of informed, pragmatic and solution-oriented customers who are looking for a versatile set of wheels that can be used to fulfill personal, family and work requirements with style, economy and favourable pricing.