What's the used Fiat Tipo hatchback like?
Family cars have become more refined and better equipped over recent years, but this has made them more expensive to buy. However, if you’re willing to sacrifice some refinement and you're after something practical that has a decent amount of kit and doesn’t force you to downsize into a small car, then the Fiat Tipo makes a good case for itself.
In a highly competitive class, the Tipo competes with more mainstream rivals such as the Seat Leon, Skoda Octavia and Vauxhall Astra, wooing potential buyers with a big boot, decent interior space and some strong engine options.
There’s a choice of five engines: two 1.4-litre engines (one with a turbocharger and one without), a 1.6-litre petrol with an automatic transmission and two diesels – a 1.3-litre and a punchy (if a little noisy) 1.6-litre. The base petrol and diesel would be fine around town but will struggle on the open road. If you need to tackle the motorway regularly, then the turbocharged 1.4 petrol and larger 1.6 diesel will cope best.
Entry-level Easy spec has a decent amount of standard kit with air-con, electric front windows and a DAB radio. Easy Plus adds alloy wheels, electric rear windows, rear parking sensors and a 5.0in infotainment system. Top-spec Lounge isn't worth forking out for because it only has a couple of extra luxuries and uses the same tiny 5.0in infotainment screen that's difficult to use on the move.
Some of the materials used in the interior feel quite cheap, with hard, scratchy plastics on the doors and centre console. The soft-touch dashboard blends seamlessly into the cheaper stuff since it uses a similar grain. Most of the switches and dials come from other Fiat cars, giving the inside a very generic look.
The same can be said for the way the Tipo drives. There’s been some laudable effort put into the suppression of suspension noise, but the ride becomes fidgety over broken surfaces despite the soft suspension. The steering is quite heavy at slow speeds (although there is a ‘city’ mode to lighten it) and it’s quite vague at higher speeds with a strong self-centring action to it that makes it feel gloopy. Wind and road noise are more noticeable at motorway speeds than in some rivals.
What used Fiat Tipo hatchback will I get for my budget?
Some of the earliest Fiat Tipos with a full service history and around 10,000 miles can be found for as little as £8500. Easy Plus models with more kit are a little bit more, at roughly £9000.
A nearly new Tipo with the 1.4 T-Jet petrol engine and mid-range spec will cost you around £11,700.
To keep up to date with used Fiat Tipo prices, use our free valuation tool to make sure you are getting the best deal.
How much does it cost to run a Fiat Tipo hatchback?
The thirstiest Tipo is the 1.6-litre petrol due to its automatic transmission. The combined average of this version is 44.8mpg and £150 road tax; however, both of the 1.4-litre petrol engines are cheaper to run with road tax costs of £135 for each and fuel economy of 49.6mpg for the 94bhp version and 47.1mpg for the 118bhp turbocharged variant.
Both the 1.3- and 1.6-litre diesel engines do 76.3mpg and have free road tax because they slip below the 100g/km threshold.
All cars registered after April 2017 will cost £140 per year to tax.
Insurance costs are comparable with rivals. Servicing costs are in line with rivals too, both in terms of fixed price packages and normal servicing.
Which used Fiat Tipo hatchback should I buy?
Since the Tipo is quite a big car, we’d suggest going for the more powerful engines. The diesel is quite clattery under acceleration and is only really suitable for those who do frequent motorway journeys and cover big mileages. The turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol is much more refined, has plenty of power for most situations and is economical enough too.
The base-spec Easy doesn’t come with alloy wheels and the top-of-the-range Lounge spec pushes the price of the Tipo up, so it’s best to go for Easy Plus trim because it comes with all the equipment you require without making you pay over the odds.
Our favourite Fiat Tipo: 1.4 T-Jet Easy Plus
What alternatives should I consider to a used Fiat Tipo hatchback?
This is where the Fiat Tipo struggles a bit. While it might be cheaper to buy new than its rivals, when it comes to the second-hand market the price difference isn’t great enough to justify its shortcomings against more accomplished alternatives.
For a little bit more money, you could have an example of the award-winning Seat Leon. It has a much better infotainment system, its interior is vastly superior in terms of the quality of materials used, the engine range is much more refined and it benefits from a full five-star Euro-NCAP safety rating compared with the Tipo’s three stars.
Then there’s the Vauxhall Astra, which is another car that is very good in all areas, except for perhaps excitement. It’s roomy inside, has a range of fuel-efficient engines and, again, comes with a five-star safety score. The boot isn’t quite as big as the one in the Tipo, though.
The Skoda Octavia has never had a problem with boot space and this generation is no exception. Underneath, it’s based on the same platform as the Volkswagen Golf and the Seat Leon, but it’s much bigger inside. It'll cost you more to buy than the Tipo, but it’s worth it for the extra space, superior interior finish and a more modern infotainment system.