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Fiat models, news & reviews
By Gavin Green
01 February 2007 09:41
Yes, the old Stilo was one of those yawningly average cars that rather summed up Fiat’s problems. Mediocre to look at, indifferent to drive, of poor quality and a complete showroom duffer. Fiat, though, is going through something of a renaissance. There’s a new boss, a new designer chief and, most important of all, new cars. New car number one was the Panda – a versatile little thing that is probably the cleverest of all small cars, the true spiritual successor to the Issigonis Mini. Second new car was the Grande Punto. Less of a mould-breaker than the Panda but well-made and very handsome with its mini-Maserati style. The Panda and Grande Punto are both selling like gelati in July. The Bravo – available initially as a five-door hatch only – is new car number three. Unsurprisingly, it takes much of the learnings from the Grande Punto. Think of it as a scaled-up Grande Punto and you get the picture.
Fiat concentrates on style, solidity and value nowadays, or so its marketing director says. Style is where it should be best in class (it’s Italian, right?). Solidity is where it has to surprise and delight, to win over the doubters who still remember the not-too-distant days of rusting, frangible Fiats, when they had all the solidity of a recycled plastic bottle. Value means good prices, satrting at £10,995. The upshots are terrific style – the Grande Punto is a real design classic and the Bravo isn’t too far behind – plus excellent torsional rigidity and strength. On broken rural roads in northern Italy, the Bravo felt tough, rattle-free, and more like a Foden than a Fiat. It’s all the more amazing when you realise it’s using the old Stilo platform. Same engines too, although there’s a new 1.4 petrol turbo on the way. The ride, too, is absorbent and comfortable.
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Fiat Bravo 1.9 JTD (2007) CAR review
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