FuelRunGod

Fiat Linea Test Drive Report

Recommended Posts

Here is a review of the much awaited Fiat Linea. Fiat has always had good cars, but never had the proper support for them which is why their brand image has taken a beating over the years. But with the Linea and other models that are in the pipeline, Fiat hopes to claw back into the market. Will it change the fortunes of Fiat? Let's find out.

 

dsc8938copycy2.jpg

 

Exteriors

Walk around the car, you can't help but notice how gorgeous this car looks. True to its Italian roots, this is quite an attractive car in flesh. If you look at it head-on, it does look a little bug-eyed. But the overall effect is pretty good and almost everyone will be pleased with what they see. Personally, the front three-quarters is its best photographic side. The rear looks pretty good too and the tail-lamps remind you of the Mitsubishi Lancer EVO, which is definately a good thing. To put it in a nutshell, the Linea looks a lot more expensive than its pricetag suggests.

 

Interiors

Gone are the images of Palio interiors. This is a distinctly modern design with a bit of retro elements like the instrument cluster. Plastic quality is generally decent, but some bits like the plastics of the centre console feel low rent. The steering wheel is meaty and feels good to grip and houses controls for the music system and other accessories. You'll love the fact that the Linea comes loaded with features. The 'Emotion' variant we tested gets climate control, trip computer, MP3 audio system, power windows, central locking, fog lamps and bluetooth technology for connecting cellphones known as the 'Blue & Me'. It is essentially the same feature found on the Fiat 500. The cabin is finished in a combo of beige and black colours which goes well with its design.

 

dsc8415copydm1.jpg 

 

The seats are generally comfortable and come with a range of adjustments, but the front seats are forward sloping which robs the passenger of thigh support. The rear seat is also very comfortable and has good amounts of legroom and shoulder room. While that curving roofline looks great, it doesn't do a lot of good for the rear headroom and taller passengers might have their hairstyles messed up. The Linea doesn't lack in space, be it passenger or luggage. The boot is deep and well shaped and has a capacity of 500 litres.

 

Performance, Ride & Handling

The Linea is powered by the famed 1.3 litre Multijet unit pumping out 90bhp and 20.4kgm of torque. The higher power output is thanks largely to a bigger variable vane turbo. Refinement has always been the multijet's forte. At idle, noise and vibration is well suppressed with the motor only becoming slightly gruff at higher speeds.

 

dsc8457copyfg9.jpg 

 

Power delivery is also like the other multijets. There is a distinct turbo lag up till 1500rpm, once past that mark it starts picking up. While it doesn't have the pin you to the seat acceleration like in the Swift, the midrange has decent punch and it doesn't let off till 4500rpm. The short gearing is good for the city and the Linea manages to be in higher gears for most of the time. This reflects in the fuel efficiecny stakes with the car managing 12.9kpl in the city. But out on the highway, the engine is turning over at a higher speed than usual because of which the highway figure suffers a bit. The Linea went 17.5 kilometres to a litre of diesel.

 

dsc9366ea4.jpg 

 

Fiats have always been known for their ride and handling and the Linea doesn't disappoint. It rides exceptionally over bad patches of road. Low speed ride has a bit of a hard edge, but this pays dividends at higher speeds where the Linea smothers almost anything in its path. It scores well even in the handling department. The steering is well weighted and is precise. It gives good feedback from the road as well. Turn into a corner and you'll be impressed by the grip levels. Body roll is well controlled and it helps you to pile into corners with lot of confidence. The chassis can definately take more power.

 

dsc8989copyfi8.jpg 

 

Verdict

The Linea is spacious and comfortable, it comes bristling with features and is powered by a world renowned diesel motor that is both refined and efficient. All this is expected to come at a very good price of Rs 7-9 lakh which will put it bang in the middle of Verna, Fiesta and City territory and this car is almost a class bigger from its main rivals. This makes it incredible value for money. From the looks of it, Fiat seems to have a winner on its hands.

 

FRG
FuelRunGod2008-11-26 11:57:24

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thanks FRG for the first llok. please post the pictures soon.

Also for new car buyers this is a good option to look at. I would suggest this would be a better buy over the fiesta diesel.
The VTEC guy2008-11-26 09:32:46

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks FRG for the nice review.

 

Seems like a very decent car which needs a more powerful engine. I think car manufacturers should realise that at least a part of Indian market has matured beyond the MILAGE fobia and are willing to pay more for better features and powerful engines. So Car companies need to put high spec / high power models in market and the demand for these will grow. They should also avoid 'looting customer while cost cutting, models like new Honda City.

 

If FIAT ensures a proper service backup, the new Linea will definitely shake up the market and I forersee a lot of booking cancelations of Dzire and new Honda City, in favour of Linea.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@archit: it is supposed to launch mid-dec

I dont think the service should be a problem. Tatas have a good service network (at least they can put the car back on road if something was to terribly go wrong) and with the plant at ranjangaon, the spares should be available too (the major issues with Fiat last time around.

