Fiat’s distinctive looking medium car has received a shot in the arm, courtesy of a new engine. Ian Robertson tests the new 2.0-litre Bravo
Normally when a car maker launches a new flagship model, there’s much fanfare and celebration, but with the brand new 2.0- litre MultiJet engined Bravo, Fiat has chosen a more subtle approach, so you would be forgiven for not realising that it had arrived.
The new unit replaces the 150bhp, 1.9-litre engine in the Italian makers line-up, developing 15 more horse power and 41lb ft of extra torque, despite producing 10g/km less CO2 and achieving almost three more miles to the gallon on the combined cycle. It also takes 0.8 of a second less time to 62mph and complies with the latest Euro five emissions standards. So everything’s rosy then? Well it is, until you take a glance at the price list, when you realise that the price of all of this is an extra £750 over the price of the outgoing model.
As soon as you open any of the doors, it is clear that Fiat has shown some flair, with red inserts in the sports seats that brighten up an otherwise grey existence. Quality and finish is a giant leap forward from some previous Fiat offerings, however, the Bravo still has some way to go before it can match rivals like the Volkswagen Golf. The sports steering wheel is really chunky and nice to hold, but other controls are a touch on the plasticky side. It’s easy to get comfortable, with plenty of adjustment to the drivers seat, but interior space is merely average, although there is plenty of room for luggage. Out on the road, as you would expect from a car developing 165bhp, performance is excellent with the 0-62mph dash completed in just 8.2 seconds.
The new 2.0-litre unit is smooth and punchy, but can get noisy when extended, meaning that a little more soundproofing would be a welcome addition. Normally with a Sport moniker, you would expect a stiff ride, but instead the Bravo has a softer, more pliant ride that makes the Bravo a comfortable cruiser. Handling is both safe and secure. At £17,350, the top-flight Bravo Sport isn’t bad value, although the equipment levels seem miserly in places compared to its competitors. Things like electric rear windows and climate control remain on the options list, although a Bluetooth hands-free system, cruise control, 17-inch alloy wheels and air conditioning are fitted as standard.
For those that want something a little different from the default Volkswagen Golf or Ford Focus, then it is clear to see the Fiat’s appeal, with distinctive lines and a hint of Maserati around the front end. As with previous medium Fiat’s, residual values are a touch lower than some rivals, although that is compensated to a degree by a lower asking price to start with.
RIVALS: SEAT Leon FR 2.0 TDI, Skoda Octa via vRS 2.0 TDI CR DPF, Toyota Auris SR180 2.2 D-4D
- Engine: 1956cc, 4 cylinder, turbodiesel
- Gearbox: 6-speed manual
- Max Power: 165bhp at 4,000rpm
- Max Torque: 266lb ft at 1,750rpm
- Max Towing Weight: 1,300kg
- Combined Consumption: 53.3mpg
- CO2 Emissions (taxband): 139g/km (E)
- 0-62mph: 8.2secs
- Max speed: 130mph
- Insurance group: 13
Distinctive looks, comfortable cruiser, strong performance, low emissions
Some plasticky controls, residual values low, noisy when extended