Categories: News

First Fiat Tipo Hybrid review: this is how Fiat tries to make an old model young, fast and wild again

The Fiat Tipo has never been a success with us, but now the Italians have converted to the hybrid faith. The almost philosophical question is: is the Tipo Hybrid a hybrid?

What is striking about the Fiat Tipo Hybrid?

Fiat has recently developed a curious tradition. Cars that have been on the market for many years still get quite drastic changes in their late days. The Italian brand is captivated by the hybrid and has electrified its entire range in two years.

It started in 2020, with the introduction of the 500 Hybrid (thirteen years after its debut) and the Panda Hybrid (nine years after its debut). In between, the all-electric Fiat 500E (the only new Fiat model in six years) came on the market and now it’s the Tipo’s turn (after six years), along with the 500X (after eight years).

Fiat optimistically calls the Tipo a Hybrid, but isn’t it more of a mild hybrid? The difference is that a mild hybrid cannot drive purely on the electric motor and a hybrid can. Strictly speaking, Fiat is right. If you drive very slowly (20 km/h) you can cover a very short distance completely electrically (3 km).

With its 0.8 kWh battery, the Tipo is exactly in between an average mild hybrid (0.4 kWh) and ‘real’ hybrid (1.5 kWh). The main role is for a 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo engine with 130 hp, which comes standard with a seven-speed automatic transmission. The Alfa Romeo Tonale is also delivered with this drive unit. Fiat gives a consumption of 5.1 l/100 km (1 in 19.6) and a top speed of 206 km/h.

What are the advantages of the Fiat Tipo Hybrid?

The advantage of hybrid technology is that you can cover short distances completely electrically. But those are really short with the Tipo Hybrid, and you should not drive faster than 20 km/h. In the context of ‘every disadvantage has its advantage’, the Tipo is an ideal car for traffic jams. And let’s queue again en masse for this in the Netherlands after the corona pandemic. Even if you can’t park properly and have to stab four times, the climate does not sigh under your fumbling. The Tipo can park on the electric motor.

One plus that the Tipo has had since its debut is the space. Tall people sit excellently not only in the front, but also in the back. Even if you sit straight in the back seat with a height of 1.90 meters, there is still space between your head and the roof. Long legs only get in the way if the front passengers categorically refuse to push the seat forward.

The chassis also stands out positively, with its comfortable tuning. The engine does not make much noise either, but the tires can be heard clearly.

What are the downsides of the Fiat Tipo Hybrid?

In the choice of materials (hard plastic in the doors) you still notice that the Tipo is not intended as an exquisite middle class car. The dashboard is also getting a bit outdated. While driving, the automatic transmission takes a siesta at regular intervals: it reacts slowly and regularly doubts which gear to choose. If he has made the choice, the Tipo starts a catch-up race, so that he can still complete the hundred sprint in the promised 9.2 seconds.

When will the Fiat Tipo Hybrid come to the Netherlands and what is the price?

The Tipo was launched in 2016 as a very affordable alternative to a Volkswagen Golf or Ford Focus. In Italy and Germany you already bought one for just under 14,000 euros. The Netherlands ruined the Italian party with a bpm penalty because of the not-too-efficient engines, so that with a starting price of just under 20,000 euros, it was more expensive than the competition here…

The Tipo Hybrid has been at the dealer since May 2022. The price is at least 29,990 euros (five-door), or 30,990 euros (Wagon). All versions have a seven-speed automatic transmission.

This makes the Tipo no longer more expensive than its main competitors, but also not a bargain. The main hybrid competitor, the Toyota Corolla, is more modern and its price is comparable. The five-door costs 29,750 euros (1.8 HEV, 122 hp). The price of the station wagon (Touring Sports) is 30,750 euros.

Let’s get a mild hybrid too. For a Ford Focus 1.0 EcoBoost MHEV with 125 hp you pay 30,325 euros, the Wagon you have for 31,575 euros. Also compared to this competitor, the Tipo does not distinguish itself positively.

What do I think of the Fiat Tipo Hybrid?

Will the new engine boost sales? It would suit Fiat well, because it sells poorly. Only the 500 and 500E are doing well and together are responsible for 80 percent of the total in the Netherlands.

The Tipo’s role has always been marginal. By 2022 there will only be ten cars on the order books… it’s not difficult to increase that number, but it would be miraculous if the hybrid powertrain brings a real resurrection.

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