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What do middle-class families in Italy enjoy eating? I’d put fifty bucks on a pizza. Simple to make, good value for money and if well made - is mouth-wateringly delicious. It’s simple.

 

From food to cars. 

 

What do middle-class families drive in Italy? I’d put fifty bucks on a mid-sized hatch or compact sedans, like Ford’s Focus or VW’s Golf. But, if we’re speaking Italy, hypothetically, I’m going with a Fiat – keeping in context to my narrative. Having been to Italy, I recall their loyalty - in both food and cars. You’d be hard pressed finding a Mustang or a hot dog in Florence. 

 

Fiat has reintroduced the Tipo from the late 90’s. Not lovable and quirky like their 500. The new Tipo is Fiat’s answer to sensibility. Pitched as a budget-friendly hatch and a compact sedan, it’s been pitched to undercut its competition in the cost department. But budget cuts go hand in hand with other cuts, too.  

 

So, what’s it like to drive? 

It is aesthetically handsome without being particularly stunning. The Tipo is generously sized. It’s unique looking, combining practicality and European flair - especially regarding its snazzy studded grille. On the inside, it looks like fifty shades of black. As a result, it is sober. As part of Fiat’s cutback strategy, the plastics are hard and scratchy. Don’t flick your fingers on them - it’ll hurt. 

 

On the upside, the cabin is comfortable and spacious. Switchgear is good especially the automatic climate control. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case with the indicator stalks - they feel flimsy. But overall, the interior environment is pleasant. There was an extensive use of sound deadening material so noise levels are quiet. 

The Tipo offers a comfortable ride. Dynamically, don’t expect it to corner like a Ferrari, because it isn’t a Ferrari. 

 

But, if you feel the Tipo’s Italian passion pulsating through its chassis, its breathless engine line up will reign in your mischievous thoughts.

 

The Tipo comes in two body styles, three trim levels, three engines and three types of gearboxes. The sedan is available in Pop and Easy specification, while the hatchback is available in Pop, Easy and Lounge trim. 

 

On the spec front, the Tipo has a hands-free Bluetooth interface, audio streaming, text reader and voice recognition, aux/USB ports with iPod integration, and controls on the steering wheel.  A rear parking camera and the new TomTom 3D built-in navigation system are optionally available on all models except the Easy. So, it is nicely tooled!

There is manual air conditioning (on the Pop versions) and automatic air conditioning (on the rest of the range), electric front windows, electrically adjustable door mirrors with defrosting function and the 60/40 split rear seat (excludes sedan POP version). POP models feature 16-inch steel wheels fitted with covers. Easy models feature 16-inch alloy rims, LED daytime running lights, chrome door handles, body coloured mirror covers and a leather steering wheel. A reverse camera is standard on the hatchback Lounge model, and an optional extra on all models except the Pop. Again, well-endowed in pleasantries.

 

The Lounge trim, exclusive to the hatchback, features 17-inch alloy wheel rims, chrome details and a leather steering wheel and gear shift knob. Comfort and safety features include rear parking sensors, front fog lights, automatic climate control, cruise control, a front armrest and driver's seat with optional lumbar adjustment. UConnectTM infotainment system with Navigation as standard.

 

Driver and front passenger airbags are standard, with side and curtain airbags as an option. Also, standard is electronic stability control (ESC), There's also Panic Brake Assist (PBA), which intervenes in case of emergency braking by increasing the braking force; ABS; traction control (TCS), and Hill Start Assist, which maintains brake pressure for approximately two seconds after the driver releases the pedal.

Also available is Cruise Control on all Easy and Lounge models and can be selected as an option on the hatchback Pop model.

 

Plus +

Value for money

Nicely spec’d

Quiet

 

Minus -

Lacklustre engines

 

Pricing

Hatchback

1.4 Petrol Pop Hatch - R249 900

1.4 Petrol Easy Hatch - R269 900

1.4 Petrol Lounge Hatch - R289 900

1.6 Petrol Easy Auto Hatch - R294 900

 

Sedan

1.4 Petrol Pop Sedan - R229 900

1.4 Petrol Easy Sedan - R249 900

1.3 Diesel Easy Sedan - R274 900

1.6 Petrol Easy Auto Sedan - R274 900

 

Service and Warranty

All Fiat Tipo models come with a standard three years/100 000km warranty and service plan.

 

My Choice

1.4 Petrol Easy Hatch - R269 900

www.fiat.co.za

 

 

 

 

 

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