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'You don't need much to get a lot’ – Fiat’s Tipo available in SA

2017-05-17 09:55

IT'S TIPO-CALLY FIAT: Fiat has launched its all new Fiat Tipo hatchback and sedan in South Africa. Can the stylish Tipo grab its share of the local family car market? Image: Wheels24

Sergio Davids

Port Elizabeth – Fiat has launched its all new Fiat Tipo hatchback and sedan in South Africa. The launch marks the automaker's return to the medium-compact market locally. 

The Tipo can be summed up with Fiat's family-car philosophy, "you don't need much to get a lot", and given it's assertive pricing (from R229 000) the automaker aims to deliver on its claim. 

Fiat SA says: “The Tipo family was developed around the brief "Skills, no frills" and combines the brand's historic concepts of functionality, simplicity and personality in an extraordinary value-for-money offering.” 

The Tipo arrives in an environment dominated by Toyota and Volkswagen, can the new sedan/hatch grab its share of the family car market?

Image gallery: 2017 Fiat Tipo

New hatch and sedan

The Fiat Tipo hatchback measures 4.37m long, 1.79m wide and 1.50m tall, while the sedan measures 4.53m in length (the width and height mirrors the dimensions of the hatchback).

Locally, two body styles, three trim levels, three engines and three transmission types are available at launch. The sedan is available in Pop and Easy trims while the hatchback is available in the Pop, Easy or Lounge specifications. The engines comprise one diesel and two petrol derivatives combined with transmission options of 5- or 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic.

Engines & transmissions

There are three engine options -  1.3 MultiJet II turbodiesel as well as the 1.4 16v and 1.6 E-torQ petrols. 

There are three transmission options; 5-speed manual for the 1.3-litre diesel engine, 6-speed manual for the 1.4-litre and a 6-speed automatic for the 1.6 E-torQ.

The four-cylinder 1.4 16v Fire is the entry-level petrol engine, delivering 70kW/127Nm, combined with a six-speed manual gearbox. The 1.6 E-torQ petrol is capable of 81kW/152Nn and is mated to a 6-speed auto. The 1.3 turbodiesel, combined with a manual five-speed gearbox, is capable of 70kW/200Nm. Emissions range from 117g/km to 146g/km with fuel consumption as low as a claimed 3.3-litre/100 km.

Tipo-cally Fiat

In short, it's highly capable as family sedan/hatch on the road. The Tipo excels as a family car; sufficient space for four, a voluminous boot to suit a family's needs and competent handling. 

Fiat's done a great job mating adequate engine options to sufficiently performing transmissions... yes, its overall performance is very middle-of-the-road but given its target market (i.e C-segment hatch/sedans) being average isn't a bad thing. I was pleasantly surprised by the 1.6 auto but my pick of the bunch would be the 1.3 litre diesel.

It's competent at handling bumps and undulations and satisfactory through corners. The Tipo isn't designed to excite but rather tick all the right boxes in the C-segment market - performance, handling and, most importantly, space.

Tough competition

Unlike Fiat's design-led 500 or stylish 124, the Tipo prioritises space, practicality and value for money. It's a spacious vehicle (especially in sedan guise) with a decent amount of standard kit. Load capacity is, claims Fiat, a ''class-leading" 440-litres for the hatchback, 520-litres for the sedan. 

Given some of its rivals (Toyota Corolla, VW Polo etc), Fiat has done well to deliver a vehicle that understands its customer though how it'll fare against popular local offerings remains to be seen.

Below are some of the Tipo's rivals in SA:

Toyota Corolla

Volkswagen Polo/Jetta

Chevrolet Cruze

Ford Fiesta/Focus


Honda Ballade

Hyundai i20/Accent

Mazda 3


Tipo range


The Tipo features Fiat’s latest audio systems including a hands-free Bluetooth interface, audio streaming, text reader and voice recognition, AUX and USB ports, steering wheel controls, reversing parking camera (optional) and new TomTom 3D built-in satnav (optional for all variants  except the Easy).

Entry-level Pop variants are equipped with manual aircon, power windows, electrically adjustable side-mirrors (with defrosting function) and the 60/40 split rear seat (excludes sedan Pop version). Pop variants are fitted with 16" steel wheels.

Easy variants add 16" alloys, LEDs, chromed door releases, body-coloured mirror covers and a leather steering wheel. A reversing camera is standard on the hatchback Lounge model, and an optional extra on all versions except Pop.

The Lounge trims, exclusive to the hatchback, features 17" alloys, chromed details and a leather steering wheel and gear-shift knob. It has rear parking sensors, fog lights, auto climate control, cruise control, front armrest and driver's seat with optional lumbar adjustment. The Lounge also features the UConnect infotainment system with satnav.

The hatchback seats are upholstered in black fabric whilst the sedan is available in black/silver on the Pop or black/grey weave design for Easy derivatives. In the hatchback Lounge trim, the seats are available in grey fabric or black leather.

Inside the new @Fiat_sa #Tipo in Port Elizabeth. @wheels24_sa #hatchback #fiat.

A post shared by Sergio Davids (@davids_sergio) on

Safety

In terms of safety the Tipo is fitted with standard driver and front passenger airbags (side and curtain airbags are optional).

It’s also equipped with electronic stability control (ESC), Panic Brake Assist (PBA), which intervenes in case of emergency braking by increasing the braking force, ABS, traction control and Hill Start Assist.

Also available is cruise control for Easy and Lounge derivatives and is optional for the Hatchback POP variant.

The Tipo is fitted with reversing parking sensors, rain and dusk sensors as well as electrochromatic rear-view mirror. All Tipo versions have a full size spare wheel.

Mopar accessories

Mopar, FCA's reference brand for parts, offers about 70 accessories for the new Tipo range including roof-racks (for bycycles), freeboxes, chromed-plated side-mirrors and designer mats. Other optional kit buyers can have fitted to their Tipo include a jacket hanger, work table and tablet holder on the headrests of the front seats, and protection mats for the boot of the hatchback.

Prices:

Fiat Tipo Sedan 
1.4l Pop – R229 900
1.4l Pop – R249 900
1.3l D Easy – R274 900
1.6l Easy Auto – R274 900


Fiat Tipo Hatchback
1.4l Pop – R249 900
1.4l Pop – R269 900
1.4l Lounge  – R289 900
1.6l Pop Auto – R294 900

All Fiat Tipos are sold with a three-year or 100 000km warranty and service plan.


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