We use cookies on whatcar.com to improve your browsing experience and to provide you with relevant content and advertising, by continuing to use our site you agree to this. Please see our privacy policy for more details. Continue

What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For The Fiat Coupe is a design classic, and it has powerful engines, too

Against It's built with some flimsy trim and it has some irritating reliability problems

Verdict The Coupe is that rare thing: a usable modern classic. It's still desirable over a decade after it was launched

Go for… 2.0 20v Turbo

Avoid… 2.0 16v

Fiat Coupé Coupe
  • 1. There's space in the back for two adults, making this a surprisingly practical coupe
  • 2. Avoid any car that shows signs of smoke, whether on start up or when the throttle is pressed
  • 3. The cambelt must be changed every 36,000 miles to ensure the engine's long life
  • 4. Some trim can become creaky over time, but generally the cabin is well put together
  • 5. All of the engines provide decent performance and the car handles well
advertisement

Fiat Coupé Coupe full review with expert trade views

You only have to look at the Fiat Coupe to know that this car is going to be fun. The styling raised a few eyebrows when the car was launched, but it has aged very gracefully and is rapidly gaining a following as a classic.

All of the engines provide decent performance and the handling is good - even the 220bhp five-cylinder units aren't too much for the chassis. The five-speed manual gearbox works well with every engine and only gave way to an equally slick six-speeder in mid-1999 on the 20v Turbo model.

The interior is just as smart, thanks to the painted dashboard and simple instruments. There’s plenty of space in the front and a good driving position, and there’s also space in the rear for two adults to sit in comfort, which makes this Fiat a very practical choice even if the boot is not that big.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Won't sell unless full history and 20v always preferred to the 16v

James Ruppert
Used car guru

The good news is that all Coupes handle well and are great fun to drive. The Turbos can spin the front wheels in tighter corners, but only if the driver is clumsy with the throttle.

The ultimate Coupe is the 2.0 20v Turbo thanks to its 220bhp five-cylinder engine, which gained a six-speed gearbox halfway through its life. Performance is very strong, with a 0-60mph time of around six seconds and a top speed of 155mph, which makes the Fiat Coupe one of the most affordable fast cars on the market.

The non-turbocharged 16v model is the slowest of the bunch but still makes a good choice. It’s cheaper to run and insure and is capable of 30.0mpg economy.

The 16v Turbo uses a four-cylinder engine and is a bit more manic than the five-cylinder that replaced it. It also misses the later engine’s thumping mid-range overtaking power and is reckoned to be less reliable.

Trade view

Duncan McLure-Fisher

High average claims and poor overall reliability. Watch for turbo and suspension problems

Duncan McLure-Fisher
Managing Director,
Warranty Direct

Even the most recent Fiat Coupe will be a few years old now, so look for one that’s in top condition to hopefully stop any unexpected bills and reduce your running costs.

Of the various engines, the 2.0 16v is the easiest on fuel, returning around 30.0mpg. However, even the turbocharged models can produce economy in the high 20s, which is very respectable, although this will soon dip if you use their performance to the full.

Insurance is not too much of a worry for the non-turbo 16v model, but the Turbo versions are in the top group 20 bracket, which may come as a shock on a Fiat.

Fiat dealers are not too expensive when it comes to labour charges, but an independent specialist may be the better choice as the Fiat Coupe gets older and requires more loving care to keep it in tip-top condition.

Lastly, when you're calculating your budget, don't forget to include the cost of front tyres, especially on Turbo models. There’s a lot of power going through them, and that can soon wear them out.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Won't sell unless full history and 20v always preferred to the 16v

James Ruppert
Used car guru

A car that shows any signs of smoke should be avoided. In a Turbo, it’s a sign the turbocharger is on its way out and on non-turbocharged models it’s a sign of neglect. Either way, it spells expensive trouble.

The cambelt must be changed every 36,000 miles to ensure the engine’s long life. This isn't very long for a cambelt, but the Coupe is a performance car and you have to expect this sort of TLC.

Also, make sure you only buy a car with a healthy engine. A lot of engine work requires the engine to be removed, which is time-consuming and expensive, and those are the kind of bills you can do without.

Some trim can also become creaky over time, but generally the cabin is well put together. More of a problem will be minor electrical glitches, so check every switch and button works.

Trade view

Duncan McLure-Fisher

High average claims and poor overall reliability. Watch for turbo and suspension problems

Duncan McLure-Fisher
Managing Director,
Warranty Direct
Haymarket Logo What Car? is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media
What Car? is part of Haymarket Motoring
© Haymarket Media Group 2014