The Auto Trader expert verdict: ★★★★★ ★★★★★ 3.0
The Fiat Tipo provides a lot of car for the money, making most other hatchbacks – and many superminis – look expensive. It’s not as polished or well equipped as the class leaders, but there has to be trade-off for such a low price and it's one that some buyers may be perfectly happy with.
Reasons to buy
- Very cheap to buy
- Lots of cabin space
- Simple dashboard
At a glance
Running costs for a Fiat Tipo
The Tipo’s USP is its low price. And it really is cheap, undercutting most rivals by four figures. In effect, it gives you a Ford Focus-sized car for less than the price of a Ford Fiesta. And that’s based on list price. Haggle hard and it won’t be too difficult to knock the price down by a significant margin, too.
The downside of the Tipo’s budget status and more or less non-existent image is that residual values are poor, so you’ll need to factor that into long-term costs if you’re buying one outright.
The Tipo’s engines aren’t very 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
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
The Tipo 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 car in 2016 with this important safety feature fitted it scored four out of five stars.
How comfortable is the Fiat Tipo
Climb inside the Tipo and you can instantly see it for what it is: a budget hatchback 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 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 larger than in most family hatchback rivals, too, providing an impressive 440 litres of space. However, things could be cleverer. There’s a big lip to lift heavy items over and the back seats lie at an awkward angle when you fold them down.
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
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 alloy wheels as standard and two trim levels to add 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
The Tipo 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 – it feels eager, but many drivers will find the leisurely acceleration it provides frustrating. 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.