FIAT Tipo / Aegea

Debut: 2015
Maker: FIAT
Predecessor: Bravo

 Published on 8 Dec 2015 All rights reserved. 

Some motoring journalists say there are no longer poor cars these days. Established car makers, even the American and Korean ones that we used to criticized so much in the past, have upped their games so much in the past 5-10 years. In fact, I have not rated a new car from established car makers at 2 or fewer stars for a long time. However, whenever Fiat launches a new car (which isn’t so often these days), we still have a good chance to see an exception. This company is more interested in making big deals or investing premium brands rather than improving the bread-and-butter cars of its core brand. It let the aging Punto and Bravo soldiering on forever. When it finally realized they were simply too old to attract customers, it tried to replace them in cheaper, shortcut ways. The new Tipo is an example.

Every mainstream European car maker should have a C-segment hatchback to catch the largest crowd of buyers. Fiat’s C-segment hatch can be traced back to Ritmo (1978), the first Tipo (1988), Brava/Bravo (1995), Stilo (2001) and Brava II (2007). Unfortunately, failing to keep up with the stiff competition, Fiat is giving up the line. So what is the new Tipo? It is actually another car. Although it is styled in Turin, its development takes place in Turkey, ditto the production. Its key market is Turkey, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (at the moment not sure if China will be on the list), no wonder it is designed as a 3-box sedan. The customers in those countries are more conscious of price and practicality, so the new Tipo is a basic, no-nonsense vehicle, much in the same way as Dacia. Next year there will be a hatchback version, but even so it won’t be in the same ballpark as Volkswagen Golf or Opel Astra. The Tipo name might bring us some fond memories (the original won ECOTY in 1988), but it is only a trick to hide its completely different bloodline. We had better to call it Aegea instead, which is its Turkish name.

The Aegea appears to be a C-segment car, but it is built on the platform of Fiat 500L and 500X, which means B-segment basis. The key benefit of this is low cost, of course. It rides on basic suspensions consisting of MacPherson struts and torsion-beam axle. There are only some outdated engines on offer – 95 hp 1.4 and 110 hp 1.6 petrol, 95 hp 1.3 Multijet and 120 hp 1.6 Multijet diesel. Steering is assisted by the cheapest column-mounted motor. Nothing catches your attention. As expected, its powertrains offer limited performance as well as refinement. The gearchange is mediocre. The suspension is set soft to absorb the bumpy roads of developing countries, so there is pronounced body roll in bends. The steering is muted and uninteresting. In short, there is no driving fun to speak of.

The same can be said to its packaging. Although the nose looks smart enough and the C-pillars have some BMW 3-Series in them, overall this design is characterless. You might just as well confuse it with a Korean subcompact of the past decade. The world has moved on, but Turin still lives in the past. No, it actually falls short of the standards of its glorious days.

Ditto the interior. We have been criticizing the interior design effort of Centro Stile during the leadership of ex-design chief Lorenzo Ramaciotti. The Aegea is clearly one of the last assets he left. Ugly, outdated and low-rent, the cabin should put most people off if not it offers plenty of space and generous standard equipment. It has no problem to accommodate six-footers front and rear. The boot is also capacious at 520 liters. Just don't expect the quality plastics and tactile switchgears of the usual European norm.

The Aegea is a car built for developing countries. It happens as Tipo just because Fiat has nothing on the pipeline to replace the overdue Bravo. Without offering top notch packaging, build quality, performance and refinement, it is impossible to be competitive in Western Europe. It might be cheaper than the usual C-segment cars, but neither is it cheap enough to steal sales from Dacia Logan/Sandero. It's a poor attempt by the most disappointing European mainstream brand.

Length / width / height
Valve gears
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Suspension layout

Suspension features
Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
Tipo 4dr 1.6 Multijet
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4532 / 1792 / 1497 mm
2636 mm
Inline-4, diesel
1598 cc
DOHC 16 valves
VTG turbo
120 hp
236 lbft
6-speed manual
F: strut
R: torsion-beam
1270 kg
124 mph (c)
9.1 (c)
Tipo 5dr 1.4T-Jet
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4368 / 1792 / 1495 mm
2636 mm
1368 cc
DOHC 16 valves
120 hp
152 lbft
6-speed manual
F: strut
R: torsion-beam
1275 kg
124 mph (c)
9.0 (c)

Performance tested by: -

AutoZine Rating

General models

    Copyright© 1997-2015 by Mark Wan @ AutoZine