The new Fiat Tipo
Fiat drove back into the C-segment here after a long absence with the smart looking new Tipo range and espousing the strategy of "more for less".
With an entry level price of €17,995 for the 1.4-litre petrol (95bhp), Fiat made a bold statement indeed.
The new Tipo (pictured right), they reckoned, beats competitors like the Peugeot 308, Hyundai i30, Kia cee'd and Ford Focus on length and height, plus front and rear legroom, and Fiat are sure they can deliver fully on their promise to provide the best value buy around.
Prices for the diesels start at €19,745 (1.3-litre Multi Jet/95bhp).
There is a station wagon too, with prices here starting at €19,245.
At launch Fiat mentioned there were three levels of trim - Pop, Easy and Lounge - but in reality they will operate off the former two for starters with the Pop being priced the same as the option above it.
The pricing would suggest a saving of thousands relative to the opposition, and Fiat insist they will do even better when the Sedan version arrives in January.
Now that will be interesting to see!
Good level of trim
The Tipo, which is being offered now as a hatchback and station wagon, offers a surprisingly good level of trim, bearing in mind the price.
The spec on the entry level model includes manual air con, Bluetooth, US and AUX, steering wheel controls, body coloured door mirrors and bumpers, chrome handles, six airbags, 15" steels wheels, 60/40 split rear seats, height adjustable driver's seat, front seat central arm rest, full size spare wheel and electric rear windows.
On top of that, Easy versions come with 5" touchscreen radio, leather steering and gear knob, rear parking sensors, cruise control, 16" alloy wheels, fog lamps and LED DRL headlamps at no extra cost, so you see why buyers will opt straight away for the Easy version.
And on top of that again, the Lounge version offers auto climate control, 5” touchscreen radio NAV with live service, rain sensors, dusk sensors, electro chromatic dipping rear view mirror, chrome pack, 17” alloys, rear view camera, electric driver seat lumbar support and privacy glass.
Fiat are in the process of rebuilding in Ireland after virtually falling away as an brand.
However, they won't be rushing to expand their dealer network.
No move to Kilkenny
News from Managing Director, Paul Hunt, at the Tipo launch was that Kilkenny doesn't feature among the areas that will get a new dealer, although there have been expressions of interest.
Maybe later. Not now!
One drove versions of both the hatchback and station wagon, and apart altogether from the lively power units under the bonnet and strong spec sheet, one was taken by the sturdy feel and solid build quality of the cars.
Fiat are talking about a modest sales figure of 400 units next year, but if this range is promoted well you could see that figure being passed easily.
Fiat Tipo petrol - 1.4 (95bhp) manual 132g/km, with quoted consumption figure of 49.6mpg; 1.4 (120bhp) manual, 139g/km, 47.1mpg; 1.6 (110bhp) automatic, 147g/km, 44.8mpg; diesel - 1.3 (95bhp) manual, 99g/km, 76.3mpg; 1.6 (120bhp) manual, 98g/km, 76.3mpg; 1.6 (120bhp), DCT 99g/km, 76.3mpg.
There will be a 3-year warranty on the entire range for 2017.