Fiat Tipo review 2020

Find out more about the Fiat Tipo in the latest MOTORS Review

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Out of 5


  • Spacious and practical
  • Affordable price tag
  • Good levels of standard kit


  • Lacklustre petrol engines
  • Not amazing to drive
  • Uninspiring interior
Model review

The Fiat Tipo name dates back in the late 1980s – 1988 to be exact – with the arrival of the original model. Like the current car, it was built as a five-door hatchback and, unlike the latest version, it featured a rather boxy design. In terms of size, the car was similar to that of the slightly smaller Ford Escort but boasted a roomy interior.  


The original Tipo was offered with a range of petrol and diesel four-cylinder engines throughout its lifecycle, which ran until 1995. Since then, the nameplate lay in rest until, in 2015, Fiat began production of the current Tipo. 

Current model

As mentioned before, the latest Tipo began production in 2015. It’s offered as a five-door hatchback and as an estate. A saloon was offered too, but not in the UK. The car aims at giving buyers an affordable and practical alternative to mainstream rivals such as the popular Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra. Plus, despite being one of Fiat’s more clinical models, it’s still fairly stylish, especially as they’re not as common as the competition. 


Inside, the Tipo’s cabin feels a tad uninspiring, lacking some of the charm and charisma models like the 500 are renowned for. It’s a tad dull for a Fiat – a point emphasised by a range of rather drab paint colours. That said, all the buttons and switchgear are laid out nice and clearly. Overall, for the segment and price tag, the interior isn’t bad, just simply average. 


Those after a sporty driving experience will most likely be disappointed with the Tipo. Again, it’s not terrible – the steering has a good amount of weight to it and there’s plenty of grip – but falls more on the side of comfort than it does dynamics. Its ride is quite soft and subtle – admittedly resulting in some body lean through corners – meaning it proves a sufficient long distance cruiser. 


Value for money

The Tipo is a bit of a bargain in the segment, starting at £14,905. Considering the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra both are priced from over £18,000, the Fiat’s price point is also one of its biggest strengths. And to add to that, entry-level models are pretty well equipped.  


On the used market, there isn’t an abundance of original Tipos, but finding a good one is doable – examples start around £2,000. For the more common, current version, expect to pay upwards of £5,000 for one in good condition – still a great price.  


Looks and image

The Tipo’s styling, while not ugly by any means, doesn’t stand out from the crowd. It’s just not very eye-catching or unique. This may not necessarily be a negative for some, but other’s will be left craving that little bit more pizzazz and character. The Tipo looks fairly aggressive from the front but doesn’t do much to turn heads anywhere else.   


Fortunately, buyers can opt for the Sport version, which helps spruce up the car’s appearance with some racy accents such as a front splitter, side skirts, a rear spoiler and glossy black details. 

Video review

Space and practicality

This is an area where the Tipo excels. Yes, it’s still a relatively small car, but it offers a surprising amount of practicality and versatility. In the cabin, there’s plenty of space for passengers to get comfortable, and the driver also gets a great view out. In total, there’s 12 litres of storage space throughout the interior – that figure includes a large glovebox and well-sized door bins in the front and rear. 


The boot in quite big as well, offering 440 litres of space – more than rivals like the Seat Leon and Ford Focus. Admittedly, it still lags behind the extremely capacious Peugeot 308 and Skoda Octavia, but the Fiat still gets good marks here.   



The Tipo offers nothing revolutionary in this department, but instead opts for some conventional, but decent, petrol and diesel powertrains. On the former front, buyers can choose motors like a 94bhp 1.4-litre and a 118bhp turbocharged 1.4-litre. Neither is particularly quick, with the more powerful of the pair getting from 0-60mph in reasonable 9.7 seconds, but both offer enough punch for nipping around town. 


On the diesel side, there’s an economical 118bhp 1.6-litre powerplant available. It’s almost as potent as the 118bhp petrol option, offering a 0-60mph time of 10.8 seconds, but will be cheaper to run. 


