The affordable Tipo is back on its FIAT

The affordable Fiat Tipo is making a return this year
The affordable Fiat Tipo is making a return this year

This week was all about the historic Turin: Having overnighted in Lingotto, once a huge FIAT factory with a rooftop test track but now a swanky shopping mall and hotel, the assembled motoring press was shuttled cross town to the old Mirafiori factory, now the home of FIAT’s designed and engineering departments, for the reveal of the all-new FIAT Tipo, a great name resurrected to signify a return to FIAT’s roots of making practical and affordable cars with character.

The thinking behind bucking the trend for evermore upmarket cars is simple – there’s a gap in the market for a value proposition, albeit one that doesn’t necessarily feel it. 

The newest FIAT is neatly styled in a way only the Italians know how with the saloon perhaps the best looker of the three body styles. 

Inside, there are comfy seats and a fine driving position and an attractive and easy-to-use dashboard that’s solidly made if a little short of soft-touch surfaces.

In terms of space, there’s enough room for three grown adults to sit in the back seat in comfort, there’s a massive boot and an impressive number of useful bins, boxes and nooks, while all versions get standard air conditioning, Bluetooth, digital radio, remote steering controls and a large front arm rest. The mid-range model adds 16-inch alloys, foglamps, parking sensors, cruise control and a touchscreen infotainment system.

Three petrol engines (1.4 95hp, 1.6 110hp automatic and 1.4 turbo 120hp) and two diesels, (1.3 95hp and 1.6 120hp) power the Tipo, with the latter likely to be the most popular choices in Ireland. 

The 1.3 does need to be worked hard to get it up to speed but once there it’s frugal and refined, while the 1.6 diesel offers a more satisfying turn of speed without significantly sacrificing efficiency. 

To drive, the Tipo is set up for comfort, coping admirably with Turin’s pock-marked roads and isolating occupants from external noises, and while it steers accurately and handles securely it’s no sports car.

While there are no shortage of competent, well-equipped cars in the segment, what sets the FIAT Tipo apart is the value for money.

Irish prices are still to be confirmed but it’s likely to cost around €18,500 for the air-conditioned, Bluetooth-equipped, entry-level 1.4 and a little more than €21,000 for the entry level diesel. 

With prices like that, it’s won’t be just the Tipo name that’s been resurrected. It could put the FIAT brand back on the map in Ireland.