£13,995 - £19,995 Price range
44 - 83 MPG
With the reborn Fiat 124 Spider winning hearts left, right and centre, is the Fiat Tipo Station Wagon as pleasant a surprise? And can it beat the likes of the SEAT Leon ST, Kia Ceed Sportswagon and Skoda Octavia estate?
Well, unlike the Fiat 500, there is nothing retro in the Tipo’s design but, unfortunately, there’s nothing particularly modern, either. The interior is ‘treated’ to old-fashioned looking black plastics everywhere. There are some light grey details, but when you consider the playful inners of the 500, we can only conclude that Fiat could and should do much better, even if the construction does feel relatively sturdy.
There’s not much to complain about when it comes to passenger space, though – both the front and rear seats have an impressive amount of legroom and decent headroom. A bit of a whine can be directed at the high driving position, which makes it feel like you’re sitting on the car rather than in it, although as a consequence you get a decent view out.
Boot space is where the Station Wagon really needs to impress and with a 550-litre capacity it holds an 110-litre advantage over the Tipo hatchback but is slightly smaller than the ones found in the SEAT Leon ST and Skoda Octavia. Fold the seats flat to the floor and there’s a huge (but as yet un-figured) usable space with two smaller pockets on either side.
Sadly, although interior space is about par for the class, the driving experience falls well below it, suffering from excessive body roll, lifeless steering and offset pedals. And there’s more to come – the sloppy manual gearbox feels old and tired and the automatic falls far behind being a byword for speed or precision.
The choice of engines isn’t brilliant either – you get an even split between petrol and diesel but the only one worth considering is the 1.6-litre diesel that, unlike the rest of the range, manages to be both acceptably pacey (just) and frugal. It is free to tax, returns fuel economy of 76mpg and gets from 0-62mph in 10.1 seconds.
Equipment levels are good (hallelujah!) – all cars get USB and Bluetooth phone connectivity, DAB radio, air-conditioning and all-round electric windows. Spending around £1,000 more on the mid-range Plus model is highly advisable because that brings you Fiat’s Uconnect infotainment system with a five-inch screen, rear parking sensors, 16-inch alloy wheels and cruise control – while another £1,000 buys you top-of-the-range Lounge trim with sat-nav.
If this practical estate sounds like your ideal new car, use our Fiat Tipo colours guide to pick the perfect paint shade.
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