Budget motoring without sacrificing any of the creature comforts

What is it?

The Fiat Bravo Eco is Fiat’s first explicitly green model. If you go by CO2 ratings, there is no greener car company in Europe than Fiat. The Italian giant managed an average C02 output of just 137.3g/km per car in 2007.

You get a set of longer gear ratios and an ECU adjusted to major on low fuel consumption (the Fiat Bravo Eco betters the standard car by 5mpg). The result is a car that emits just 119g/km of CO2, dropping it into the £35 road tax bracket and making it exempt from the London congestion charge from October.

The Bravo Eco’s low CO2 output is also achieved by the removal of the diesel particulate filter. As a result, the higher NoX and hydrocarbon emissions mean the Eco only meets Euro 4 emissions regulations, while the rest of the 1.6 Multijet range is Euro 5 compliant. Perhaps Eco stands for economical, rather than ecological.

What’s it like?

There’s none of the ostentatious aerodynamic tweakery of VW’s Bluemotion range in the Fiat Bravo Eco. There isn’t even any exterior badging to let your neighbours know just how green you are.

The Bravo Eco is barely different from the lower-powered non-Eco versions. That means it’s refined and smooth enough to rank among the best four-pot diesel family cars.

The only concession an Eco driver will have to accept is less low-down poke thanks to the Eco’s longer gearing. The rest of the car is as it ever was – great looks wrapped around a reasonable-handling, surprisingly cramped family hatch.

So should I buy one?

The Eco is frugal and good value (it costs just £300 more than the standard car). If budget motoring without sacrificing any creature comforts is your aim, then the Bravo Eco is perfect. But if you’re looking for genuinely green motoring, that Euro 4 rating might just stick in the craw.

Matt Rigby

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