What is it?
This is the all-new 1.6-litre Multijet, the centrepiece of Fiat’s family of common-rail direct-injection turbodiesel engines, which comes in either 103bhp or 118bhp form. The more powerful engine will also replace the lower-powered 1.9 Multijet, though the 148bhp range-topper remains.
What’s it like?
Green. Both versions of the new engine get a diesel particulate filter as standard, making them compliant with 2011’s Euro V emissions regulations. The 118bhp motor also chucks out just 129g/km of CO2, and will return 57.6mpg on the combined cycle.
It’s also exceptionally refined. The higher powered car gets a variable geometry turbo and this, coupled with a more relaxed and meaty power delivery means smoother, more effortless performance than the smaller output engine offers.
The only criticism we can find of the engine is a hint of breathlessness at low revs - even though Fiat claims that maximum torque arrives at just 1500rpm.
The rest of the car is less, er, accomplished. It looks great, but some of the interior trimmings are ill-fitting and the plastics can feel tacky to the touch. It’s way better than Fiats of old, but it’s no class leader inside.
The same goes for the ride and handling. There’s reasonable grip and body control and the car feels agile, but the ride is always fidgety and there’s none of the fluidity, composure and maturity that you’ll find in a Ford Focus. Or even a Hyundai i30.
Should I buy one?
If you’re looking for a smooth, efficient and eco-friendly diesel, then absolutely. But go for the 118bhp engine - if you can stump up the fairly steep £14,500 required. The roughly £700 cheaper 103bhp 1.6 is both less refined and more strained in its performance than its more powerful stablemate.
This is a case, though, of a great engine in an average - if stylish - car. In almost every measurable way, a Hyundai CRDi 1.6 is a better car, but we’d quite understand if you went for the Bravo. It’s just much cooler.