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My brother recently acquired his driving license. Being only 19 and without any experience, there was no force on earth that could convince me to let him drive my BMW. So, he had some savings and after realizing the bitter truth that my car was out of his reach (for now), he decided to buy one of his own. After searching for a while, he finally narrow down his choice to a Fiat Tipo. Well, being "burned" by used Italian cars i really did not think it was a good idea but, he's stubborn. At least he brought me along to choose the car. We saw many Tipos, some really cheap and some more expensive. We finally bought a 93'(August) Fiat Tipo 1.6 SX with 48k miles for 1000 exactly. He has the car more than a year now and i drive it myself quite regularly (i wonder why he lets me ..). Inside the car This is a roomy hatchback. Plenty of space for four adults to seat comfortably. Driver seat is two-way adjustable and rake steering adjustment can provide a very good position even for tall persons. Boot space is average though. Built quality is good and the usual squeaking and rattling noises that we find on Italian cars are here very limited. Dashboard is solid with easy to read instruments although oil and temperature readings are on the passenger's side and difficult to see. Knobs and switches ergonomically placed with the exception of the stereo which located way down. Generally good materials were used with the exception of few occasions (like the stereo/ashtray housing). Tapestry and seat upholstery is quite wear resistant. I found just a small tear on the roof lining, the rest of the car is in excellent condition for its age. I have seen many Tipo with good tapestry. Outside the car Well, it doesn't scream "fashion".. Dull image for me even though it's a matter of taste. Trim is put together quite good and feels solid. The spoilers ar e made from fibreglass and are very difficult to damage ... except if my brother drives it of course. Just found out he reversed onto our garage entrance... The biggest disappointment is the paintjob. It feels cheap and actually is. Fades quickly and the lacque used is very thin and weak. Generally if the car is older than five years then the paint needs care. Undercarriage is in very good shape. Fiat galvanized Tipos and made them rust resistant.If they are looked after, rust shouldn’t be a problem. Driving and Performance This is a car that doesn’t put fire on the road. On 1600cc the engine only produces 75hp. Driving position is quite comfortable without any problems. First gear is very short and tops out easily, making gear changes sometimes frequent and annoying. Gear ratios are not very well designed and combined with the limited power, acceleration feels low. Only after the 3rd gear the car starts to feel somewhat quick . Changing gears is trouble free but it needs certain way to be done (slow and calmly) or else jams can occur. The clutch pedal has limited travel and not very progressive, throttle pedal is very stiff. You need some time to get used to them but nothing too difficult. Brakes do have some progression but feel underpowered in a way. Small radius and PAS make the Tipo very agile. Visibility is very good and parking is a piece of cake. Do not buy without PAS as it will be very heavy. The car feels stable on the road and reassuring, there is limited body roll and some understeer. Generally is safe with good handling characteristics. Comfort is good but the rear suspension, even if it feels sporty, is harsh. Refinement is very good with the exception of engine noise, which becomes noticeable at higher revs. Value , Cost and reliability This is really too much of a car for the money. I really could not think ano ther car that could offer the same features for that kind of money. Rear and front fog lights, electric windows ,electric and heated mirrors, spoilers, electric sunroof, power steering ,alarm and headlight washers. For a £1000 you could find models from 93 and after , low mileage and with limited number of owners .. Parts are at reasonable cost and even if you find a spare to be expensive, there are always third parties .. A full service costs £200 at Fiat (which by the way don’t trust nor like ) and imagine that the parts for the service cost £50 to them. A trusted garage will do the job (plus cambelt change) for £120-£140. Full consumption is ok for a 1.6 but the engine tends to drink oil. Changes should and must be frequent or else “black” oil can destroy many engine parts. Insurance groups are between 10-11. A little on the expensive side for its performance. Reliability is very good except some annoying electrical problems. If the car is properly maintained , mechanically it will not cause any problems. In a year, the car had new pads (worn out from the day of purchase), full service (as specified by the manual) and a injection system check and cleaning. Security and Safety Tipos are not very high on the thieves list. Usually you could find them with an alarm or an immobiliser fitted. If not , take some measures yourself because are not that difficult to nick. Safety is quite good actually. Models from 93 have fuel evaporation canister, safety windows, crumble zones and seatbelts (which are very good by the way). Models from 94 can be found with airbags and ABS. Also, Tipo is a family hatchback meaning that has respectable dimensions leaving some room between you and the fan grill ... Get one ? If you are a person that needs a good car with many features, not very old, at a low price and speed isn't a priority , this is the one. I t can be a real bargain but you have to choose very carefully. There are many Tipos for sale. Most of them are abused and mainly neglected , and Tipos don’t like neglecting them. If not properly serviced, they can make your life very difficult. If are looked after, they can be as reliable as they get. Avoid paying £400 if you afford to buy something after 93' which is around £700-£800 now. Choose only with low number of owners and full service history. If is a good example and you take good care of it, it surely wont let you down. And for 1k, there is no better choice. This review is for past 93 models (with the redesigned grill). The mark 4/5 is only intended for a used car and affected greatly by the price/features ratio.
