Monday 18 April 2011
The Fiat Tipo is a small family car designed by the IDEA design house and produced by the Italian manufacturer Fiat between 1988 and 1995.
The Tipo was initially available only as a five-door hatchback. The car was made entirely out of galvanized body panels to avoid rust, and was built on a completely new Fiat platform, that was later used on Fiat, Alfa-Romeo and Lancia models. It also stood out, because of its boxy styling that gave it innovative levels of packaging - rear passenger room being greater than that in a rear wheel drive Ford Sierra, but in a car that was of a similar size to the smaller Ford Escort. For 1989, the Tipo won the European Car of the Year award and 1989 Semperit Irish Car of the Year in Ireland.
The car has been extremely popular in Brazil. It outsold the Volkswagen Gol, which had been the best-selling Brazilian car for over 20 years. Only the Tipo, the Fiat Uno Mille and Fiat Palio have outsold the Gol.
Initially base (i.e.), DGT, (early Italian market DGT models were badged as 'digit', presumably in recognition of the digital dash, but this was quickly changed to DGT after a dispute over ownership of the name, leading to confusion about whether the model was diesel powered) S, SX and 16v trim levels were available. Power from 58 to 148 PS (43 to 109 kW; 57 to 146 bhp) came from 1.1, 1.4, 1.6, 1.7, 1.8, 1.8 16v, 2.0, and 2.0 16v petrol engines as well as a 1.7 diesel, 1.9 diesel and 1.9 turbo-diesel. The 1.1 L base engine was widely regarded as underpowered for the car; which was otherwise roomy for five adults and with above average equipment. The top of the range was the 2.0 Sedicivalvole (16v).
The Tipo was facelifted in 1993 and saw the addition of a three-door version, minor exterior changes (the two evolutions of the car can be differentiated by their slightly different radiator grilles and headlamps) and improved specification; safety features like stiffer bodyshells, driver's airbag and side impact bars were added to the range. This saw new S, SX and SLX trim levels, as well as a new eight-valve 2.0 GT model.
The Tipo finally ceased production in the summer of 1995 and was replaced by the three-door Fiat Bravo and five-door Fiat Brava. The Tempra saloon and estate (Station Wagon) were replaced by the Marea. The Bravo and Brava were strong sellers throughout Europe, but the Marea was a disappointment on most markets.
Fiat Tipo Sedicivalvole in Classic Car Show, NEC Birmingham, Solihull, UKIn Brazil, it only started to be produced that year (1995), in a single trim level. It had a 1.6 8V engine with multipoint fuel injection, which offered a 10 PS (7.4 kW) increase compared to the old 1.6 i.e., producing 92 PS (68 kW). Previously, the Tipo had been imported from Italy and was available with three different trims that were closely associated with its engines: the basic 1.6 i.e., the luxurious 2.0 8V and the sporty 2.0 16V Sedicivalvole. The Sedicivalvole gained its engine from the Lancia Thema, and with a much smaller and lighter bodyshell to house it, this power unit brought superb performance and handling, and a top speed of around 130 mph (210 km/h) which made it faster than the Volkswagen Golf GTI of that era.
It was a reasonably strong seller in the UK, initially winning plaudits for its innovative and practical design as well as its good handling. The 1.1 L version was not available in the UK - the 1.4 L was the base model. The digital dashboard of higher end models proved to be controversial and unreliable. The car launched into a favourable market in the UK, where none of the "big three" carmakers (Ford, Vauxhall and Austin Rover) had launched a new car of this size since 1984. However, these three marques all had new Tipo-sized products within three years, and increased competition reduced the Tipo's sales. The final two years 1994/95 saw a significant increase in sales, but these were mostly of the low priced 1.4 L models.
- engine: 4 cylinders
- capacity: 1581 cc
- horsepower: 89 HP
- gearbox: 5+1
- top speed: 175 km/h