TIPO TIPS (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
Introductionword count: 61
In its original form, Fiat's second generation Tipo, launched in 2016, offered a sensible, spacious and affordable option to rationally-orientated buyers looking for a five-door model or an estate in the Focus-class family hatchback 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 as a used buy.
Modelsword count: 17
5dr hatch/ 5dr SW estate (1.4, 1.4 T-Jet, 1.3 Multijet diesel, 1.6 Multijet diesel [Easy, Mirror, Lounge])
Historyword count: 393
By 2016, it had been a long time since Fiat had brought us a class-competitive Focus-sized family hatch or estate contender. To try and put things right, the Italian brand revived its Tipo badge for this model, a car that aimed to offer a segment-leading value proposition in this closely-fought sector. You can see why the name was chosen. Fiat wanted to remind us of the last time it competed on equal terms with the industry big-hitters in this class. That was with the first generation Tipo model of 1988, a design decorated with the European Car of the Year award in 1989 and still fondly remembered by some loyal buyers. By 2016, Turin hadn't provide these people with much to cheer about in this segment since then, two generations of Bravo separated by the equally forgettable Stilo. In fact, it almost seemed as if the Italians had given up in this sector. That wasn't the case, though if you're expecting that from this point, we're going to go on to tell you that Fiat marshalled all its firepower into creating a definitively dynamic Golf or Astra rival, then you might need to manage your expectations a little. This car came instead from a project the Italian conglomerate 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 got it too, ours being one of them. That didn't mean that this car couldn't be a very credible contender in the 'C'-segment though. After all, it shared the same engineware and high-strength modular steel platform that had already featured in highly regarded FCA Group products like the Jeep Renegade and the Fiat 500L. Buyers got the same kind of infotainment technology too, yet the simple structure and low-cost manufacturing concept meant that Fiat could sell a Tipo for thousands less than most competing brands could charge for a car in this class. And there was the choice of a smart 'Station Wagon' estate or a more conventional five-door hatch body style. A saloon version was also offered in the 2019-2020 period, but these are very rare. The Tipo sold in its original form until 2020 when it was significantly facelifted. It's the pre-facelift versions of this second generation model though, that we look at here.
What You Getword count: 446
Where the original Tipo was all sharp edges and boxy styling, this modern interpretation of that model line was content to make a more subtle statement. This Station Wagon estate body style is more distinctive than its five-door hatch stablemate, but neither derivation is particularly recognisable as a Fiat. Perhaps that was the idea. A saloon version was also offered in the 2019-2020 period, but these are very rare. And inside a Tipo? Well if the back story behind this car leads you to expect a cabin with all the sophistication of an Albanian thrift store, then you might actually be quite pleasantly surprised by what's on offer here. Yes of course it lacks the sophistication of a Volkswagen Golf and the trendy touches of, say, a Renault Megane, but both of those cars cost more. You might feel the need to be critical if you've shelled out for a top-spec version - aside from the soft plastic used on the fascia top, hard scratchy plastic features almost everywhere else - but if you limit yourself to a more affordable variant and manage your expectations, we don't think you should be grousing too much. A bigger issue is the restricted size of the 'Uconnect' infotainment touchscreen in the centre of the dash. The little 5-inch monitor is fine if all you're doing is using it to control the standard DAB radio and the trip computer, but the display is really rather small if it's been embellished with navigational capability. One writer likened using it to trying to read the map on someone else's 'phone from the other side of the room. This is all the more frustrating given that in other markets, this car came fitted with a far-preferable 7-inch 'Uconnect HD Live' version of this screen, a set-up never available here. To be fair, the screen does provide an awful lot of functionality, once you figure out its various different menus. There's Bluetooth, audio streaming, voice recognition, an SMS reader and access to an eco:Drive system that monitors your driving efficiency. And in the back? Well the rear compartment is accessible via wide-opening doors that'll make it easy to lean in with things like child seats. Get in yourself and you'll find that this is another area of the cabin that's a little more spacious than the segment norm, with plenty of room for legs, knees, shoulders and heads. Finally, let's consider the boot space on offer, another area where the Tipo enjoys an advantage over most of its competitors. With the back seats occupied, there's 550-litres of cargo room in the Station Wagon and the hatch isn't far behind with a very generous 440-litres.
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Category: Compact Family Cars
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