Fiat may have a good reputation in the UK today, but in the 1990s it was not quite in the same league as other major manufacturers, if only because it hadn't managed to win over the general public to its Italian ways as a result of a reputation for poor build quality.
The Fiat Brava and its hatchback sibling the Bravo, were the cars that helped turn its fortunes around and when the Brava arrived in 1995 it was subject to critical acclaim and strong sales.
The Brava was created in order to provide a five door alternative to the Bravo and it was also the successor to Fiat's Tipo range.
The used Fiat Brava really stood out from the crowd thanks to its boldly curvaceous styling and meant that you could drive something with a little flare even if you were buying a sensible vehicle to ferry around a small family.
Engines ranged between a basic 12 valve 1.4 litre powerplant and a surprisingly capable 1.8 litre unit, with the most popular option sitting in the middle at 1.6 litres.
Diesels joined the fray in 1996 and the used Fiat Brava got revamped for a second generation in 1999, with new engines and trim to boot.
The Brava ended its days in 2002 but it has remained an appealing used buy in the UK to this day.
Bang for your buck
The exterior styling of the second hand Fiat Brava is definitely distinct, from its snubby snout to the individually separate tail lights at the rear.
On the inside the quality of the components and the way things are put together is a cut above what you would expect from an older Fiat.
There are nice features, such as a security-enhancing shield that drops down to disguise the hi-fi system when it is not in use. You also get an excellent jack that doubles up as a complete tool kit so that even if you end up stuck at the side of the road you can generally get out of a jam.
What you'll pay
The price difference between the used Fiat Brava for sale and its closely related Bravo counterpart is oddly weighted in favour of the three door rather than the five door model. As such a Brava will end up being more affordable than you might imagine.
You can pay around £400 for an early model Brava with the 1.4 litre engine and S trim, while the better equipped SX will be closer to £450.
£500 will net you the 1.6 from around the 1999 reg era, while late model Bravas will set you back closer to £1000 if they are in good condition and have service histories to back up their credentials.
Diesel models are a little more desirable thanks to their fuel economy so add around £150 onto the asking price if this is the route you are taking.
What to check
The used Fiat Brava is quite a reliable little car and so there is no glaring fault or potential pitfall that you particularly have to keep an eye open for when buying a used example.
Be aware that some interior elements may have suffered defects over the years that need looking into, while certain owners have complained of an issue which makes it difficult to put the car into reverse, so a certain degree of discretion is required when sizing up a potential purchase.
If you need to replace the exhaust on a Brava then you will pay around £190, while a new clutch for an early model will come in at £120 or so.
Brake pads at the front are £39, with rear pads upping the cost to £54. If you need to get a new headlamp then a bill for £113 can be expected.
How it drives
The 1.6 litre variant of the used Fiat Brava for sale was the most popular because it combined the economy of the 1.4 litre with the improved performance that made it a little more fun to actually drive.
The diesel powered models are competent if relatively uninspiring and some have actually complained that the Brava suffers from excessive stiffness in the chassis, which means that the ride is not always the smoothest. If you want something other than an Astra or a VW Golf, the Brava will be a good alternative.