The Italian manufacturer hopes it can take the C-segment market by storm with a car that's roomy, highly practical, represents good value for money and is available as part of a straightforward model range. The Tipo has family favourites such as the ŠKODA Rapid, VW Golf and the Ford Focus firmly in its sights and looks set to boast a highly attractive price tag that is sure to turn heads and draw attention away from some of the established class leaders in the family hatch market.
While the 2016 Tipo might be new on the scene, the name certainly isn't. According to Fiat, the moniker has been around since the company's earliest days and was most recently used in the late 1980s for a rather angular five-door hatchback. It recorded strong sales in the UK market and almost two million models rolled off the production line between 1988 and 1995. Although the 2016 car is a much sleeker offering, Fiat said this latest version would offer a number of the same winning features as the 1980s Tipo, such as a practical nature, compact external dimensions and a large interior space.
According to the latest official word from Fiat, the first hatchback and estate versions of the Tipo are due to begin arriving in the UK towards the back end of this year. As things stand, a saloon model featuring 520 litres of boot space and room to seat five passengers, will not be joining the line-up in Britain. That said, differences between the three models in terms of design have been kept to a minimum in an effort to reduce production costs. The front of the Tipo boasts a striking grille and athletic contours that sweep back across the bonnet. A sloping roofline also helps to give the car a bold and sporty presence, while distinctive rear light clusters ensure it stands out on the road.
Sophisticated exterior styling is complimented by a quality interior that makes use of the latest automotive technology. Drivers will be able to benefit from Fiat's Uconnect infotainment system featuring a clear and precise five-inch colour touch-screen display. It also incorporates Bluetooth technology for safe and simple audio streaming as well as hands-free calls. AUX and USB ports with iPod integration, plus steering wheel controls, also mean it's quick and easy to access personal content stored on external devices.
The Tipo will be available with a rear parking camera to increase visibility and safety when manoeuvring at low speeds in confined spaces, while TomTom satellite navigation will be offered to reduce journey times. Air conditioning and cruise control are set to feature as standard, increasing comfort levels for driver and passengers.
Buyers will be able to select from various reliable and efficient engines. The range includes two MultiJet II turbo-diesel options, as well as two petrol powertrains with power outputs ranging from 95bhp to 120bhp. The availability of manual and automatic transmissions will vary according to engine choice. A smooth, comfortable ride and impressive road holding ability will be supported by a suspension setup that features independent McPherson struts at the front and torsion beam suspension on the rear axle. According to Fiat, the two layouts have been optimised to reduce weight and as a result will help to improve the vehicle's level of fuel-efficiency.
Sebastiano Fedrigo, FIAT UK's head of brand, revealed at the end of last year that he was confident the Tipo would capture the imagination of Britain's motorists.
He said: "I am very much looking forward to the introduction of this excellent C-segment model. Beautifully styled and built to the highest standards, the car will bring a new dimension to FIAT's model line-up and will, I am sure, attract a lot of interest from our customers in the UK."
The new Tipo is a solid offering that's practical, affordable and has its wheels firmly planted on the tarmac. As a result, the model has been attracting considerable attention over the past few months. Following its Italian launch in December, eager buyers snapped up more than 1,000 cars in the first weekend alone. The model has been also be garnering plenty of praise from industry commentators and was recently chosen as Autobest's best buy pick for 2016. A judging panel made up of 26 motoring journalists from across Europe voted the Tipo into first place ahead of the Vauxhall Astra in second and the Hyundai Tucson in third. A variety of parameters were considered, ranging from design and comfort to the availability of spare parts and resale value. Fiat is now the only automotive brand to have won Autobest's top prize on three separate occasions. Previous success came with the Panda in 2003 and the Fiat Linea in 2008.
Both the hatchback and estate versions of the Tipo were on display at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, which took place earlier this month.
Further details on the new Fiat Tipo will be released ahead of this year's official UK launch, and you can find out more about the current Fiat range on sale by contacting the team at your nearest Pentagon dealership in Barnsley, Keighley or Huddersfield.