After a troubled few years Fiat‘s most recent products – aimed, admittedly, more at the retail buyer – have been improving.

The company’s new Bravo, however, is aimed squarely at the largest sector of the business car market – the lower medium market – and is the car Fiat is pinning its fleet hopes on.


When we originally and briefly drove Bravo at its international launch in Italy we reported that it was comfortable but, despite the looks, did not possess the sporty feel of a Ford Focus. Now we’ve driven the car on a variety of UK roads we can confirm that our initial on-road verdict was spot on. We can also add, though, that there were a couple of quality issues with the test cars we drove. In all models the aircon lacked the ability to properly cool the cabin, and the USB connection socket (for MP3 players etc) was set in a wonky position.

What we didn’t have on that first drive was cost figures, which, with the exception of the lease rate and six weeks after the car’s official on sale date, are now in. (HSBC Vehicle Finance, who provide our lease rates, is still waiting on data from Fiat before they produce a figure for the Bravo.)

We selected the 1.4-litre 150PS T-jet version as it’s easily the pick of the range, offering an excellent mix of performance, tax and economy. It’s also very favourably priced – a deliberate move by Fiat in the UK as the company here will have a to wait a few months yet to get the 120PS 1.4-litre car. We also opted for the petrol over the diesel for the petrol’s better noise levels and response.

The figures are impressive and finding rivals (see below) was no easy task – the Bravo’s excellent performance, with good consumption and low CO2 is only beaten by the Honda Civic. Helping the Bravo is an impressive depreciation thanks in part to a low P11D price. The service and maintenance rates are still above rivals, though things are getting better.

Fiat is improving and the Bravo represents a large step forward for the firm in the business car market. However, there’s still a way to go before the Italian brand is winning best-in-class contests.