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First Drive

First Drive: Fiat Tipo Cross

The story: Fiat has used the facelift of its lower medium Tipo hatch to introduce a Cross model with slightly raised ride height and plastic cladding
Category:Lower Medium
Key rival:Ford Focus Active
On sale:Now

It’s mid-life refresh time for the Fiat Tipo, and the Italian brand is hoping to inject some life into a model that’s been rather overshadowed by its baby brother 500. So, this redesign also includes the introduction of a new Cross version that gives the car a slight hint of off-road stance.

The Cross is given a ride height increase of almost 70mm, as well as a skid plate, side skirts, more prominent bumpers and larger wheels and tyres.

First Drive - November 2021 - Fiat Tipo Cross - Image 6These additions come on top of the Tipo’s revised styling; all models (which run from the entry car to Life, City Sport and Cross trim levels) get updated headlights now with full LEDs, as well as refreshed bumpers and a redesigned grille that features the prominent new wordmark Fiat logo. As well as the hatch, there’s a Tipo Station Wagon, available only in entry and Life specifications

On the inside there are notable changes too, with the analogue dashboard replaced by a new 7.0-inch TFT digital cluster that offers a good range of displays, bringing the car a bit more up to date. The touchscreen is still small though, and as a result not the easiest to use on the move.

Other changes to the interior include updated air-conditioning controls with chrome and black inserts, which makes them look neater, and a new steering wheel that’s redesigned to improve visibility of the revised dashboard. Overall, the interior isn’t the most plush, but the Tipo is priced very much at the budget end of the lower medium marketplace.; indeed, it costs just over £21,000 for a car with the likes of climate control, front parking sensors and rear camera, rear privacy glass and lane-keep assist, as well as nav and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.

First Drive - November 2021 - Fiat Tipo Cross - Image 4On top of all that there’s decent rear space, and the 440-litre boot is almost 100 litres up on that in the Ford Focus, and around the class average.

The 100hp petrol engine – the only choice in the line-up – is better on the road than it appears on paper, and takes only a little work to get up to speed. Everything about the driving experience is fairly neutral; it rides well without excelling, and is composed enough on twistier roads without ever thinking to trouble the best-handling hatchbacks.

paul barker



The verdict

The Cross gives a new reason for the Tipo to fight for attention, and it’s a reasonable all-rounder, given what you get for the low price.