Fiat Tipo Cross hybrid (2022): an indispensable car has lost its providential price


compact sedan

New mild hybrid engine

From 26 490 euros

She had everything for success: a great price, a pretty good line, the right equipment and no worse than a mechanic. In 2016, everyone was excited about a good idea from Fiat: to offer a fairly compact car for the price of an inexpensive car, or 11,990 euros in a four-door version. But if everyone was delighted with this Tipo, then not everyone bought it. Six years later, if it still matches the Italian brand’s catalogue, it no longer bears any resemblance to the original model, at least in France where the catalog has dwindled.

Farewell, sedans and compact vans: only Cross versions remain

They forgot the interior with a trunk, only the five-door and station wagon have the right to quote, and again only in the Cross configuration, slightly raised (by 4 cm) with wheel arches highlighted in black plastic and front and rear bumpers. . An attempt at SUV and upmarket too, as we are clearly very far from the original minimum price.

This is how life goes, and this is how the Tipo goes, which today starts at 21,480 euros with an entry-level 100 hp engine. This move to a higher level is also accompanied by a new engine that looks set to be one of the main building blocks of the former FCA branch of Stellantis, as it already powers the new Alfa Romeo Tonale SUV, as well as the Jeep Compass e-hybrid and, closer to this Tipo, its older brother hybrid Fiat 500X.

The new Fiat logo is integrated into the front end, which has changed slightly since its launch in 2016.

Also, comparing these two close relatives of the 500X and the Tipo, one might wonder why buyers prefer SUVs over sedans, even slightly upgraded ones like this one. For the habitability of crossovers? Not really. The rear seats of this Tipo are larger than in the 500X. As for the trunk, the latter does not exceed 350 liters, while the Tipo reaches 440 liters in the 5-door version and 550 in the SW break.

Does an SUV have more than a “basic” sedan doesn’t? His technological equipment for example? This is not entirely true. If the 500X is content with a 7-inch screen, then Tipo offers a nice 10.25-inch second-level panel.

The dashboard is as austere as it is reassuring and complete.
The dashboard is as austere as it is reassuring and complete.

Rather, you can find a flaw in the Tipo line. At least the difference with the 500X cousin. It is curious that, despite the fact that this eight-year-old car, he seems younger than his sedan. And not in vain. The (fortunate) but very, very wise design of the compact is conceived as statutory, not fancy at all. Because in the collective unconscious, an expensive car is necessarily ascetic. So Tipo’s designers came up with the idea to soften its line and allow someone who doesn’t necessarily have the means to afford an expensive car to pay for social status without breaking the bank. And the Tipo salon meets the same requirement. Hence this apparent coldness.

Black plastic wheel arches and an adventurer-style front apron are the hallmark of the Cross version.
Black plastic wheel arches and an adventurer-style front apron are the hallmark of the Cross version.

Strict and not (too) expensive is not necessarily synonymous with casual behavior on the road. The Tipo was mechanically well born and has remained so. Its running gear provides an excellent combination of comfort and stability on the road. It soaks up the bumps in a bad road very well, and its steering, far from being the best of its kind, does its job well. But all these qualities have been known since the birth of the car. So which this new engine under the hood of this type? On paper, in any case, we have everything to win.

An excellent combination of engine and gearbox, at least on paper.

The block is a four-cylinder “firefly” that works on the Miller cycle, which should increase its performance. this unit is supported by a 48V light hybridization fitted with a starter-alternator. There is nothing to rejoice at, since a good half of world production is now equipped with mild hybrids. Except this tipo has something extra: a 20hp electric motor glued to a 7-speed automatic transmission. made in Magna Steyr. Which, still on paper, allows the car to travel a few meters with zero emissions, maneuver silently and drastically reduce CO2 emissions, since, according to the manufacturer, 40% of trips are made in electric mode, which is programmed automatically.

Wide rear seats...
Wide rear seats…
And a very correct trunk of 440 liters.
And a very correct trunk of 440 liters.

But in reality and on the road, things are different. A few meters in electric mode must be done from the tip of the accelerator. After 20 km / h, the thermoblock snorts softly. As far as maneuvers go, it’s highly discouraged to repeat them multiple times to carve your niche while maintaining EV mode. But if an electric crutch allows you to remove CO2 emissions (they were reduced by 11%) and reduce consumption, then why not?

Not very significant hybridization

But even here the gain is not obvious. During the mixed route of this test, consumption never dropped below 6 l/100 km. The assessment is not funny, but we tend to think that the game is not necessarily worth the candle and that some non-hybrid heat engines achieve the same feat. Be that as it may, this Tipo Hybrid offers itself the luxury of full 6d approval and 120 g editions that exempt it from fines. However, it is useless to try to bring him to extremes, which he hates, or rather, hates autobox. Its downshifts last as long as the day of the equinox when you show a little enthusiasm on the accelerator pedal. Thus, this car should lead to the senatorial train, which, given its statutory design, is quite suitable.

However, the original idea to offer a pretty cool car at a very low price is no longer very relevant. Because this Tipo in hybrid mode costs between 26,490 euros and almost 30,000 euros. We have seen more “basic” prices.