Product Type: Fiat cars
Newest Review: ... from previous owners as worn brake pads etc. In the summer the power steering switch started to leak but it was only 42 euro to fix. Sin... more
No cry of Bravo! for the Fiat Brava
Fiat Brava in general
Member Name: dididave
Fiat Brava in general
Date: 21/10/07, updated on 21/10/07 (1048 review reads)
Advantages: Roomy family vehicle.
Disadvantages: No reliability, old-fashioned, lacking in extras.
When you buy a car off eBay you are probably asking for trouble and when you do not get it checked over by a mechanic you are definitely asking for it. However, occasionally you are desperate for a cheap vehicle and anything will do. After all, if you have a budget of four-hundred pounds you cannot expect much bang for your buck. It was therefore, with a large dose of pessimism and perhaps foresight for what the future would hold, that I bought a 1.4 R registration Fiat Brava for just three-hundred and seventy pounds with twelve months MOT.
On arriving to pick up and pay for my vehicle I have to say that initial signs were favourable. The maroon bodywork was flawless and the interior tidy. Apart from a few inevitable scuffs the car was as good as new. The promised central locking was working fine although annoyingly you cannot operate it from the passenger side and the shape of the car is very smooth and long. Very much like the newer models of Ford Escort. The interior of the car is however, very basic in this model.
This car is very much an eighties throwback on the inside with a variety of ashtrays and Fiat's own in-built stereo-cassette player. This means you would not be able to remove it and replace it with your own up to date stereo/cd or mp3 combo and as such this is not a car for music lovers. The radio is functional and the speakers adequate but you will not enjoy the crackles and thuds if you turn up the volume or bass. There is very little else in the way of extras in this car aside from a decent-sized lockable glovebox and as such those who like their gadgets will not like this car either.
Actually driving the car is a bit bizarre. As a driver or passenger you have plenty of leg and headroom but bizarrely, Fiat have given the driver bucket seats which make you feel like you are driving a cross between a racing car and a go-kart as you feel like you are sitting on the floor. Unfortunately, this is not matched by a hugely underpowered engine that struggles to move your bulky vehicle above forty miles per hour and there is a definite lack of acceleration which makes overtaking and pulling away nigh on impossible. On the plus side the car cruises well after fifty miles per hour and is comparatively quiet on the motorway. A lack of power steering and the saloon style of this car makes it much more suitable for long motorway drives with the family than round town driving and parking is just painful.
Fuel consumption for the 1.4 Fiat Brava is one of the few plus points to the driving experience as it is reasonable for a family car at around thirty-five miles per gallon. A round trip of twenty-five miles per day, five days a week was setting me back around thirty quid a week which considering the size and weight of the car, is not too bad.
As I have mentioned this is a large family car and perhaps the last plus point I should mention is that it is roomy both front and back although you will struggle to get more than one booster seat in the back and sit three children comfortably. The boot room is very good for a saloon and is almost hatchback in size. As per usual this is almost doubled if you remove the parcel shelf and this family of six could fit ten plus shopping bags in with no problem.
Unfortunately, this is the last good thing I can say about the Fiat Brava as after only three months of ownership, it has all gone downhill. First the brakes went (not good in the mersey tunnel!). Apparently, the mechanic across the road reliably informed me that Brava's brake pipes rust very easily. This is what happened to ours as the left-hand side pipe rusted and all the brake fluid vanished. A new pipe and fifty quid lighter and it was running again. Two weeks lighter and my brakes went again. Guess what? The right-hand side brake pipe had rusted and the fluid had gone. Another fifty quid lighter and it was running lighter. Finally, a month later and the head gasket on the engine cracked and the engine needed replacing which frankly costs more money than the car is worth. As such, yesterday it was towed to be dismantled.
So, it would appear my pessimism was justified as my £370 eBay bargain has turned into an expensive lesson in how not to buy a car. I would not recommend a 1.4 Brava to anyone as they do not drive well and seem to suffer from all sorts of mechanical faults. Despite looking like a good, reliable family car the Fiat Brava has turned out to be the opposite. Now, where have I put my copy of the Autotrader?
Summary: A no-no for all.