As the title says, it's now 12 years and 120,000 miles since we bought our 1.4 DGT brand new. Got it because I had a Uno before, which was totally reliable for the 3 yrs I thrashed it. The Tipo is a roomy (4 + luggage on 3wk 2500 mile drive), economical (got 58mpg @ 60-70mph cruise & light acceleration) and MECHANICALLY reliable car (radiator, alternator brushes, carburretor fuel cutout solenoid, head to cam gasket leaked x2) The only rust we now have on it is under the rear hatch lock assembly and one door under the lower window seal. ELECTRICALLY, it's not so good (IMHO this is THE bugbear with Fiats). The central locking gave up the ghost about 5 yr ago so I removed the solenoid and we use individual door locking. The electric windows are crap, because there are no motor cutouts when they close, which rips the stupid rubber mounting nuts off the door frame assembly over time - a fiddly job to replace. The heater fan died and the fresh air system is rubbish - you always have to have the fan on low otherwise no air gets in and the fresh air vents wouldn't keep a mouse alive.The nice bulb failure warning lights are good, but the door open warning lights are always coming on so the dash looks like Blackpool illuminations all the time. There are other dumb design things, like the bonnet opening crank breaking regularly (I have got an emergency wire release hidden away now), the sunroof crank cover breaking and the side mirrors siezing up slowly. It drives like a bus, understeers if you let it, but is quite a reasonable handler overall. My wife now has really strong arms (who needs a gym?) so go for a power steering one if possible, other wise parking and town driving can be tiring. Motorways are a doddle, even fully loaded. The seats are not very supportive laterally so cornering is not so easy and the seat squab is too flat, so you slide forward over time and have to keep pulling yourself back up the seat (I 9;m 5'9" tall).
I had a Fiat Tipo for about a year and a half. It was a good little run about and I only got rid of it about 6 months ago as I was looking for a car that would suit different needs. Mines was a 1990 G register, 1.6l DGT. It was metallic Blue and looked great when I bought it. I paid £1050 for it in July 1999. I got the 5 door version. It had electric windows and a sunroof. Perhaps not the poshest specifications, but when I saw the car, I thought it was worth the money. I'm not sure if everyone will agree with that last statement, But I never had any trouble with it when I had it, and I got offered quite good money when I traded it in for my latest car. I used the car a lot. Mostly on long distances and motorway driving and think it offered about 48 miles per gallon. I think that was not bad, as I done mostly long distances, but also quite a lot of town driving as well. I replaced the odd bits and pieces. It was nothing serious, but I felt better to spend a few pounds and be assured of the new parts. I didn't think that spare parts for this car were that expensive - especially conpared to other manufacturers. Also I found that the scrapyards around here had a vast selections of these cars in (i'm sure that is a bad sign!) so it was cheap and easy to find and buy parts for this model. This model was introduced in 1988/1989 and ran until about 1994 I think. At that time it was replaced by the Brava, but I preferred the Tipo. I think this car was good. It was easy to drive, cheap to replace parts and I just liked the general look of it. I would have another one and it was a good, reliable runabout!
We bought our tipo from new, eleven years ago. The car has served us well, in the main, except when it has been let down by Fiat Dealers and Fiat Auto UK ltd. Problems have included; 1/ an incorrectly fitted alarm (Which drained the battery if left on overnight. Living in Manchester, the car crime capital of britain, having a working alarm is a must. Unfortunately, having a working car was equally important to my business. This alarm cost me thousands of pounds of lost business.) 2/ two doors were to have been replaced as they were damaged by car thieves. We paid for new doors, and received the old doors tarted up a bit. 3/ One dealer called me a liar when I told him of my problems. 4/ Fiat Auto made promises that they broke. (They argue that they never made the promises, as they have no written record of them. I argue that they failed to keep the promises and failed to make a written record of them.) I could go on, but you will get my drift by now. The car is splendid as long as nothing goes wrong. Just don't expect any support from fiat when things go wrong.
Our second car is a Fiat Tipo 1.7D, five door on a 1994 M plate. I am the third owner, having bought it at thirty thousand miles two and a half years ago. Since then I have put another twenty thousand miles on the clock. Launched in 1988 as a successor to the Strada, the Tipo range comes in three or five door versions. It has a range of engines from 1.4 litre to 2.0 litre, including Diesels, and is a competitor in the Ford Escort class. Facelift models were introduced in the early nineties before it was replaced by the Brava and Bravo. The car has an unusually long wheelbase and a high roof line. While this does not do anything for it’s looks, it does provide a great deal of cabin space and ample boot size. Interior furnishings are sparse, even the seats are basic, but the mechanics are very straightforward for the home enthusiast. Running costs are reasonable for a Fiat and most parts are available at a Motor factors Store or, more recently, second-hand from a breaker’s yard. Comfort was not a high priority for me, given that it would be our second car and would not carry the whole family on long journeys. Standard equipment does include an RDS radio/cassette, remote door mirrors, electric front windows and sunroof. However, it lacks ABS, front fog lights, airbags and side-impact bars. With that said, it is not a sports car and the crumple zones are reassuringly large for this class of car. I chose my car for economy. At 56 mph the official figure tells me I should get 55 mpg. It seems a reasonable indication, my 50/50 mix of town and motorway driving produces around 45-48 mpg. My one regret is that I did not go for the 1.9 Diesel Turbo. For only 2mpg less I would have had a significant improvement in performance. Official figures will tell you how the 1.7 produces 57 bhp and a top speed of 94 mph. The 1.9 Turbo produces 90bhp and a top speed of 109 mph. The truth is that 57 bhp is just not enough for a car of this we ight and shape. It weighs 1060 kg and has the same power output that you might expect from a 1.1 litre petrol engine. Overtaking is out of the question and pulling out of a busy junction is always interesting. The good news is that the Diesel engine could have come from Tonka. It is thoroughly reliable and, with very little maintenance and over twenty thousand miles, I have only had to replace one light bulb and the brake-pads on the car itself. If you want a ‘No frills’ second car that represents good value at current second-hand prices and cheap insurance, then you could do worse than any of the Fiat Tipo Diesels.
I got one from new - 7 years ago. The car has had very little trouble - its looking a little old now - but still has a good look to it. I've had several learner drivers putting it through its paces and I'm still on the original gearbox - which I think is quite good. Its fairly roomy, what with the folding/split seats. It is good for fuel economy around 27mpg in town. I have not done much mileage with it - around 40,000 in 7 years.