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The Auto Trader expert verdict: ★★★★★ ★★★★★ 3.0

The Fiat Tipo Station Wagon provides a lot of space for not a lot of money, making its rivals look expensive in the process. It’s not as fuel-efficient or as good to drive as the class leaders but some buyers may consider those compromises worth making for the price.

Reasons to buy

  • Very cheap
  • Masses of space
  • Simple dashboard

Running costs for a Fiat Tipo 3/5

On a space-per-pound basis few cars can touch the Fiat Tipo Station Wagon. It’s a roomy family estate car that costs the same as superminis such as the Ford Fiesta and it undercuts rivals such as the Ford Focus Estate by thousands. And that’s the list price. Haggle hard at the showroom and it won’t be difficult to knock the price down by a healthy margin, too.

The downside of the Tipo Station Wagon’s budget status and dowdy image is that residual values are poor, so you’ll have to factor that into long-term costs if you buy one outright.

The Tipo’s engines aren’t especially efficient by class standards and there’s no hybrid version available, but fuel and tax costs won’t be too high. To help budget for maintenance costs, Fiat offers an 'Easy Care' service payment package, which covers the car for all its scheduled servicing for the first three years of ownership.

Reliability of a Fiat Tipo 3/5

Fiat doesn’t have a particularly strong reliability record as a brand, and a second-from-last ranking in the J.D. Power 2019 UK Vehicle Dependability Study doesn’t look good. The Warranty Direct Reliability Index paints a more positive picture, with Fiat sitting in a respectable mid-table position. Warranty cover is three years, with no mileage limit.

Safety for a Fiat Tipo 3/5

The Tipo Station Wagon comes with a decent standard of safety kit, including six airbags and cruise control with a speed limiter. Every model also has an autonomous braking system – when Euro NCAP tested the hatchback version in 2016 with this important safety feature fitted it scored four out of five stars.

How comfortable is the Fiat Tipo 3/5

Climb inside the Tipo Station Wagon and you can instantly see it for what it is: a budget estate car that concentrates on the basics rather than the fripperies. The interior makes very few concessions to style or plushness, but that simplicity makes everything easy to use, and what the materials lack in appeal, they make up for in solidity. The infotainment screen is tiny, too, but the fact it’s placed high up on the dashboard means your eyes don’t have to travel too far from the road to see it. The driver’s life is also made easier by lots of adjustment for your driving position and a good view out.

One of the best things about the Tipo Station Wagon is the amount of space inside. There’s enough that four six-foot adults can in decent comfort, with legroom to spare. The boot is large and well shaped, too, Few owners are likely to feel shortchanged by the amount of space on offer, although rivals such as the Ford Focus Estate and Skoda Octavia Estate provide more.

You can feel that the Tipo is built to a budget in the way it drives, since it doesn’t offer the finesse or ride comfort of cars such as the Ford Focus or Volkswagen Golf. Those rivals cost thousands more, however, and in isolation the Tipo drives well enough.

Features of the Fiat Tipo 3/5

With such a low starting price you’d expect the entry-level Tipo to be fairly low on standard equipment. You’d be right, although it’s not too basic and includes features such as air-conditioning and cruise control. You need to move up a trim level to gain features such as alloy wheels, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, rear parking sensors and rear electric windows. Automatic headlights and wipers and sat-nav – which some rivals have much further down the range – are reserved for high-spec models.

Power for a Fiat Tipo 3/5

The Tipo Station Wagon isn’t your best bet if you’re looking for stirring performance, since none of the three engines available musters more than 120 horsepower.

The entry-level 1.4 petrol only has 95 horsepower. Although it feels eager, acceleration is leisurely – especially if the large boot is full. The turbocharged 1.4 petrol has a much healthier 120 horsepower but the 1.6 diesel – which is impressively flexible – is arguably the pick of the bunch.