Review: Fiat's Tipo modestly ticking all the boxes

Cape Town - Family sedans are all about practicality, convenience and good fuel consumption.

Fiat's new Tipo takes on the established players in the market such as the Toyota Corolla, Volkswagen Jetta and the Honda Ballade.

After a week of testing the Tipo, Rouel van Nelson says it's a vehicle that ticks all the boxes for the right reasons and here’s why.

First impressions – At first glance 

The Tipo 1.4 16v Fire presents a somewhat timid outward appearance, understated in its looks department. That however is not necessarily a bad thing as one could argue that simple is better, less is more etc. 

                                                                                                                 Image: Quickpic

The vehicle is well put together with 17’’ alloys, chrome details and a sleek chrome grille, adding a dash of elegance to the laid-back look of the car. As for the rear end, the Tipo features classy LED rear lights with a chrome panel across the boot. 


In a nutshell, the Tipo may not turn heads. However it has decent looks with no unnecessary detailing. It is a family orientated vehicle after all. 

There’s always room

Inside the shell of the car, there is room and lots of it. When it comes to the driver’s and passenger’s seats, one does not get the feeling of being cramped or ones knees being squashed up close to the dashboard.

The seating is relatively comfortable and although it does not come with leather upholstery, it is neatly put together.

The backseat has ample room and will seat three people with ease and boasts what can be considered a marquee feature of the car, a 520 litre boot. The Tipo sports a broad and deeply set boot, which would be great should a family plan a holiday or getaway of some sorts.

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

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A comfortable drive, just one drawback 

Upon testing the Tipo, there was nothing to suggest that there was anything wrong with the drive. If anything, driving the Tipo proved to be rather relaxing, easy and tranquil. The four-cylinder 1.4 16v Fire is the entry-level petrol engine, delivering 70kW/127Nm, combined with a six-speed manual gearbox. It might not sound much but it is enough when a push is needed in an overtaking situation. 

One of the drawbacks regarding the drivetrain of the car is that of the sixth gear. It could be deemed as a gear to cruise in; however, one gets the exact same feeling while driving in fifth gear. There simply are not enough horses left to gallop in the sixth gear.

A bargain? 

With the Tipo being an unfamiliar competitor in the world of family sedans, you would be pleased to know it’s pretty kind to the wallet in comparison to its rivals.

Price – R229 900

Prices of well-known family sedans 

Toyota Corolla – R263 900
Volkswagen Jetta – R278 300
Chevrolet Cruze – R252 700
Honda Ballade – R246 000
Hyundai Elantra – R299 900
Mazda 3 – R258 500

It’s cheaper than all the above mentioned vehicles and it offers every basic need required of a family sedan. 

Well put together, value for money

In conclusion, the Tipo is a car unflattering to the eye, however, it was never made for that purpose. It ticks all the boxes at a basic level and is well put together from the drive, to the interior to the exterior.