Those of a certain age may remember the original Fiat Tipo with fondness; it was appealing to behold and fitted with a digital dashboard that made its European hatchback rivals look backward.

But whether you’re a child of the 1980s or not, you won’t view the new Tipo with the same kind of esteem.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
Acceptable but a long way removed from the class’s sharp end

And you were never likely to, this being a car designed primarily for developing markets and serving a more value-driven agenda than Fiat was aiming for three decades ago.

Nevertheless, we must apply the same standards here that we do for any mid-sized hatch on sale in Europe, and that means marking down the smart but derivative styling, the inconsistent quality and only averagely good packaging of its cabin and the poorly resolved ride and handling.

Creditable outright performance and decent but unremarkable value for money are some recompense but frankly not enough.

At a cheaper price point than was represented by our test car, the Tipo might have made a more convincing case, but at £18k, in a class full of sophisticated European-built rivals, it was doomed to struggle.

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This is why the Tipo doesn’t make our top five with the Seat Leon, Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra, Skoda Octavia and the Mazda 3 all streets ahead.

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