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Fiat set to take on Ford with Focus-challenging Tipo revival

By raccars Published

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The Fiat Tipo returns next year with a newly announced model that is positioned to take on rivals from Ford, Vauxhall and Renault.

The Tipo returns

The Fiat Tipo range has been dormant for more than two decades, but the Italian manufacturer has announced this month that it is reviving it as a new mid-sized family car in 2016. This should see it compete with the Ford Focus, as well as a host of other competitive hatchbacks in the same market segment.

The first images of the all new Tipo show it with a saloon body style, but this version is not planned for UK release. Instead, British buyers will be able to select from a hatchback model in addition to a larger estate model which is suitable for touring.

Contemporary styling

Fiat may have found favour with the iconic updating of the 500 and its old school exterior in recent years, but this approach will not work for every model and indeed the new Tipo seems to be a rather more modern affair in terms of styling. The front end, in particular, looks both elegant and aggressive, with a large grill and tapered headlights giving it a poised stance on the road.

On the inside the Tipo is expected to follow in the footsteps of models from Alfa Romeo’s current range, with a digital dash and a touch screen entertainment centre helping to enhance its interior with some cutting edge tech. There will even be the option to control certain features using your voice, although the array of buttons mounted on the steering wheel will also work just as well for changing radio stations or answering hands free calls.

The styling of the Tipo has also been developed to maximise the amount of on-board space and in most respects it is set to compete directly with the Ford Focus. When it comes to essentials such as leg room and boot capacity it should be difficult to differentiate between the two vehicles.

Engine options and pricing

Fiat has yet to officially confirm the specific engines for the new Tipo range, although it is believed that there will be four different power plants, with two petrol and two diesel options available, according to carbuyer.co.uk.

Observers are also anticipating that this line-up will at some stage be augmented by an Abarth-branded variant of the Tipo which will act as Fiat’s hot hatch offering. This will give it the ability to compete comprehensively with its current rivals, making sure that the Focus ST does not remain unchallenged.

In terms of pricing there is little doubt that Fiat will be positioning the Tipo as a cost-effective family hatchback range, since it has already emphasised its intentions of delivering value for money to drivers with the return of the Tipo series. Industry insiders have claimed that UK prices will start from roughly £15,000 and are likely to range through to £20,000. If a hot hatch Tipo does arrive then it may echo the Focus ST's price point and cost a little over £22,000.

Fiat is set to give the Tipo its official airing next year and it is expected that it will make an appearance at major motor shows as the manufacturer generates advanced publicity and demand. It will not actually be available to buy until the autumn of 2016 if all goes to plan, at which point it will arrive as a potentially compelling alternative to some of the other family hatchbacks that have been so dominant in its 20 year absence.

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