Would surely love to see this car in the dealerships soon. Doesnt it enter the Indigo XL top end territory at close to 8 lacs? Hmmmm... interesting to see both in the same showroom. Have Tatas dug indigos grave?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The chassis can definately take more power.

- FRG

 

akj53in says it best. not all of us are obsessed with mileage. if that's what I wanted, I'd stick with a scooter. let's see that 1.9MJD engine please fiat. till then at least, I'm not buying...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

looks-the car looks quiet stunning and the side profile is the most attractive.

interiors-they were actually lookin quiet nice and it has the bluetooth and me and phone answering buttons.these features comes only in the above 25 l price range.

performance-well this is the field where linea is gonna lack because 90 bhp is just decent and not enough for a car which weighs close to 1250 kgs !!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good review FRG!

This sure looks to be a winner from most angles & carries all the Fiat's core values- design, ride & handling, but should be devoid of Fiat's trademark sales & service!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you FRG for the test drive report. This is a great news for all Fiat fans like me. Even if I had some service problems with my Petra D, I still love Fiat cars for their handling, engines, VFM and sturdy builds. Lets hope atleast this time Fiat will not cheat its customers. All the best Linea..........

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@ FRG: I read the report in the latest ACI...looks like Fiat has a winner on it's hands...provided they price it right and offer good aftersales service. The first is possible but the second is easier said than done. But it really looks great and you have given it a 9/10..hope Fiat lives up to your high expectations. Hoping against hope that this really gives Fiat India the boost it requires to stay afloat, in these troubled times. Personally, I think they should have brought in the Grande Punto before this...that would have really been a coupe'detat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

at 9 lacs for a 90bhp 1.3 litre diesel' date=' they already have
[/quote']

 

It's atleast better than selling a small hatch with a puny engine of 68 bhp @ 9 Lakhs!!! smiley2.gif

 

good point romeo_159 - and quite right too

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lets hope atleast this time Fiat will not cheat its customers...........

 

at 9 lacs for a 90bhp 1.3 litre diesel' date=' they already have
[/quote']

 

Why are we always hung up about on-paper specs. what's wrong with 90bhp and a 1.3 engine? The whole car world is downsizing today - smaller capacities and turbocharging. So by this logic is the Octavia which also has 90bhp and costs 12 lakh a rip-off?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Kerbhopper agreed,  Fiat is at the start of its fresh innings & offering an efficient engine thesedays is a good thing. Only concern is that it should not get swayed by Octy's pricing!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Why are we always hung up about on-paper specs. what's wrong with 90bhp and a 1.3 engine? The whole car world is downsizing today - smaller capacities and turbocharging. So by this logic is the Octavia which also has 90bhp and costs 12 lakh a rip-off?

 

nothing wrong with downsizing. a lot wrong with pricing - if it does come in at 9lacs, it will be about 2 lacs higher than in turkey - another country where Fiat manufactures the Linea. and yes, the Octavia is a rip off (refer to various posts re Skoda earlier)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Engine power and FE are contradictory items. In a nation obsessed with FE, FIAT has choosen a middle and safe route by giving 94 bhp engine. Whats wrong with that. 

 

Criticism on this point amazes me. When Honda sold its City with a paltry 77 HP engine and NO safety features, it was applauded and it was one of the largest selling sedans in its segment. If FIAT attempts to sell a FULLY FEATURED car with 94 bhp engine and a solid build quality it is supposed to be cheating us. WHY???????

 

I have to buy a new car after I return to India. I also like my car to have more power, thats why I did not buy the 2nd gen City. Apart from low power, it did not have even the basic safety features like engine immobiliser or a crash safebody, and they wanted Rs 20,000 more for a pair of Fog Lamps. The smart salesman kept on harping about Honda quality but had no answer about my questions. A car is not only 'engine'. Several other factors like safety, economy or power (depending on one's priority), after sales service arrangements, comfort and convenience features - every thing should be considered by a prospective buyer.

 

I personally find Linea a better and more complete car than new Honda City as Linea will come with most of necessary features which should be available at that price point. Build quality of FIAT is also better than flimsy bodies of Honda. I am not willing to pay any substantial premium to Honda over FIAT. I think that FIAT has learnt its lesson and will pay due regard to customer expectations and will not let down its new customers. I find that it is Honda who is screwing Indian customers by giving a barebones car at nearly 8-9 lacs.

 

Lastly if FIAT Linea gets established in India, it will provide a healthy competition in that segment which will be better for Indian customers.
akj53in2008-11-30 19:01:35

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

yes you guys are right about the fact that everyone these daysz is downsizing engine but the main thing is people expect performance from a car which costs close to 10 lakh bucks...that is why the call for more power.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now