The spacious, relatively economical Fiat Tipo five-door hatchback marks the Italian brand’s return to the small family car market where it faces stiff competition from the likes of the SEAT Ibiza and Kia Cee’d.
The Tipo is available with a choice of two petrol and two diesel engines in five different power outputs. The entry-level 1.3-litre diesel model comes with a five-speed manual gearbox while larger engines benefit from a six-speed manual. A six-speed automatic gearbox is offered on 1.6-litre petrol and diesel cars and Fiat has announced a dual-clutch version will be available in the near future.
Its interior is a departure from the retro-inspired Fiat 500 range and focuses instead on basic functionality and occupant comfort. The rear seats have an impressive amount of legroom and the tall rear roofline provides decent headroom. As a result, three six-foot tall passengers can sit in the back for shorter journeys. Standard equipment on entry-level cars might disappoint some customers although a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and sat nav is available on higher-spec models.
The 440-litre boot is more spacious than those in the Nissan Pulsar (350 litres) and Renault Megane (384 litres) but lags behind the Honda Civic’s capacious 478-litre load bay. The rear seat bases can be flipped forward allowing the seat backs to be folded completely flat and the lack of discernible load lip makes loading heavy or bulky items easy, too.
The Tipo is a reasonably priced car that needs more than that to be competitive in this end of the market
The Tipo does a good job of blending cheap running costs with impressive practicality and a reasonably refined ride in a distinctive and sharply-styled package. The selection of engines on offer might be sparing, but two efficient diesels and a number of rev-happy petrols should mean there’s a Tipo to suit the needs of most potential customers.