Fiat Bravo (2007)

Published: 30 January 2007

Fiat Bravo: the lowdown

Fiat is busying readying its new Golf challenger, the Bravo, for sale in the UK this summer. Will it be good enough to make up for the woeful Stilo, the car that nearly sank Fiat? We’ll find out later this week when CAR Online gets behind the wheel for the first time. Until then, our spies have captured some new images of the Bravo testing in Austria. Read on to see if it’s shaping up to be the saviour to seal the Italian firm’s recovery – or another nail in the coffin.

Haven’t I seen this somewhere before?

Yes, is the likely answer. Fiat issued three photos of the new Bravo in October. But if you’re still wondering why it seems so familiar, it’s probably because it looks like a pumped-up Punto, Fiat’s latest supersized supermini. The new corporate grille is dominated by the Fiat badge and the beltline rises sharply along the car’s waist, giving it an unusually pointy aggression for a small family hatchback. Bulging curves lend its own unique brand of Italian flair – and it’ll be spacious, too, boasting a loading capacity of 400 litres.

What’s under the bonnet?

Buyers can pick five engine options: a new 1.4-litre petrol turbo is available with 120bhp or 150bhp; the cheapest, £10k entry car gets a naturally aspirated 1.4 petrol with 90bhp. Diesel lovers can pick the 1.9-litre common-rail unit, also with outputs of 120bhp or 150bhp. All versions are front-wheel drive, using an updated version of the unloved Stilo’s platform. Fiat developed the whole car in just 18 months by relying heavily on virtual engineering; these prototypes we caught have only been produced later in the day than under traditional engineering programmes.

So what’s it like to drive?

The Bravo is due to be presented to the international media in Rome this week, so we’ll finally get to test it for real. To find out if it’s actually any good, come back to CAR Online on Thursday. Stripped of its test-car disguise, it certainly looks striking (see above). But it'll have to be good if it's to stand a chance of beating the Golf/Focus/Civic class leaders...