Fiat Tipo Station Wagon

Fiat Tipo station wagon lr
 
 
By Tim Saunders

 

Design is becoming more thought provoking.

I notice this as I admire the new Fiat Tipo station wagon, parked on my driveway.

There’s barely a straight panel on it and that’s nothing to do with my driving! This has led me to cast my mind back to vehicles of the past. It seems that curves started to become fashionable in the ‘60s on the likes of the E-type Jaguar but many cars of that period were still boxy and this was the case right through to the ‘80s, even the ‘90s where straight lines still prevailed on the likes of the Vauxhall Cavalier. Of course this is a very general perception and there were exceptions to the rule such as TVR and the more specialist manufacturers. Over the next 20 years those straight lines were gradually rounded off, think of the Ford Granada and Vauxhall Omega. But we now live in a different era, one where manufacturers have gone back to the drawing board and created something that combines both straight lines and curves. The Fiat Tipo is a good example of this. The front wheel arches are a tasteful blend of slightly boxy curvaceousness which joins up with the equally well crafted bonnet. It looks chunkier from the side than head on. And it’s a good effect. This is offset by the two-tone 16-inch alloy wheels.

Such a visual feast is a surprise from Fiat which has raised its game of late. The build quality is improved too when compared to Fiats of the past. Like a good recipe, sprinkled with the right amount of herbs and garnishes, the designers have done a Gordon Ramsay, successfully giving the Tipo station wagon a special personality. And it has more than 500 litres load carrying capacity making it attractive as both a family car and a business proposition.

“Is the bumper meant to be like that?” I ask the delivery driver pointing at the rear section which seems to jut out as if it has been forcibly pulled out of place. “Oh yes,” he chuckles. It’s as if the fabricating machine has gone too far.

Fiat, which is the world’s seventh largest car maker, also owns one of America’s most well-known car manufacturers, Chrysler. So the big American front grille on the Tipo estate, which is very much of our time, is no surprise and helps this Italian cut a strong presence on the road. The boot is not so successful, looking weaker than the front in my opinion. And the back side panels have a hint of the Honda Accord estate about them. A generous smattering of chrome is both successful and appreciated by me.

There’s a comfortable driving position, although the seat fabric seems a little thin as I feel my young son’s foot in the base of my back. It feels a sporty car and the diesel unit - coupled to a six speed manual gearbox - can have a surprising sense of urgency, if required. But seemingly not enough oomph for the impatient Ford Focus behind me as I overtake a slow moving lorry. It is quite surprising to find that the Focus is quite a bit quicker. So I gracefully pull over and let the topless baseball hat clad youth pass.

The air conditioning is always a welcome sign on a warm summer’s day especially when the pollen count is high. As a sufferer, the air conditioning purifies the air, removing any irritating pollen. It’s very effective.

 
Facts at a glance
 
Fiat Tipo Station Wagon 1.6-litre diesel
Price from £14,485
Top speed: 124mph
0-60mph: 10.1secs
Power: 118bhp
Economy: upto 76mpg 
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