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Old 22-12-2018   #1
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Fiat Tipo 1.3 Multijet Easy Plus Estate - Observations, First Two Months

Hi,

I bought an 18 month old 1.3 MJ Easyplus Estate in black from Motorpoint in Mid October with just about 10000 on the clock. For the money / trade in price, I thought it was a pretty reasonable proposition. The first thing I'd say about it, is in my opinion it is such a good looking estate car, very pleasing from all angles especially the front...and it's roomy, plenty of space. It looks more expensive than it is.

On paper it seemed to make good financial sense, zero road tax at that time, no timing belt change to worry about and seemingly astonishing fuel economy figures. I sat in a few before buying it, not being able to decide between lounge / easy plus or 1.3 / 1.6 diesels but after a test drive and reading some driving experiences on this forum, I decided that the 1.3 would be torquey enough, adequate, although I notice that Fiat don't seem to market the 1.3 in the UK anymore for some reason, but it's still available in other markets.

I had an Astra J 1.6 auto prior to the Tipo and in terms of build quality, strength etc, I'd say they were on a par with some aspects of the Tipo seeming better or better designed. Some people bemoan the cabin design of the Tipo but to me it’s discrete and I rather like the business like black soft touch dash, the armrest, centre bin, thick steering wheel and you really don't miss a soft feel on the door card tops.

The suspension & ride seemed a little busier, more jittery than the Astra's but oddly it seems to deal with bigger jolts a little better and you do get used to its ride characteristics - on decent roads, mostly it's pretty smooth. The seat / driving position was initially very comfortable although through time sometimes it feels like it is giving me a bit of lower back ache and at other times, it feels quite comfortable and I wonder if it’s just me, but the gearbox is good and the clutch very light.

It is good on fuel. I do 4 heavy traffic miles into my city and 4 out every day with a 100 mile jaunt back and forward to Edinburgh at the weekends and many more weekend miles around that area and over the past 700 miles or so the average mpg has been 55 to 56. I never drove the 1.6 diesel but the 1.3 powers up motorway inclines without any need to change down and on these faster roads there is a sweet spot around 75 mph where the engine blends away to a nice pleasing quiet cruise, still achieving great mpg! and overall it's a much more lively, engaging car to drive than the petrol auto Astra.

Overall it's not thee most dynamic, outstanding thing but it does all-round 90% of what you require 90% of the time and for the money I paid and for what Fiat are now looking for (for at least the lower range models) Fiat have done a pretty good job. I sometimes feel the motoring press haven't fully appreciated it for what it is and what it deserves.

A number of years ago, being intrigued by seemingly good value cars, I bought a Nissan Tiida but soon discovered although roomy and well equipped, it really drove like a shopping trolley and was dynamically very poor. The Tipo is so much better all round, particularly in the driving respect.

A couple of things have annoyed me however. The start / stop function isn't doing its thing any more and although I understand there can be many reasons why the the ECU may prevent its function, I thought it might still engage at least now and again. I'm considering a battery disconnect to see if that makes any difference.

I also didn't realise the issues that could arise with the D.P.F. although I would hope my hours on the motorway at the weekend would look after the regeneration aspect. If I wasn't doing that and instead only driving the short commutes into town when the engine only just about reaches operating temperature (and it really takes a while to warm through!) it may have then seemed like a real mistake to have chosen a Euro 6 diesel.

Linked to this is the oil degradation counter which cannot simply be reset by the owner, and this only dawned on me after buying the car. If it's not reset when the oil and filter are normally changed, it could become an issue for the D.P.F. regeneration and the proper running of the car. I would, in any case get it dealer serviced while under the remaining warranty but after that, well I always liked to do my own oil & filter changes as at least you know it’s all done properly and it's also about maybe 20% the cost of a dealer service! - But you can't reset the counter simply and therefore change the oil yourself, which is a major irritation! I understand there is a way around this, buying the Multiecuscan software licence for Italian car servicing, which should still work on the 2017 Tipo (but maybe not the 2018> security gateway module equipped models). But come on Fiat! - seriously, why this induced difficulty? This reason alone might put me off buying another one and ease of servicing would certainly now be a parameter on which I may judge a future purchase. Motorpoint claimed they had serviced the car and did mark the oil change in the service book (and the oil did look clean at that point) but I soon noticed the oil degradation counter only had about 6000 miles to go. I guess they didn't reset it then...

Additionally, it would be nice to see a few more Tipo's on the road instead of every few days or so, a strength in numbers feeling!

Those irritations apart, I like the car and always look forward to driving it! and perhaps more and more manufacturers will make more and more of their products tamper proof as time goes on, making the above scenario the norm.

Back in the 80's / 90's I had some 131 Mirafiori's and an Uno and apart from the rust problems, they were alright. And if anyone has concours condition Fiat 130 coupe that they might like to donate, well....
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Last edited by AMMJ; 22-12-2018 at 02:17.
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Old 22-12-2018   #2
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Hi @AMMJ.

Not sure Ive even seen an estate..
never mind the 'baby one '..

Ive seen a few TIPO on my motorway commute.. (probably hire cars?)

They look fine.

I have the 75 hp 1.3 in my punto.. but its only 5 speed.. so 75 isnt cruising.. but its a good engine.(best thing about a zafira I hired in Italy..)

As you are probably aware the Tipo is not a mainstream European car. Which may explain its composure on lousy roads..

Others on here have commented on its lack of UK marketing. I think that all went down the Alfa sales line..

I will have to try and find a parked one to admire

Charlie
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Last edited by varesecrazy; 22-12-2018 at 09:26.
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Old 22-12-2018   #3
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Re: Fiat Tipo 1.3 Multijet Easy Plus Estate - Observations, First Two Months

Hi,Charlie

Thanks for the reply. I think globally there are quite a lot of new Tipo's out there, just well dispersed and probably mostly in Turkey and Italy...

The 1.3 Tipo diesel is also only a 5 speed but the ratios are well spaced and it seems to hit a point of low noise, harshness, vibration, resonance etc at that motorway speed even though the engines probably spinning a little fast for a diesel.

All in all I'd recommend it as effective transport...and Fiat have done again what they have often been good at - produced a good looking car!
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