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LeoRahi

ACI Review - Fiat Linea Classic

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Fiat hasn’t had a great time in India recently, with its two-model line-up failing to bring buyers to its showrooms. Now, in a bid to recover its fortunes, the company will soon launch a facelifted Linea. It, however, won’t be phasing out the current car and will sell it alongside the new car. To make space for the facelift, the current car has been given a major price reduction and a new name. It’s now called the Linea Classic and is available with both petrol and diesel engines in two trims.

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To go with the price cut, the diesel car is now powered by the detuned version of the 1.3-litre Multijet engine with mechanical changes that help save on costs. This is the same 75bhp state of tune as the Punto and Maruti Swift. To make up for the lack of power, the gearbox has been suitably modified so as to not hamper the car’s performance.

In real-world conditions, this has worked to an extent. In city traffic, the Fiat Linea Classic has enough grunt most of the time and it responds well when there is a need to pick up the pace. But a lack of power is apparent on more open roads. There is that slight hesitation at lower speeds that most small-capacity diesels have, but the sudden surge as the engine picks up speed is missing and it takes its time to respond too. Flat-out performance, however, is not too far off from the 89bhp Linea – the 75bhp Classic's 18.92sec 0-100kph time is just 1.11sec slower.

What hasn’t changed are the ride characteristics of the car. The stability at speed is great with only a little vertical movement. It stays flat and inspires confidence, and it works well even on broken roads. Almost everything that our roads serve up gets absorbed by the suspension with next to no noise filtering into the cabin. And the steering is light enough to make easy work of parking the car but at the same time, is communicative enough to let you know how the car is behaving. The comfortable back seat makes this an ideal chauffeur-driven car.

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Prices start at Rs 6.96 lakh for the base diesel which sounds like a steal for a proper mid-sizer. However, you have to take into account that there is a lot of equipment missing, like steering mounted controls, rear power windows and airbags.

Fact File

Price Range (in lakhs)*

Ex-showroom price From Rs 6.96 lakh (ex-showroom)

Engine

Fuel - Diesel

Type - 4 cyls in-line, 1248cc, turbo-diesel

Power - 75bhp at 4000rpm

Torque - 20.08kgm at 1750rpm

Transmission

Type Front wheel drive

Gearbox 5-speed, manual

Dimensions

Length 4560mm

Width 1730mm

Height 1487mm

Wheel base 2603mm

Chassis & Body

Tyres 175/70R14

Brakes

Front - Ventilated discs

Rear - drums

-AutocarIndia

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The Linea definitely looks good but at the same time looks a little old school/ dated in my opinion. Any design lacking sharp cues would begin to age very rapidly and the Linea is no exception. I hope Fiat goes back to the drawing board taking inspiration from some of the most iconic brands it owns (read Ferrari) and comes out with a stunning looking car. And an entire model line-up comprising just 2-4 model would just not survive in the long run unless the product is really aspirational in terms of the brand, quality, performance, and price (e.g. Honda City).

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The Indians had welcome "Use and Throw" pens, starting with Reynolds. But I dont think that we can adopt the same slogan in the case of cars. All need proper service and some like me needs precision also. I think FIAT should prove that they are good at service after sales and warranty period and should be more responsible. The managers may no be the losers, finally, as they can jump from one tree to another but Fiat will be.

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