Fiat Tipo Hatchback review

Fiat Tipo
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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

The Fiat Tipo is a modestly-priced, economical drive that will serve families with younger kids well.

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If Fiat’s Tipo isn’t on your list of cheap and cheerful cars, it should be. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bargain-basement territory, but at £18,150 you’ll get a new five-door hatch with decent kit. At least you will if you opt for the S-Design 1.4 T-Jet 120hp I drove for this review.

With a 0-62mph time of 9.6 seconds and a top speed of 124mph, it’s quick enough. And with a combined MPG of 47.1, the petrol-powered car is relatively economical.

Fiat Tip dashboard

The room is good enough – my three young kids sat in the back seats without hassle. So this a smallish hatchback that can serve a family. But if you’ve three older children, you’d be better off with a larger car like a Ford Mondeo or Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport.

The Tipo’s boot is usefully rectangular, with enough space (440-litres) to fit a family of five’s holiday luggage. Indeed, it surprised me that I could get one large suitcase and three carry-on bags in there.

The drive isn’t the most dynamic, even though the car’s S-Design sporty image suggests otherwise. The steering is woolly, and the gears aren’t the slickest. But you can make the steering lighter around town by pressing a ‘City’ button on the dashboard. Also, the hatch sits happily commuting at motorway speeds.

As alluded to earlier, the S-Design 1.4 T-Jet comes with a lot of equipment, making it feel good value for money. It’s fitted with a seven-inch touchscreen where you can operate the radio and navigation. You can also hook up your smartphone to it, courtesy of Apple CarPlay and AndroidAuto connectivity. Then there’s Fiat’s ‘Visibility Pack’, containing rain and dusk sensors. Fabric and ‘Techno Leather’ are used throughout the cabin, too – making it look quite special. Additionally, the driver’s seat has an electric lumbar support – and you get a rear-view camera with parking sensors. Alas, the cheap plastics used throughout the interior soon tell you where cost savings have been made in the Tipo’s production. 

On the outside, the S-Design sits on 18-inch diamond-cut alloys, and LED daytime running lights, along with fog-lights, are fitted. What’s more, glossy black details around the front grille, fog-light surrounds and door mirrors give the car a bit of pizzazz.

Importantly, this Tipo is equipped with six airbags – and you can opt for Fiat’s ‘Safety Pack’. This £250 pack includes autonomous emergency brake technology and a speed limiter. I advise you to tick this optional extra because it raises the car’s Euro NCAP crash-safety rating from a three-star to a four-star score. It’s a shame the company can’t get the model to the top five-star status.

Other useful features in the Tipo hatchback comprise 60/40 split rear seats, a height-adjustable driver’s seat and remote-control central door locking. The Italian-made car also has a space-saver spare wheel stored under the boot floor.

Fast Facts (Fiat Tipo S-Design 1.4 T-Jet 120hp Hatchback – as tested):

  • Max speed: 124mph
  • 0-62 mph: 9.6 seconds
  • Combined mpg: 47.1
  • Engine: 1368cc 4-cylinder turbo petrol
  • Max. power (ps): 120
  • CO2: 139g/km
  • Price: £18,150