I bought my Stilo in 2003, it was 11 months old, solely owned by Fiat. I had a 5cd player fitted prior to collecting it.
At 12 mths old, the petrol flap broke off, cost £80 to replace
At 18 mths, the wipers went haywire - wiping very fast and often stopping in mid-wipe. The sensor was gunked up, no cost as under warranty.
At 2yrs old, the cd player stopped working, Fiat couldn’t fix it, so I paid £180 for a new one. At 2yrs, 2 mths, just after its service, the computer beeped 'oil fault, turn off engine' but Fiat couldn't find any problems, so they did another oil change which solved it!
At 3yrs 4 mths the computer beeped 'engine fault' then kept stalling. Fiat couldn’t find a fault so I was sent away. One week later it started again, Fiat had the car for a few days, replaced a chip which cost me £180
At 3yrs 6 mths it started again, Fiat had the car for 8 days, saying the fault this time was the 'Engine management chip' and the cost was £320
I was furious, and told them I would be getting in touch with Fiat UK as the car had been suspiciously faulty, costly and I suspected the dealership had replaced the wrong chip in the first place! Fiat UK refused to get involved, but the dealership compromised and credited back the £180 I had already paid for the other chip.
At 4yrs 3 mths, this week, the car is back at Fiat due to more electrical and mechanical faults Listen to Top Gear - they knew Stilos were rubbish, I am shopping at Honda next week!
For room and loads of toys this car is great. The engine is a beauty and 'ok' the suspension is soft but this is a family car.
What's wrong with it? The whole package has excellent potential but has been mated to a bunch of cheap electronics. The airbag developed a fault within 45 minutes of picking it up, the windows would drop of their own accord whilst the car was left unattended and the engine switched itself OFF whilst I was overtaking on the motorway!! Luckily the electrics stayed ON or bang went the steering and me: into the central crash barrier.
I owned two Puntos before the Stilo, which I have now owned for two years. The first two years have been trouble free, but it now has a clutch pedal that creaks. It has been in to be fixed twice by dealer now and is still not right, but they say no more can be done.
I have had other problems with dealers on the first two services also, besides the very poor dealers and Fiat UK customer service. The car is very good, much more comfortable and larger than the new Astra I use at work. I love the car but will not buy Fiat again.
Along with the Schumacher, they had a few kits left over at Prodrive, so my local dealer kitted out my 2.4 20v Abarth with 18-inch Oz wheels, tuned and tweaked suspension and large bore twin exhaust.
This little lot makes all the difference to the car, and has turned it into a proper 170bhp hot hatch that sees off just about anything up to 60mph (due to beautiful swathes of torque and power delivered by the growly five-cylinder engine). Now the car can hold its own in the corners and make the most of all that power. It turns heads too, as though Kate Moss is sitting on the roof.
The car is realtively rare, particularly in GP-spec, which is one of its key strengths (i.e. it's not a VW Bland, sorry, Golf - or Ford Common, sorry, Focus). In GP (or Schumacher) guise, you will not be disappointed with this car.
A petrol-head man and boy, I'm well up on what's good and why, and the tweaked 2.4 Stilo brings you all the attributes of many of the more popular hot-hatches, along with a big dose of individuality. In today's world, that's a great advantage.
It's a viscerally satisfing drive and is as comfortable cruising down to the south of France as it is squealing its way around a bumpy, British B-road. The suspension is almost perfect - well, it should be with Prodrive's expertise - and how many people can say that about their £14,000 hatchback?
Order a brochure, find your nearest dealer or book a test drive
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