Fiat has refreshed its budget-buyer-oriented compact car – the Tipo – with an aesthetic update, improved tech and a new turbopetrol motor. The Italian marque has also added an SUV-inspired crossover variant to the line-up...
The understated, but value-packed, Tipo arrived in South Africa in 2017 (in hatchback and sedan guises) as a rival to the Ford Figo, Honda Amaze, Suzuki Baleno & Ciaz, (recently discontinued) Toyota Etios and Volkswagen Polo Vivo/Polo Sedan. Although it hasn’t been particularly popular in the local market, as many as 670 000 units of the Tipo have been sold worldwide, with more than 70% of its sales volumes in markets outside Italy.
In Lounge trim, the Tipo looks particularly striking, replete with its new "corporate" badging.
Although the Tipo's cosmetic upgrades are subtle, it's notably the first ICE-powered Fiat model to wear the Torinese-based brand's new wordmark logo (after the recently unveiled New 500). Other revisions include a redesigned grille, LED head- and taillights, as well as refreshed bumpers.
The interior, meanwhile, features updated trim, black and chrome inserts, as well as a new multifunction steering wheel, a "fully configurable" 7-inch digital instrument cluster, which replaces the analogue instrument panel (at least in top-of-the-range derivatives, we'd guess) as well a 10.25-inch UConnect 5 infotainment system, which, judging on the press images, incorporates contemporary smartphone screen-mirroring technology.
Fiat has also installed new heating, aircon and ventilation controls. Note the smatterings of new, chrome-look inserts.
In terms of powertrains, the naturally aspirated 1.4-litre 4-cylinder petrol engine (70 kW/127 Nm) makes way for a 1.0-litre 3-cylinder turbopetrol engine that produces 74 kW and a feistier 190 Nm of peak torque; it's also said to be more fuel-efficient than its naturally-aspirated predecessor. A 96-kW 1.6-litre Multijet turbodiesel engine is offered overseas, although the 70-kW 1.3-litre Multijet is likely to continue on the local market.
The Tipo Cross variant is ostensibly a rival to the Ford Figo Freestyle and Hyundai i20 Active. It is distinguished by back cladding around the wheel arches, as well as a protruding integrated satin-chrome nudge bar in the beefy bumper, matched with similarly finished mirror caps and side skirts.
Fiat showed off the Tipo Cross decked out in a luminous orange paint finish; it is shod with handsome 5-spoke 17-inch alloys wrapped in suitably-practical 215/55 R17 tyres. With its standard roof rails, the newcomer stands almost 7cm taller than standard Tipo derivatives, Fiat says.
We expect that the Italian marque's local subsidiary will phase in the new-look Tipo derivatives at some point next year.