FIAT Tipo Station Wagon

 

   With their C, X, L, L Trekking, and L MPW versions, you could be forgiven if you thought FIAT only made cars with the number 500 on the boot-lid. The reality is that’s not the case. There is of course FIAT’s range of vans, or as they like to call them The FIAT Professional Series, and there’s the perennial Panda and Punto too. But for some time now you’ve been left wanting if your hankering was for that of an Italian-made Focus, Astra, or Golf equivalent, FIAT simply didn’t make anything quite that size.

      Now though, the C-segment as it is known, has a new member in the form of FIAT’s latest Tipo – a model that in previous generations sold over 2million units. It’s available as hatch of course, a saloon (which won’t be coming to the UK), and it’s also available as a Station Wagon such as the one you see here. Funny, nobody seems to say estate any more.

    If space or more specifically boot-space is your priority then the Tipo might be right up you alley: it offers the best in class. The hatch packs an already generous 440 litres while the Station Wagon adds an addition 110. The Station Wagon’s extra 20cm in body length over the hatch also allows loads of up to 1.8m in length to be carried with ease - once you’ve folded the seats down of course. There’s also the opportunity to store the load cover under the boot floor - always a handy - and you’ll find a full size spare wheel under there too. A low loading lip, two lights and four load-retaining hooks positioned on the floor also provide added convenience and practicality.

   In fact it’s not just the load-space that’s generous. Because the Station Wagon’s rear- roofline doesn’t slope away as sharply as that of its shorter brethren, rear passengers benefit from extra head-room. There’s plenty of legroom back there for three adults to stretch out too, although, I’m told, shoulder room is a bit sung and whomever gets to ride amidships will find themselves sat a little higher and on a slightly less well-padded seat.

    It’s a slightly higher driving position up-front that also defines that way the Tipo feels to drive. As in many a FIAT you sit on the Tipo’s seats rather than in them. That’s not say they’re uncomfortable I hasten to add, in fact the Tipo’s quite refined. There’s a little wind-noise from around the mirrors and the 1.6 diesel engine fitted to our car did make it’s presence felt, but they’re just minor niggles. OK, so the steering could be accused of being a tad numb as well, but on the whole driving the Tipo proves to be a rather pleasant experience. The 6-speed manual gearbox is light and accurate, the performance is more than adequate for day-to –day driving, the fuel consumption – FIAT say you’ll get 76.3 mpg  - won’t break the bank, and the Tipo rides well too.

    You even get a generous smattering of standard kit. Even entry level Tipo Station Wagons  get air conditioning, remote central locking, front electric windows, body-coloured door mirrors with electric adjustment, six airbags, DAB radio, chrome door handles, split rear seats, a front seat centre arm rest, USB and Bluetooth connectivity with steering wheel remote controls, rear electric windows and all-important longitudinal roof bars, whilst higher specced cars gain goodies such as reversing cameras, 17”alloys, and Tom Tom sat-navs – albeit with now tiny-looking 5.5 screens. The clarity of the dashboard dials of is also worthy praise even if some of the plastics surrounding them aren’t exactly what you’d call premium. But hey this is an Italian car, what exactly did you expect?

    FIAT predict that just 20% of all new Tipos sold will be Station Wagons which in my humble opinion means 80% of Tipo buyers will be missing out. If anything the extra space and practicality on offer add further to the Tipo’s appeal. It’s never going to be a class leader; it doesn’t offer the sharpest driving experience, and one or two worryingly large panel gaps here and there mean it’s never going to trouble the Germans when it comes to build quality either. But, it’s comfy, spacious, practical, economical (if you spec it wisely), and after a week it’s company I can honestly say it’s been incredibly easy to live with. Granted, it’s not a cheeky little thing like the 500, but nevertheless the Tipo Station Wagon is still more than capable of making you smile.

    

FIAT Tipo Station Wagon 1.6 Multijet 120hp Lounge

Engine: 1,598 cc 4Cyl, 8V petrol

Transmission: 6 speed Manual, front wheel drive.

Power:  120 bhp @ 3,750 rpm

Torque:  236 lbft @ 1,750 rpm

0-62MPH: 10.1 Sec

Max Speed: 124 mph

CO2: 98 g/km

MPG: 76.3 combined

Price: from £18,995, (as driven) £19,545

 

Many thanks to Catrina at FIAT’s UK press office for the loan of the Tipo

www.liam-bird.com

@bird_liam

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Liam Bird Liam Bird

I'm Liam Bird, a freelance Motoring Writer based in the South Shropshire Marches. I currently write car reviews and road tests for a number of regional lifestyle magazines and newspapers which are distributed throughout Cheshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, most of Wales and beyond.

As a member of the Welsh Group of Motoring Writers I'm as happy behind the wheel of a super-mini as I am in the latest super-car. I have press accreditation with most of the major motor manufacturers, meaning that as well as always being on the look out for further commissions, I always have a number of cars arriving each month ready to review.

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