Fiat Tipo Hatchback 1.4 review

FIAT Tipo Hatch 1.4

The VW Golf has a certain status in our market. It is considered by many as just the right size and feel to be their car of choice.

In the last few years the Golf has got competition in the medium-compact segment with cars like the Hyundai Accent and i20, Kia Cerato, Mazda 3, Suzuki Ciaz and Baleno.

Fiat has just launched a simple but comprehensive range of sedan and hatch models to take Golf and these cars on, the Tipo. The Fiat Tipo is a little bigger than the Golf internally and is more down to earth, but we think, much better value for money.

FIAT Tipo Hatch

The Tipo family was developed around the brief “Skills, no frills” and combines the brand’s historic concepts of functionality, simplicity and personality in an extraordinary value-for-money offering.

Don’tbe fooled into thinking it is inferior, the Tipo family has been awarded a string of accolades, the latest of which is the prestigious Autobest “Best Buy Car 2016” award, chosen by a jury of 26 journalists from the most authoritative European car magazines. Tipo is sold in 50 countries and uses the selling point of generous standard equipment along with active and passive safety systems in an affordable package.

Locally two body styles, three trim levels, three engines and three transmission types will be available.

The hatch we drove is attractive without breaking the mould and yet has great detail design elements. We found it to have excellent ergonomics: comfort, space configuration, accessibility, visibility and driving position. The handling and roadholding, especially on slightly rough road surfaces is very good. The car feels settled.

The interior of the Tipo has loads of compartments with a variety of shapes and capacities totalling no less than 12 litres and can be used for storing personal objects, smartphones, bottles, coins and more. Furthermore, a media centre for connecting devices is situated in front of the gear lever. The Tipo features the latest-generation audio systems including a hands-free Bluetooth interface, audio streaming, text reader and voice recognition, AUX and USB ports with iPod integration, controls on the steering wheel and, on demand, the optional rear parking camera and the new TomTom 3D built-in navigation system is optionally available on all models except the EASY.

The load capacity is also class-leading: 440 litres for the hatchback and 520 litres for the sedan. The boot sill is low and stepless, to facilitate loading even the bulkiest of packages.

Modern active and passive safety devices are standard, including driver and front passenger airbags (with side and curtain airbags as an option). Also standard is electronic stability control (ESC), an effective but non-invasive driving aid. This sophisticated system helps to maintain steering control under extreme conditions, such as on wet or slippery roads, or when tackling tight corners or making sudden emergency manoeuvres.

All Tipos get LED daytime running lights.

The 1.4 16v Fire is the entry-level petrol engine of the Tipo family. This engine delivers 70kW at 6,000 r/min and reaches maximum torque of 127Nm at 4,500 r/min. This engine is fine here in the Cape but may be a little ‘pap’ on the highveld

The models we recommend are those with the 1.6 E-torQ petrol engine mated to 6-speed auto box.

The top-of-the-range 1.3 MultiJet II diesel with a 5-speed manual box is energetic, to say the least.

The Tipo has a range of 70 Mopar accessories , which include a jacket hanger, work table and tablet holder on the headrests of the front seats among more mundane items.

The Fiat Tipo Hatchback and Sedan is now available from Fiat dealerships countrywide.

The South African Range range consists of:

Fiat Tipo Sedan

1.4l Pop – R229,900

1.4l Easy – R249,900

1.3l D Easy – R274,900

1.6l Easy Auto – R274,900

Fiat Tipo Hatchback

1.4l POP – R249,900

1.4l EASY – R269,900

1.4l LOUNGE – R289,900

1.6l EASY Auto – R294,900

We think the EASY models, particularly the 1.6 hit the sweet spot.

All Fiat Tipo models come with a standard 3 year / 100,000km warranty and service plan.

 

Fiat Professional Fullback

Fiat Professional Fullback

In the next few months four bakkies will launch in South Africa.

Fiat is first out the block with the Mitsubishi Triton derived Fullback.

Fiat Professional Fullback

Fiat Professional Fullback  (Quickpic)

The Fullback range has three configurations, three trim levels, three engines and two gearboxes:

4X2  (rear-wheel drive) in single and double cab ,

4X4 (all-wheel drive) in double cab

2.5 Diesel (100Kw) 4×2 LX

2.5 Diesel ( 131Kw) 4×4 SX

2.4 Petrol (97Kw) 4×2

All manual at launch, but the diesels will get an auto box later.

PRICES:  The Single Cab 2.4 Petrol 97Kw 4×2 STD Trim starting from R232 900 including VAT, the Double cab 2.5 diesel 100Kw 4×2 – LX Trim starting from R402 900 including VAT whilst the Double cab 2.5 Diesel 131Kw 4×4 – SX Trim will be available from R468 900 including VAT.

The Fiat professional Fullback range comes standard with a 3 year/ 100 000km vehicle warranty and a 5yr/ 100 000km service plan.

A full review will follow in due course.