Running costs

Speaking of running costs, the petrol engines are quite fair bit behind the competition here. The lower powered 94bhp powerplant is able to achieve a claimed 43mpg and emit 148g/km of CO2 emissions – not bad, but lacklustre compared to most rivals. The majority of buyers, especially those planning to cover many miles, will prefer the diesel option, as it’s said to return just over 60mpg, while emitting as little as 117g/km of CO2. This makes it much cheaper to run. 

Things to look out for

The Tipo should serve buyers well, with the Fiat brand placing around the middle in the recent driver surveys. Owners praised the car’s ride and handling but didn’t show much love for the model’s running costs. A fairly low percentage of buyers uncovered faults with their Fiats within the first year of ownership – low enough to not cause significant concern. 



Despite being cheaper than its main rivals, the Tipo still faces its fair share of competition. Popular cars like the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra, Skoda Octavia and Seat Leon dominate the segment, meaning the Fiat sits as more of an alternative to the norm, rather than an outright class leader. This can sometimes prove an advantage for the Tipo, however, as buyers in the market for a small family hatch, but want a car that’s less common, may want to take a long hard look at this Fiat five-door.  



Because the Tipo is priced cheap from new and offers good value for money, it doesn’t have a long way to fall in terms of depreciation. Sitting at around £5,000 used after being on sale for almost five years – plus, the fact it starts at under £15,000 new – the Tipo shouldn’t break the bank when it comes to selling it on. Sure, the higher trim levels are more expensive and, therefore, are hit a bit harder, but not by an amount which makes it a bad buy.  

Trims explained

The Tipo hatch is currently offered in seven trim levels – Easy, Street, Easy Plus, Mirror, Lounge, S-Design and Sport.


This is the base trim level and comes equipped with things like 15-inch steel wheels, air conditioning, Bluetooth, steering wheel audio controls, a TFT display, cruise control and a heated rear window.

Priced from £14,905


Step up to street, and the Tipo gets kit such as 16-inch black alloy wheels, start/stop, 60/40 split folding rear seats with head restraints, dark tinted rear windows, black interior door handles and remote-control central door locking.

Available from £15,405

'Easy Plus'

Next is the Easy Plus trim. By opting for this variant, buyers get 16-inch alloy wheels, a third rear headrest, a seven-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth, USB and DAB, seatback pockets and chrome door handles

Starts at £15,875


This trim is gets features like 16-inch diamond cut alloy wheels, a ‘Mirror’ logo, LED daytime running lights, rear parking sensors, chrome door mirror covers, chrome fog light surrounds and a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).

Priced from £16,155


Go for the Lounge trim, and the Tipo is treated to kit such as 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic climate control, a leather gear knob, a height adjustable driver’s seat and a height-adjustable leather steering wheel.

Available from £16,905


Towards the top end of the range, we find S-Design. This trim is equipped with things like Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity, bi-xenon headlights, driver’s seat lumbar adjustment and Uconnect Live Services.

Starts at £17,905


This is the range-topping trim level and comes with kit like 18-inch alloy wheels, a rear parking camera, as well as the sport pack which adds a roof spoiler, front splitter, side skirts and a diffuser.

Priced from £19,255


  1. The Fiat Tipo is often overlooked in the small family hatch segment, but is really worth a look at
  2. The nameplate was first put into production in 1998
  3. The original model ran until 1995
  4. The current Tipo began production in 2015
  5. Base models start at £14,905, while used examples of the latest version go for as little as circa £5,000
  6. The cabin is spacious, and the boot is capacious
  7. The diesel motor is economical and cheap to run, but the petrols lag behind the best of the best
  8. Due to its cheap starting price new, buyers needn’t worry too much about depreciation
  9. There are plenty of trim levels to choose from
  10. Stylish, but not very head-turning