As a heavy-duty family car, the Tipo hybrid has to compete with small SUVs as well as conventional hatchbacks. Unfortunately, it can’t compete on either side because it’s not very fun to drive and doesn’t have the technology you’d expect in either category. However, the Tipo does fix some points in terms of practicality and ride comfort.
The Tipo Not a big UK seller, but it represents great business for Fiat across Europe (it’s the most popular Turkish model in 2021), which is why the Italian marque is now offering a value-oriented hatch with its latest range of mild hybrids.
The Tipo gets a facelift in late 2020 with a new Fiat badging on the grille, new LED headlights and some other exterior tweaks. The biggest change, however, comes with the addition of an SUV-inspired Cross model, which is what we’re testing here.
On top of both the entry-level Tipo and mid-range City Life models, the Cross features 7cm more ground clearance, more aggressive front and rear bumpers, a new grille, and black plastic body moldings for the wheel arches. and side skirts and roof rails.
There are some strong direct competitors to the Tipo Cross, even in hybrid form. The Ford Focus Active Light hybrid is the closest opponent, but Citroen C4 and Kia XCeed good enough to pose a threat even without an electrified engine option. In addition, there are many seemingly endless small SUVs occupying a similar space in the market.
Check out the car group
Used car check
As standard, the hybrid version of the Cross has blind-spot assist, heated front seats, keyless entry, adaptive cruise control, driver drowsiness detection and lane-keeping assist. There’s also a road sign detection system, but it’s best to ignore its symbols in the seven-inch driving display as they’re not too reliable and often clash with the sat-nav. The quality of the rear parking camera is also not very clear.
The (RED) version we tested is the result of a partnership between the AIDS charity (RED), to which the Italian company has pledged £2.9 million over the next few years. To celebrate the partnership, the special Tipo features red seats, red dashboard, unique door panels and red painted wing mirrors.
Inside, there’s a seven-inch touchscreen on top of the dashboard with sat-nav, DAB and Bluetooth connectivity. It’s easy enough to navigate, but it’s not the fastest infotainment system out there.
Fiat ditched the 1.4-liter petrol and 1.6-liter diesel powertrains in the Tipo’s recent facelift, leaving only the 99hp 1.0-liter three-cylinder petrol and now the 4-petrol model. this hybrid 1.5-liter cylinder, complete with a 48-volt starter. generator and 15kW battery pack.
You can start the Tipo hybrid in electric-only mode, but it doesn’t take much throttle before the petrol engine kicks in. This hybrid powertrain feels powerful enough with 128hp and 240Nm of torque, but there’s a disappointing lack of response, largely a result of the sluggish automatic transmission.
It’s also not the most refined engine, as it hums a bit in traffic (if you’re going too fast for EV-only mode). Thankfully at highway speeds it slows down.
Quality of trip in Fiat Tipo not quite on par with things like Ford Focus or Volkswagen Golf Course, but it doesn’t feel harsh at all. The raised suspension can keep jolts away from road imperfections, and the seats are supportive and comfortable.
Where the Tipo falls short of its rivals is in the corners. While it doesn’t roll as much as you’d expect, the steering is extremely light and doesn’t offer much feedback. It’s also hard to slow down the throttle, so it’s best if the Tipo Hybrid doesn’t push too hard.
A notable benefit to the new mixture the powertrain appears when you’re trying to park. Fiat says it can be done alone on electric power, and while you have to be gentle with the throttle to achieve this, it’s a nice touch.
The Tipo Hybrid is available as a hatch or estate model. Needless to say the practicality is better in the real estate, but the hatch still offers plenty of front space and decent rear legroom and headroom. The 440-litre boot capacity is also one of the largest in its class, easily beating Peugeot 308of 412 liters and that of the VW Golf is 380 liters. There is a bit of a dark lip in the trunk so heavy luggage can be very difficult to get in and out.
The entry-level 1.0-litre Tipo starts at £19,605 which is quite eye-catching but this lightweight Cross cross increases that to £27,605, while the Cross (RED) version we tested adds £1,000 to the price. Better equipment Ford Focus The Active Vignale mild hybrid costs £1,065 more, but is definitely worth the extra money.
|Model:||Fiat Tipo Hybrid (RED)|
|Engine:||1.5-liter four-cylinder turbocharged electric motor|
|Power / Torque:||128bhp / 240Nm|