With the Volkswagen Group having decided to bring Skoda to the market, buying a no-frills car in Europe has become much easier as you can go for a Dacia Sandero / Logan or a Fiat Tipo. The Romanian marque updated their honest little car about a month ago and now their Italian rivals are doing the same with their family offering.
Duel with the Dacia Sandero Stepway is a new Fiat Tipo Cross that builds on the endless obsession that many people have with SUVs. It’s still a front-wheel drive-only affair, but the new member of the Tipo family goes almost 4 centimeters (1.57 inches) higher after tweaking the suspension and installing new wheels with bigger tires borrowed from the 500X.
The Tipo Cross is about 7 cm (2.8 inches) taller than the classic sedan and attempts to mimic the crossover look with front and rear skid plates and plastic body cladding around the wheel arches. It also gets sturdier side skirts and fits the roof racks of the Tipo wagon. Speaking of which, the more practical version of the lot has also been pinched, along with the Tipo sedan and sedan.
The Tipo facelift debuts the updated company badge with prominent FIAT lettering on the radiator grille, a look you’ll also find on the new 500 city car. This mid-cycle update brings LED headlights and taillights, along with new models of 16- and 17-inch alloy wheels and Ocean Blue and Paprika Orange body paints to complete the changes on the exterior. .
The model sold in Turkey as Fiat Egea and in some markets as Dodge Neon has also been updated on the interior where the seats are covered with a new fabric upholstery depending on the trim level. Fiat has installed a seven-inch digital dashboard and a 10.25-inch touchscreen Uconnect 5 infotainment system already seen on the new 500.
As for the oily lumps, there is a newly developed turbocharged three cylinder engine that is part of the FireFly family. The 1.0 liter unit is good for 100 extra horsepower or five ponies compared to the old 1.4 liter naturally aspirated mill. In addition, the peak torque of 190 Nm (140 lb-ft) is not only higher than before (127 Nm / 94 lb-ft), but it also kicks in earlier, at just 1,500 rpm rather than 4500 rpm, thanks to forced induction.
On the diesel side, MultiJet units can have 95 hp or 130 hp, the latter representing a 10 hp bump compared to its predecessor. Fiat claims that performance and efficiency benefit from a “considerable improvement” over the diesel engines that equip the pre-facelift Tipo.
After the 500 and the Panda, the Tipo is the last Fiat car to receive the D-Fence pack developed by Mopar. It includes a filter, a purifier and a UV lamp to prevent impurities from entering the cabin while blocking particles and virtually all allergens. It also reduces the risk of mold and bacteria by 98% and cleans contact surfaces.
Launched in 2016, the Fiat Tipo has been a solid success for the brand, especially in export markets, as 70% of the 670,000 cars sold so far have reached customers outside Italy.