Feature

Fiat Tipo vs Vauxhall Astra

We pitch Fiat's new budget-priced family hatchback against the highly proficient Vauxhall Astra

Words ByWhat Car? team

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Fiat Tipo rear seats

What will they cost?

Diesel family hatchbacks don’t come much cheaper than this. The Fiat Tipo looks particularly good value with a list price that’s slightly less than Β£17,500, although the Astra will actually cost you only a few hundred pounds more if you haggle hard due to the bigger discounts Vauxhall dealers are prepared to cough up.

The Astra also proves better value to own over three years, due in no small part to its thriftier real-world fuel economy (56.3mpg vs 49.1mpg in our True MPG tests) and lower insurance premiums. Factor in all the bills you’re likely to face if you buy now and sell it after three years and the Astra works out almost Β£700 cheaper.

Of course, if you’re considering either of these diesel hatches you’re just as likely to be a company car driver. If so, official list prices and CO2 emissions will dictate how much of your salary you’ll sacrifice in benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax. The Tipo is fractionally cheaper here – by around Β£5 a month for a 40% taxpayer – but it will cost you Β£37 a month more to lease.

Neither manufacturer has been too parsimonious with standard luxuries; both cars come with 16in alloy wheels, air-con, cruise control and electric windows in the front and the back. The Tipo adds rear parking sensors (a Β£460 option on the Astra), and gives you the option to add heated front seats for a reasonable Β£175. You’ll have to put up with a cold backside in the Astra.

The Astra also misses out on a Thatcham-approved alarm, which explains its disappointing resistance to being broken into compared with its Italian rival. However, the Astra scored five stars for safety in its Euro NCAP crash test whereas the Tipo only managed three stars overall with a seriously disappointing child safety rating. Emergency city braking – a safety aid that can automatically apply the brakes if it senses you’re about to run into the car in front around town – is available on both cars

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