 

FIAT Qubo arrives in SA

The Fiat Qubo has arrived in South African and is set to stir up the non-conformist “Mom’s Taxi” brigade with the concept of “free space” that satisfies a variety of needs for mobility.
The Fiat Qubohas two sliding rear side doors, flexible interiors capable of offering varying ownership solutions. With versatility and compact dimensions (3959 mm long and 1684 mm wide) the Qubo boasts the best maximum capacity boot amongst the competitive set.Qubo fits into the urban and suburban environment,with its frugal 1.3 Multijet 55kW diesel engine; up to 1,000 km or more on a single tank and CO2 emissions of 119 g/km, as well as reduced operating costs (30,000 km for the first service).
Fiat_qubo
The exterior styling of the Qubo sets itself apart.                                                                      

 Qubo is available with two Euro 4 engine derivatives – the sparky 1.3, Multijet turbo-diesel engine and the reliable 1.4, petrol derivative. These powertrains offer driving pleasure, excellent performance, and reduced operating costs, as well as reliability and, most importantly in this day and age, respect for the environment.
The new Qubo’s turbo diesel engine produces 55 kW at 4,000 r/min and torque of 190 Nm at 1,750 r/min, guaranteeing excellent performance and the best consumption figures in its class. Maximum speed is 155 km/h and in the combined driving cycle it returns 4.6 l/100 km. This frugal performance translates to a formidable 1,000 km range potential on 45 litres of diesel.Performance of the 1.4 petrol engine offers similarly impressive characteristics, having been specially developed with a view to performance and consumption. This engine produces an adequate 54 kW at 5,200 r/min and a maximum torque of 118 Nm at 2,600 r/min. The engine is peppy but thrifty, maximum speed is 155 km/h yet returns 7.0 l/100 km in the combined cycle.Born out of the industrial cooperation between FIAT and PSA and developed on the Grande Punto platform, Qubo is produced in the Tofas plant in Bursa, Turkey – where the Fiat Doblò is also produced – as a spin-off of a simple yet revolutionary concept.

Qubo is offered in a 5-passenger model with two engine derivatives with the attractive yet durable “Tangram” black trim material. Safety equipment includes ABS complete with EBD, 3-point seat belts with tensioners and load limiters, power steering, and front and side airbags.The Qubo is also available in a range of ten lively exterior colours that are certain to set it apart from its competitors. Four pastel colours; Ambient White, Funky Orange, Line Blue and Breakcore Red, as well as six metallic; Minimal Grey, Hillbilly Azure, Flamenco Red, Disco Green, Cool jazz Blue and Rockabilly Black.The standard Blue&Me™: Bluetooth® technology hands-free system with steering wheel mounted controls, MP3 file reader with USB port, and leather steering wheel ensures everything is always perfectly complementary and never distracts the driver from the road.

Fiat Qubo will be available immediately from 36 Fiat dealerships countrywide and, as with all Fiat Group products, comes standard with a 3 year / 100,000km full maintenance plan and warranty for peace-of-mind driving. The Qubo retails for R177,990.00 for the 1.4l petrol version, and R199,990.00 for the 1.3l diesel variant, including VAT and CO2 tax.

Fiat 500 Matt Black

The Fiat 500 Matt Black has a matt black paint finish with grille mouldings, door handles and door mirrors finished in a metallic effect. Its 16” alloy wheels are also coated in matt black with a red coach line and red brake callipers creating a sporty accent.

You are going to pay for all of this. Although comprehensively equipped, it is a little dear at R185k. Love to see one on the road though.

The Matt Black features a host of standard equipment unique to its segments including climate control, rear park distant sensors, electrical anti-dazzle mirror and a premium Hi-Fi Interscope Sound System Radio CD / MP3 with 6 speakers and a sub-woofer.

As a launch offer to the first 50 owners of the 500 Matt Black, Fiat will offer its premium Tom Tom navigation system as standard equipment. The system works in conjunction with Fiat’s Blue&Me system. This fully integrated infotainment system with practical colour touch screen can be used to manage a mobile phone, a navigation system and all the necessary driving information.
On the technical front, the Matt Black is powered by Fiat’s 74 kW 1.4-litre 16v Euro 5-ready engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. Maximum torque is rated at 131 Nm at 4250 rpm. This results in a 0-100km/h sprint time of 10,5 seconds and a maximum speed of 181 km/h.  Fuel consumption is around 8,2 l/100km in the urban cycle; 5,2 l/100km in the extra-urban cycle and a very credible 6,3 l/100km in the combined cycle. Emissions are 149g/km.

Safety is of the highest standard with a full complement of passive and active safety systems including 7 air bags, ESP (stability control), traction control, Hill holder and ABS with EBD. All 500s come with a 5-star EuroNCAP rating.

All Fiat 500 models come standard with 30 000 km service intervals and full after-sales support.
Fiat offers a three-year / 100 000 km Warranty (three years on paintwork and five years on rust anti-perforation) as well as a five-year / 90 000 km service plan as standard on the new Matt Black.

PRICING

Fiat 500 1.4 Matt Black – R185 000 (incl VAT and CO2 Tax)

Small van review, VW Caddy, Fiat Doblo, Opel Combo

Originally published in Your Business magazine in December 2010.

Getting the right wheels for your business is not such a simple decision.

