Fiat bring back competitively-priced family hatchback to challenge more celebrate brands

The Fiat Tipo.
The Fiat Tipo.

Back in the 1980s, a friend of mine bought a black Fiat 128 Sport from the now defunct Excelsior Motors. It was the first new car that he owned, and he loved everything about it.

Around the same time, another friend had a Fiat Ritmo 85 S and fitted it with a 105 TC spoiler on the back to make it sportier looking. In those days, the Fiat name was highly respected and sold in decent numbers.

The Ritmo was the Fiat C-Segment car of the day, a segment that they have been out of for a few years. Now, they are back in the compact family market with another old name in a whole new shell.

Tipo, which followed the Ritmo back in 1988, is the name Fiat have carried forward to today, and I have been giving it the run-around for the past week.

There are three derivatives in all: a five-door hatchback, a three-box, four-door saloon and a Sports Wagon. All are now available in Ireland with the major selling point being the price.

These start at an affordable €17,995 putting it in direct competition with other budget brands and much cheaper than the likes of the Volkswagen Golf, Opel Astra and Ford Focus.

As well as the 1.4 petrol, there is a 1.3 Multijet diesel – likely to be the top seller here – and a 1.6 diesel. All are available in three trim packages; Pop, Easy and Lounge and the specification levels are seriously impressive with the prices in the back of the mind.

I have been test driving the 1.4-litre T-Jet Turbo 120hp petrol hatchback version in Lounge trim which comes with 16″ alloy wheel rims, chrome details and a leather steering wheel and gear shift knob for an even more refined touch.

Rear parking sensors, front fog lights, automatic climate control, cruise control, front armrest and driver’s seat with lumbar adjustment are also fitted in this model, on top of what is available in the lower models.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.