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SENSIBLE SPACE (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
Fiat plays the value card with this spacious family hatch-based Tipo Station Wagon estate. Jonathan Crouch looks at what's on offer.
Ten Second Reviewword count: 48
Fiat's Tipo Station Wagon offers a sensible, spacious and affordable option to rationally-orientated buyers looking for a compact yet spacious five-door estate in the Focus-class segment. If you're not troubled by badge equity and don't need irrelevant niceties of design, it might actually be well worth a look.
Backgroundword count: 179
If you're expecting that from this point, we're going to go on to tell you that Fiat has marshalled all its firepower into creating a definitively dynamic Focus, Golf or Astra estate rival, then you might need to manage your expectations a little. This car comes instead from a project the Italian conglomerate has jointly funded with the Tofas manufacturing firm in Turkey to create a simply-structured, low cost family model for developing markets in the Middle East and Africa. Selected European countries get it too, ours being one of them. That doesn't mean that this can't be a very credible contender in the 'C'-segment estate category though. After all, it shares the same engineware and high-strength modular steel platform that already feature in highly regarded FCA Group products like the Jeep Renegade and the Fiat 500L. You get the same kind of infotainment technology too, yet the simple structure and low-cost manufacturing concept mean that Fiat can sell you a Tipo Station Wagon for thousands less than most competing brands will charge for a car in this class.
Driving Experienceword count: 245
The Tipo Station Wagon's road going demeanour has been set up to favour relaxed comfort rather than any kind of dynamic drive. You can see why: this is, after all, a car designed primarily around the needs of buyers in developing countries who simply want to get comfortably from A to B. So there's no trick suspension for fancy ride quality, torque vectoring for classy cornering or ridiculously powerful engine options that hardly anyone will buy. Where Turin has had modern carry-over technology it can use - the engines, the modular platform, the Uconnect infotainment technology - then that's been thrown into the development mix, but the over-riding priority here has been in the creation of the best possible car for the lowest possible price. Which means that in almost every regard, this Tipo delivers most of what you need and not much of what you don't. The engine range includes three options in total. There is a single turbo diesel unit - a 1.6-litre MultiJet II with an output of 120hp and 320Nm. The petrol engine range kicks off with a 1.4-litre 16v powerplant producing 95hp and 125Nm, then moves on to a 1.4 T-Jet turbo petrol variant with 120hp and 206Nm. Whatever your choice in engines, you'll find that on the move the Tipo's suspension is troubled only by really poor surfaces and body roll is well controlled through the bends. There's also a neat 'City' button that lightens the steering for parking.
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Category: Spacious Family Cars
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