What's new?

Not the name. After the dismal Stilo singularly failed to set the car-buying world alight, Fiat has decided to dig the Bravo namebadge out of the bottom of the corporate branding drawer. Fiat hopes that new Bravo will put it back into contention in the hard-fought family hatchback segment.

It rides on a reworked version of the unloved Stilo’s platform, but the Grande Punto-ish styling and improved quality cabin should give it a fighting chance, providing Fiat keeps the (as yet unannounced) pricing keen enough. Power will come from a combination of carried-over and new powerplants, with the forthcoming 1.4-litre turbo petrol engines (in both 118 bhp and 147 bhp states of tune) sounding promising.

What's it like?

Pretty much as you would expect. "Scaled-up Grande Punto" sums up both the styling and the driving experience fairly accurately. The distinctive design works well from most angles, slightly nose-heavy front aside, and the cabin is well finished, spacious and comfortable.

It drives pretty well, too – composed at motorway cruising speeds and with compliant suspension capable of smoothing out all but the roughest road surfaces. Cornering is less impressive, still marred by the odd-feeling assistance of the electric power steering. The carried-over 1.9-litre Multijet diesel engine gives decent urge, at the expense of a fairly crude soundtrack.

Should I buy one?

Presuming it arrives wearing an ultra-competitive price tag, the Bravo should make a strong value-based case for itself. The 1.9-litre diesel version can’t deliver much excitement, but should be cheap, frugal and reliable. The forthcoming 1.4-litre petrol turbo version sounds like it might deliver the thrills that this car lacks, though. Watch this space.

Mike Duff

Our Verdict

The Fiat Bravo is a stylish Focus rival. It's good value, but has an odd driving position

Driven this week