Faithful readers know that the Fiat Tipo has truly impressed us already, and indeed we looked forward to an encore with a test of the five door hatchback version. Read further about our findings…
Hans Knol ten Bensel
We also tested the 5Door Tipo with the equally astonishing 1,3 liter Multijet 2 diesel engine…
First of all, let us tress here again that the Tipo is a very important car for the FCA Group. The Tipo family was designed in Italy by the Fiat Style Centre and developed in Turkey together with Tofaş R&D, one of FCA’s largest research and development centres, involving a dedicated team of over 2,000 people during the three-year development process. During that time, the models were thoroughly tested over a total distance of 8.7 million kilometers, in order to be ready for sale in over 50 countries in the EMEA area. The cars are built in one of the world’s best automotive factories, the Tofaş plant in Bursa, which has been awarded a Gold Medal in the World Class Manufacturing classification. Just that you know…
State of the art Multijet II engine…
The “savoir faire” of a global car maker like Fiat truly shows when you slide behind the wheel of this Tipo. Turning the key sparks a supersmooth 1,6 liter Mulitjet II engine to life, which is totally unimpressed by the below zero temperatures we witnessed during our test. Even when cold, It runs ever so smoothly, and also the gears of the six speed manual are selected without the slightest effort. Indeed, the mechanical refinement of this drivetrain is exceptional. Performance also leaves nothing to be desired, with plenty of pulling power, warranted by the healthy torque of 320 Nm at 1750 rpm.
Peak power of 120 HP is reached at merely 3750 rpm. 0 to 100 is absolved in 10,1 seconds, top speed being 200 kmh. This almost equals the top speed and acceleration times of the 911T flat six Porsche, back in 1964…
Of course, the design and construction of this engine embodies state of the art diesel technology. The secret behind this and also the 1,3 liter engine is the third-generation Common Rail MultiJet II injection system, the high-tech solution for controlling high injection pressures, whatever the engine speed and injected fuel quantity. In practice, the engine introduces small amounts of fuel (pilot injections) to optimise noise and emissions and, with the main injection, manages the injected quantity of fuel necessary to provide the performance required by the driver, ensuring particularly smooth engine operation in all situations.
A variable geometry turbocharger is fitted, and of course the engine responds to the Euro 6 norm.
Cruising at legal motorway speeds is restful and effortless, thanks to high gearing, good sound deadening, with the excellent straight line stability and comfortable suspension doing the rest.
The Tipo feels equally well at home in the city, with power steering delivering that extra assistance in ” city” mode, and the progressive clutch and the slick gearbox adding further to the “zen” driving experience we enjoyed when driving this Tipo in dense everyday urban traffic.
The Tipo is therefore a quite pleasant companion in your daily motoring life, with moreover its excellent economy putting an even broader smile on your face.
Pottering along across the city boulevards in fifth gear means you can enjoy an instant consumption below 3 liters, and it is quite astonishing how little fuel one uses when driving sedately and with anticipation. The manufacturer quotes 3.7 litres/100 km of fuel consumption and 98 g/km of CO2 emissions.
It proved no effort at all to achieve average consumption figures around 5 liters, and even below that figure.
Astonishing 1,3 liter MultiJet 2 Diesel…
The dynamic Fiat PR people also presented us a test with the 1,3 liter 95 HP MultiJet engine, and it too proved smooth, powerful and frugal. Smooth it is, and it offers delightful responsiveness as well as driving pleasure. Indeed, there is fun to be had at the gearlever of the smooth five speed box as this engine needs to be revved a bit more to deliver ample performance.
Moreover, it revs up eagerly with a very pleasing note as well. The gearbox ratios are also ideally adapted to the torque and power curve of this engine. Torque is healthy 200 Nm already available from 1500 rpm. Third gear is also just sufficiently low to be used as a driving gear at the urban speed limit of 30 kmh, letting the engine run smoothly at 1200 rpm or so, resulting in below 3 liters instant speed consumption.
So is this Tipo frugal in town traffic? You bet. It will also cruise effortlessly at legal 120/140 kmh speed limits, with the engine humming nicely, almost inaudibly close to 3000 rpm in fifth… Acceleration from 0 to 100 is absolved in 12 seconds, top speed being 185 kmh. Mind you, this is faster than a 1963 Porsche 356 1,6 Litre Coupé, which needed 13,9 seconds to reach 100 kmh, and clocked a top speed of 172 kmh… and this was considered by the whole world as a very fast car then, used by traffic police!
The Tipo is quite spacious, front and rear passengers being treated to excellent seats and more than adequate legroom. In terms of size, the 5-door model is 4.37 m long, 1.79 m wide and 1.50 m high. We like the Tipo styling both inside and out, with this Tipo looking just as good, and maybe even better, in the 5 Door hatchback version.
Also the interior is quite pleasing, well finished and the quality, touch and feel of the materials used totally belie the price class of this car. We love the naturally rounded Fiat styling, and were also quite pleased with the infotainment equipment.
Fiat has been wise to take TomTom under the arm to develop the navigation system, and the ease of use together with the accuracy sets a benchmark for many. We like especially the full size keyboard arrangement so you can type easily the chosen destination.
The line-up offers remarkably generous standard equipment and débuts the innovative UconnectTM 7″ HD LIVE system, featuring a 7″ high-resolution colour touchscreen display with capacitive screen that the user can pinch and swipe just like a tablet. All this is complemented by active and passive security systems.
Well balanced handling combined with comfort
The know how of the FCA group clearly tells also when we focus on the chassis. McPherson on the front axle and interconnected wheels torque beam on the rear. The two layouts are optimised to reduce weight, without compromising the dynamic driving experience. The Tipo steers nice and handles totally predictable and forgiving, and offers very good Gran Turismo comfort.
The 5Door Tipo is everything a good, well balanced car should be, in terms of style, size, finish, performance, handling , economy and last but not least value for money. The dynamic PR people of FCA Group Belgium assured us that this clearly reflects in the sales results so far…
Hans Knol ten Bensel