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Technical analysis - Archive

19/02/2016
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Technical analysis: Fiat Tipo

 

This new small sedan, which inherits its name from an older FIAT model, was specifically designed to appeal to European motorists and more

Duilio Damiani

As far as I can remember, no new Italian car has ever been preceded by its foreign alter ego, and only later, although after a short time, presented in its original form. Power of the market, some will say, since the Fiat Tipo, 2016 was preceded by Fiat’s AEGEA, as the new Italian small saloon is known in Turkey where it was unveiled during the Istanbul Motor Show, in the country where it is also, in fact, manufactured.

Produced in the Tofas factory in Bursa, one of Fiat’s main productive sites, where many Fiat “reproductions” have seen the light during the last 40 or so years ( how can we forget the Tofas Murat, copies of Fiat’s 124s and 131s, that have been running on Turkish roads since the 70s), the new Tipo surprisingly makes its debut as a compact three-box saloon, rather than a hatch, not exactly the motorist’s favourite choice in Italy, but extremely popular in EMEA (Europe-Middle East-Africa) markets, where the FCA group entertains growing commercial ambitions. 

 

Nevertheless, although the design of the new Tipo proves captivating, keeping up with the dictates of the latest trends, care of the Fiat Style Centre, a hatch-back and wagon version are expected within the next few years.

 

FINALLY A NEW SALOON                                   

 

A Saloon-type layout (at least at this early stage) for the third model to boasts the lucky nameplate Tipo (the first two series were rather widespread in the '90s), a product with an aggressive price / quality ratio designed precisely to penetrate the over 40 markets for which it has been created.

With its 4.54 meters in length, 1.79 meters in width and 1.49 meters in height, standard size for a mid-size sedan, the careful design aimed at optimizing the use of space, the new saloon is able to comfortably accommodate 5 passengers with a sizeable 520 liters boot, expandable, if necessary, by dropping the split rear backseat.

Following the debut on the Italian market, two internal trimmings have been planned, the Opening Edition and the Opening Edition Plus, rich in optional and embellished with top of the range luxury gadgets, such as a rear camera, a Media Center for all communication devices and infotainment, along with numerous storage compartments able to accommodate small items (with a total volume of 12 liters), and a packed lineout of electronic safety systems which are standard even at an entry level.

 

Communication gurus call it "driving experience." As if holding a steering wheel in your hands isn’t enough. Yet today, among satellite navigation systems, smart-phones, clearance cameras, and the dear old FM radio, just moving the steering wheel and shifting gears, all seem just secondary activities compared to all that can be accessed once you sit in the car . The Uconnect system, for example, allows access to all infotainment functions without taking your eyes off the road. Through a large 5 "display positioned in the middle of the dashboard, besides 3D TomTom maps supported by voice commands, all interconnected on-board media and audio system can be viewed via the Aux-in auxiliary input, as well as USB port and Bluetooth.

 

A COMFY RIDE

 

The new Tipo is pushed by two very balanced engines, with special attention being paid to fuel economy rather than adrenaline stimulation. The 1.4-liter petrol engine is capable, with its 95 hp, of pushing the car to 185 km/h, with 0-100 km/h acceleration in 11.5 seconds, followed by a 120 hp 1.6 turbo-diesel engine, able to guarantee a maximum speed of almost 200 km/h  and 0-100 acceleration in 9.7 seconds.

The first, the reliable four-cylinder 16 valves with double camshaft, can boast a very high volumetric efficiency, which translates into an average fuel consumption in the order of 17.5 km / liter, with CO2 emissions around 133 g / km, which should be joined, hopefully in the near future, by a 110 hp 1.6 E-Torq unit. The second, a third generation Euro 6 MultiJet Common Rail engine with variable geometry turbocharger, credited with 32.6 kgm torque from just 1750 rpm / min., offers high elasticity and considerably reduced consumption, in the order of 25 km / liter of diesel and emissions measured at 110 g / km of CO2. The intelligent alternator control along with the variable flow oil pump contribute to the reduction of power absorption, while the new NSC (NOx Storage Catalyst) integrated catalytic converter is able to cut NOx emissions by 60%. The manual six-speed transmission is the only option currently available for both engines, while a future automatic gearbox in the pipeline, at least for the top-ranging models. An intermediate level of power should be available through a second 95 hp four-cylinder 1.3-liter Multi-jet turbo-diesel, which will be soon added to the range.

Driving pleasure, although the power available is never excessive, here is guaranteed by a rational structure with a self-supporting body made of high-strength steels, which offers great stiffness without being too heavy for the engines. Furthermore, a mixed-element suspension system, independent on the front axle, with coil springs, hydraulic shock absorbers and anti roll-bar, coupled to a lightweight and compact rear torsion beam, which ensures sufficient reactivity without the addition of an anti roll-bar. The braking system is managed, depending on the power unit chosen, by four self-ventilating disc brakes, or with rear drum brakes but only on the entry level model. No lack of electronically assisted management systems either, such as ABS, ESC, ASR anti-skid systems, not to mention the HSA uphill restart, TCS traction control and ERM Electronic Rollover Mitigation.

 

In line with the familiar character of the car, at the end of the new Fiat’s powertrain we find a set of honest 205/55 R16 wheels for the petrol versions, while the diesel version is equipped with larger 225/45 R17, with a choice of two alloy wheels available as standard equipment.

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