A few years ago it was simple.

Which bakkie to get? And there were only four possibilities. But times have changed. Not only must we now consider the purchase price, but the cost of ownership over the life of the vehicle which includes the cost of fuel and the type of fuel and the overall efficiency needs to be considered. We also need to think about security, image and driver comfort and behaviour.

Bakkie vs Van

A base petrol bakkie with a basic canopy will cost you around R115 00, while a base model petrol van will cost around R 150 000. So what do you get for the extra R35 000?

For starters the specifications of the vans are more in line with the middle trim, if not top model of the bakkies. This includes little but important details like a place to keep your clip board, much better seats and so on. If you compare bakkies with vans of a similar specification then the price difference is about R10 000.

Secondly you get much easier access to your load. Remember the vans have a door on the side as well as fully opening doors at the back. The load bed is normally lower. At around 800 kg payload capacity the vans can carry more than the bakkies, except for the Nissan.

Thirdly and probably most importantly security is in another league entirely. The vans are safer to drive and your cargo is safer in the back.

Finally the cabs of the vans are as a rule better designed for a delivery vehicle and more ergonomic. If you need to keep your load cool you need to get a van with air conditioner like the Doblo.

With the diesels it looks a little different, but the difference is also around R30 000. If you compare the diesel vans and bakkies of the same trim levels the difference is around R5 000.

Fuel consumption is generally better for the vans.

Bakkies under one ton

There are broadly five makes available on the market. The smallest is the Chevrolet which used to be the Opel Corsa and the biggest the Nissan NP200.

Generally speaking you will need to add the cost of a canopy to the price of you bakkie. The most basic canopy from Canopy King is R5 200. Beekmans have a slightly more robust canopy which has a high roofline and full door at R6 600.

Cheapest Petrol Cheapest Diesel Canopy
Ford Bantam R101 950 R141 250 5200
Chevrolet (Corsa) R107 600 R151 300 5200
FIAT Strada R107 400 n/a 5200
Nissan NP200 R103 100 R143 600 5200
Proton R88 995 5200

The biggest selling small bakkie in recent years has been the Opel Corsa. In May it was facelifted, become slightly more expensive and is now badged  as a Chevrolet. It is a great little all rounder but has rather limited carrying capacity.

The Ford Bantam has also recently had a mid-life upgrade. It’s a great little bakkie and handles extremely well. The diesel engine is very smooth and effective.

The Nissan NP200 is the biggest of these bakkies concerning both the cabin space and the carrying capacity. Its also the newest design and shares a platform with the Renault Sandero.

The Fiat Strada has an ace up its sleeve in the form of the X-space an extended cab version. These Fiats are extremely economical.

The Proton Arena is made in Malaysia and offers a three year warranty.

Vans under one ton

Five manufacturers offer small vans. The best selling is the VW Caddy, the most versatile and the biggest is the FIAT Doblo. The Toyota is basically the MPV without the seats and windows.

Petrol Diesel Load volume litres Payload
FIAT Doblo R151 400 3200 850
VW Caddy R147 632 R175 351 3200 730
Toyota Avanza R140 100 955 600
Puegeot Partner R155 900 R168 200 3300 850
Opel Combo R155 940 2390 520

The Toyota Avanza is not quite in the same league as the others. It is more of a replacement for the previous Corolla Tazz micro van. If all you want is a very small delivery van then it’s quite a cost effective solution. I drove one in Johannesburg and can confirm that it is powerful enough to get the job done.

The Peugeots seem to be quite expensive although their cabins are well equipped and it is a recently introduced model with all the latest safety kit. One snag is the distribution of branches and service points.

The Opel Combo has been available for a few years. I have not driven one as they are quite rare and cannot comment on it. It is a little smaller than the Caddy and Doblo.

Fiat Doblo

I am quite a fan of the FIAT Doblo. It’s got a roomy well thought out cabin with lots of handy pockets, holders and storage spaces. All the doors open the way they should and the load area is actually quite big. I drove the previous diesel model and found it to be superb with a brilliant air conditioner. I am told the present petrol model is an upgrade. It certainly seems as comfortable and is well appointed but does not come standard with air conditioner. These vans come with all the modern safety equipment and ride enhancement tools fitted. Take one for a test drive.

VW Caddy

The VW Caddy is an efficient small commercial vehicle. It’s cab is a bit smaller and less well equipped than the Fiat’s but still comfortable and practical. They sell around a hundred a month of them. It reminds one a bit about the Polo of two generations ago.

You also get the Caddy Maxi which is 300 mm longer, has a capacity of 800kg and a load volume 4200 litres and costs R183 509.

There is also a Maxi crew bus which is a van with a second row of seats at just under R200 000. Safety features include disc brakes front and rear,  ABS / TCS / EBC, electronic power steering and rear fog lights.

If you want rubber floor covering it will be an extra R1570. Cruise control is R1 700 and air conditioning is R8 400 extra.

Conclusion

The side door together with the wide opening rear doors make these vans very efficient business vehicles. Add to that the added security and the comfort of the cabins and they become a real option to the old school bakkie with a canopy.