Skip advert
Advertisement
In-depth reviews

Fiat Tipo hatchback review

“If you’re after a small family hatchback that’s strong on value, practicality and standard equipment, then the Fiat Tipo could well be for you”

Carbuyer Rating

3.6 out of 5

Owners Rating
Be the first to review

Pros

  • Impressively practical
  • Well equipped
  • Good value

Cons

  • Rivals are cheaper to run
  • Suspect interior quality
  • Not that great to drive

The Fiat Tipo is the Italian company’s contender in the competitive family hatchback class, so it’s a bit bigger than the Fiat 500 and Fiat Panda. It’s up against a huge array of new rivals, so has to fight hard in an incredibly tough class.

Among its rivals are such successful models as the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra, Renault Megane and SEAT Leon, while it also has to persuade customers away from value-conscious choices such as the Kia Ceed, Hyundai i30, Citroen C4 and Skoda Scala. With superminis like the Renault Clio becoming increasingly practical, you might consider it a rival to the Tipo as well.

Best family cars 2023Top 10 best family cars 2024

Now available as a Cross version with a slightly jacked-up ride height, the Fiat Tipo also has to compete with the Ford Focus Active, Kia XCeed and the endless stream of small SUVs. Even with a new mild-hybrid petrol engine for 2022, the Tipo struggles against many of its rivals.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The entry-level Tipo starts at under £20,000 and looks decent value at that price - even though UK buyers aren’t offered the ultra-cheap model sold in some countries for the equivalent of less than £9,000, which would make an interesting alternative to a Dacia Sandero. The UK Tipo range is pretty straightforward: there are only a few trim levels and a fairly brief list of engine choices. Hybrid models dramatically increase the price, and top-spec Tipos are too expensive.

The Fiat Tipo is smart and businesslike on the outside. You could call it understated and elegant if you wanted to be kind, but there isn’t much in the way of charisma or imagination to its styling. A 2020 facelift brought new headlights and exterior tweaks. Inside, the Tipo feels well put together, but the overall dashboard design is disappointingly short on style and looks rather dated against fresher rivals.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

Better news is that interior space is generous, with an impressive amount of rear legroom – although the hatchback, unlike the estate, features a sloping roofline that compromises rear headroom slightly. The Tipo is a practical car, too, with 440 litres of space in the boot, plus an additional 12 litres in cubbyholes dotted around the interior.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The Tipo feels planted and safe on the road, but it can’t match rivals like the Focus or Leon for driver enjoyment. There’s noticeable body lean around corners, while the steering is overly light and doesn’t inspire confidence. Instead, the soft suspension does a pretty good job of insulating passengers from the shocks of potholes and broken tarmac.

For 2022, the engine line-up consists of a 1.0-litre petrol engine with 99bhp and a mild-hybrid 1.3-litre petrol with a useful 128bhp. Previously, the Tipo was available with a 118bhp 1.6-litre MultiJet diesel or two versions of a 1.4-litre petrol with outputs of 94bhp and 118bhp. The newer engines are far more modern and efficient; just don’t be fooled by all the hybrid badges on the bigger engine, because the electrification is very mild.

Current trim levels are an unnamed base model, City Life, Cross and a RED edition that’s the result of a partnership between Fiat and a charity that raises money to fight AIDS and COVID-19. All are reasonably well equipped, with air-conditioning, cruise control, DAB radio and Bluetooth standard across the range.

City Life includes bigger wheels, bright LED headlights, traffic sign recognition and chrome trim. Cross brings a reversing camera, digital dials, heated seats and keyless entry, plus the higher ride height. RED, based on the Cross, gets exclusive trim and badging. We reckon the entry-level models offer the best value, though: top models compete on price with the more talented Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra and lose sight of the Tipo's central appeal – value for money.

Fiat finished a disappointing 26th out of 29 manufacturers in our 2021 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey. The Tipo scored a slightly underwhelming three out of five stars when crash tested by Euro NCAP, though this score rose to four stars with the autonomous emergency braking system fitted. As this is standard on all UK cars, the Tipo is effectively a four-star car in the UK.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement

Recommended

Peugeot 408 review – sleek lines and practicality combined
Peugeot 408 UK
In-depth reviews
12 Apr 2024

Peugeot 408 review – sleek lines and practicality combined

Peugeot 308 review – premium family hatchback
2022 Peugeot 308 driving
In-depth reviews
10 Apr 2024

Peugeot 308 review – premium family hatchback

New Volkswagen Golf – updated hatchback lands with £27,065 price tag
2024 Volkswagen Golf static quarter
News
9 Apr 2024

New Volkswagen Golf – updated hatchback lands with £27,065 price tag

New Hyundai i30 facelift freshens family hatch for 2024
Hyundai i30 front quarter
News
27 Mar 2024

New Hyundai i30 facelift freshens family hatch for 2024

Most Popular

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s top car offers
Carbuyer best new car deals hero
Deals
12 Apr 2024

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s top car offers

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
26 Mar 2024

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Ford EcoBoost engines: what are they and should you buy one?
Ford Puma SUV front tracking
Tips and advice
26 Mar 2024

Ford EcoBoost engines: what are they and should you buy one?

More on Tipo

New Fiat Tipo expected as a petrol and electric family SUV
2025 Fiat Tipo - front
News
13 Feb 2023

New Fiat Tipo expected as a petrol and electric family SUV

Fiat is preparing to reinvent its Ford Focus rival as a stylish family SUV
New Fiat Panda and Tipo Garmin Editions mapped out
Hero
News
13 May 2022

New Fiat Panda and Tipo Garmin Editions mapped out

Fiat’s latest collaboration brings outdoor-inspired styling and an accompanying smartwatch
Fiat launches new RED versions of Panda and Tipo
Fiat Panda RED
News
11 Jan 2022

Fiat launches new RED versions of Panda and Tipo

After the Fiat 500 range gained RED versions in October, Fiat’s other hatchbacks have got the same treatment
Skip advert
Advertisement
Fiat Tipo Station Wagon estate review (2016-2021)
fiat-tipo-station-wagon-estate-01
In-depth reviews
5 Nov 2021

Fiat Tipo Station Wagon estate review (2016-2021)

"The Fiat Tipo Station Wagon is a practical, spacious and generously equipped family estate car, let down by an uninspiring engine range and dull driv…
Facelifted Fiat Tipo starts from £17,690
2020 Fiat Tipo Cross - front 3/4 view moving
News
13 Nov 2020

Facelifted Fiat Tipo starts from £17,690

Updated Tipo range gets new Cross model, refreshed styling and new technology
New Fiat Tipo Sport and Mirror trims launched for 2019
News
22 May 2019

New Fiat Tipo Sport and Mirror trims launched for 2019

Fiat Tipo range now includes six trim levels, starting from £14,905
Fiat Tipo Street trim level adds stylish touches
News
15 Feb 2019

Fiat Tipo Street trim level adds stylish touches

Street trim combines extra visual interest with an affordable price and low running costs

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
26 Mar 2024

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Public EV charge point
Tips and advice
11 Jan 2023

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
17 May 2022

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
21 Mar 2024

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors

Top 10 best electric cars 2024
best electric cars
Best cars
28 Mar 2024

Top 10 best electric cars 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024
The best cheap-to-run cars 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024
Fastest hot hatchbacks hero
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024