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Model update: Fiat Tipo Hybrid

Date: 01 August 2022   |   Author: Sean Keywood

Lower-medium hatch gets Fiat's new mild hybrid system.
What's new:
Mild hybrid family hatch completes Fiat's electrified line-up.
Standard equipment on Cross Hybrid:
LED headlights and tail lights, fog lights, automatic lights and wipers, 17in alloy wheels, roof rails, dark tinted windows, electrically adjustable heated door mirrors, driver's seat electric lumbar support, heated front seats, keyless entry and go, 7in touchscreen with sat-nav, 7in digital cluster, climate control, adaptive cruise control, reversing camera, autonomous emergency braking, lane support system, intelligent speed assist, traffic sign recognition, driver drowsiness monitoring, blind spot assist.

Although Fiat's traditional strengths have been city cars, and more recently spinning variations off its classic 500, it does also maintain a presence in the lower-medium hatch market with the Tipo, which arrived in 2016, a couple of years after its Bravo predecessor departed. Admittedly, its never come close to matching Fiat's smaller models for either critical acclaim or sales figures, at least in the UK, but it has now gained a new powertrain allowing the manufacturer to claim a 100% electrified model line-up.

As with the Fiat 500X with the same engine we reviewed last month, although badged Hybrid, this Tipo is really only a 48V mild hybrid. However, as regular readers may remember from that 500X review, an innovative feature of this powertrain is that unlike most mild hybrids, it is capable of moving the car on electric power alone - albeit at very low speeds. It uses battery drive - equivalent to around 20hp - to replicate the familiar 'creeping' function normally seen from automatic cars without using the petrol engine, for example when parking or in a traffic jam. It's a novel idea, and one that works well in practice. Other functions of the mild hybrid system include assisting the engine when accelerating, and allowing it to switch off when coasting, though the latter feature is fairly dependent on battery charge level and other conditions, such as whether the air conditioning is running. 

In terms of efficiency savings, the powertrain looks to be fairly effective - it offers fuel economy and CO2 emissions improvements of around 5mpg and 10g/km in official testing compared with the equivalent petrol model, along with an extra 30hp. This is enough to provide acceptable performance and the Tipo feels fairly nippy around town. Although the petrol engine can be a bit revvy and isn't always the smoothest unit. The seven-speed automatic gearbox - newly developed by Fiat to accompany this powertrain - is compliant.

The hybrid powertrain is only being offered with the Cross version of the Tipo, a variant that features off-road styling elements such as skid plates and roof rails, and is 7cm taller than the standard car (the powertrain is also available with the new Garmin special edition model, a spin-off from the Cross grade).

As a drive we found it to be sub-par - the steering is vague, and the handling feels lurchy and lacking in composure. Ride quality is comfortable enough over speed bumps, but a bit thumping where potholes are concerned.

Interior quality is a mixed bag, although the cabin does feel quite spacious. There's some very cheap-looking plastic on the doors and lower parts of the dashboard, and a budget feel to the trim overall, although the leather steering wheel feels of good quality. The digital driver display and infotainment touchscreen offer good graphics, although the latter item could be quicker to respond to prompts. Rear leg and headroom is fairly good, and a 440-litre boot is usefully large for the segment.

Some of the Tipo's flaws could perhaps be forgiven if it offered strong value for money, but unfortunately, turning to the cost sheet reveals that it shares a flaw with the 500X we reviewed previously - poor expected residual values. At just 28.6%, these mean that compared with the equivalent Ford Focus Active mild hybrid, the Fiat is actually more than 3p per mile more expensive to run on a cost-per-mile basis. That being said, although the Tipo also has a slightly more expensive P11D value, better CO2 emissions figures do mean it incurs slightly cheaper BIK payments than the Ford. However, given the Tipo's other shortcomings, this isn't really enough for us to recommend it.

Fiat Tipo Cross Hybrid 

P11D: £27,360

Residual value: 28.6% 

Depreciation: £19,541

Fuel: £9,157

Service, maintenance and repair: £1,906

Cost per mile: 51.00p

Fuel consumption: 54.3mpg

CO2 (BIK %): 119/km (28%)  

BIK 20/40% a month: £128/£255

Luggage capacity: 440 litres

Engine size/power: 1,469cc/130hp


  • Clever mild hybrid system
  • Good-sized boot
  • Low expected residual values
  • Little driver appeal