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Fiat Brava (1995 - 2002)

A LATIN YOU'LL LIKE (some text hidden)

BY JONATHAN CROUCH

Introductionword count: 47

Fiat's Brava was launched at the very end of 1995, the five-door twin to the three-door Bravo, announced at the same time. This was the car that finally began to convince the British buying public that Fiat could indeed make a class-leading family hatchback that would last.

Modelsword count: 21

Models Covered: BRAVA - DECEMBER 1995-FEBRUARY 2002: 1.4 5dr / 1.6 5dr / 1.8 5dr / 1.9TD75 5dr / 1.9TD100 5dr

Historyword count: 203

The five-door-only Brava range was launched in December 1995 to replace the Tipo which had gained a reputation for poor build quality that Fiat was anxious to banish into history. It shared the same platform, chassis and engines as the three-door Bravo range announced at the same time. Like its smaller stablemate, the Brava's styling was unique, resembling nothing else in the class. Initially, buyers chose between three petrol engines: a 12-valve 1.4, a 16-valve 1.6 and a sporty 1.8. Most customers opted for the 103bhp 1.6, which develops most of its power in the mid-range, exactly where you want it for easy overtaking. In November 1996, two turbo diesel engined-versions were added - the TD 75S and the more potent TD 100SX and at the same time, automatics were made available for the first time. In early 1999, second generation models reached the UK, complete with a revised series of engines (including a 1.2 petrol unit from the Punto range and a new 1.9-litre JTD 105 common rail diesel unit), handling improvements plus subtle interior and exterior cosmetic changes. In late 2000, the petrol 1.8 was dropped, as was the 1.4, leaving just 1.2 and 1.6-litre petrol options, plus the JTD diesel.

What You Getword count: 161

Forget anything you ever thought about small cheap Italian cars: doors that clang, switches that separate in your hands and driving positions designed for primeval beings. The Brava has none of these drawbacks with build quality that, in the main, was pretty good. There are some nice design touches too. Like the jack that converts like a Swiss army knife into a complete tool kit. Or the security screen that pops out of the facia to hide the high-mounted anti-theft stereo. Admiring the easy, sculpted lines that dominate both inside and out, it's easy to speculate that practicality may have given way to personality. That's a claim which Fiat dealers quickly refute. Those swoopy lines may suggest styling took priority over function but the Italian designers have also managed to create a surprisingly roomy car. True, rearward visibility isn't quite as good as some competitors, but in every other respect you'll be extremely comfortable, wherever you end up in the cabin.

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Scoring (subset of scores)

Category: Compact Family Cars

Performance
50%
Handling
50%
Comfort
60%
Space
50%
Styling, Build, Value, Equipment, Depreciation, Handling, Insurance and Total scores are available with our full data feed.

This is an excerpt from our full review.
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