Fiat Bravo review
Shapely Fiat Bravo is an often-overlooked family hatch
The five-door Fiat Bravo faces stiff competition from big sellers like the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus. Having arrived in dealerships in 2007, it’s one of the older cars in the small hatchback sector, but that doesn’t mean the capable Italian should be ignored. Buyers get a choice of three Multijet diesel engines or there’s the option of two petrol units. The middle output Multijet 120 comes exclusively with the Dualogic automatic transmission, while all other models get a six-speed manual. Sport models get stiffer suspension and more aggressive styling.
Our choice: Fiat Bravo 1.6 Multijet 105 MyLife
A sleek front end and traditional Italian curves give the Fiat Bravo a dash of style, and it benefits from tight shut lines and solid build quality. The entry level Active gets steel wheels with plastic trims, but body coloured mirrors are standard across the range. The range topping Sport gets a chrome exhaust pipe, tidy rear spoiler and body coloured side skirts. Dynamic models get chrome door handles. Cabins of higher-spec cars boast upmarket features such as climate control and leather trim on the wheel and gearlever.
Available in Active or Dynamic trim, the 90bhp 1.4-litre 16v is the entry-level petrol motor, but it’s worth spending the extra for the punchy 1.4 MultiAir 140, especially as it’s 14g/km cleaner than the smaller engine. The cheapest and smallest diesel is the 1.6 Multijet 105, but for buyers wanting to combine an automatic gearbox and diesel engine the Multijet 120 is exclusively available with the Dualogic transmission in Dynamic trim. Performance fans will prefer the 2.0 Multijet 165, but it's stiffly sprung and doesn’t ride as well. In the corners, the Fiat Bravo handles sharply, but the electrically assisted steering lacks weight and feel, reducing driver involvement.
The Fiat Bravo has a five-star Euro NCAP rating. All models get side and window airbags as standard, while for parents front passenger airbag deactivation and ISOFIX are included across the range. Stability control is standard across the range, and includes hill hold assist. In the back, all trims get three head rests, but rear seatbelts with pretensioners and load limiters are optional on Dynamic and Sport, but not available on the Active. The Fiat Bravo finished in 78h place in our 2011 Driver Power reliability survey, Fiat offers an eight-year anti corrosion warranty, plus any genuine Fiat parts fitted in a repair are guaranteed for 12 months.
Every Fiat Bravo gets a height adjustable driver's seat, while Dynamic and Sport trims get lumbar support as well. But the driving position is still a little cramped compared to class leaders. Rear passenger space isn’t great either, with limited headroom. But there’s a decent amount of cabin stowage and the Fiat’s 365-litre boot capacity is 15 litres up on the Volkswagen Golf. If you tumble the standard split/fold rear seats volume increases to 1,175 litres. A space saver spare wheel is standard across the range. Practical accessories like luggage retaining nets, a dog separation grille, tow bar and roof bars all feature on the options list.
Poor residuals are a concern for private buyers, but the Fiat Bravo comes with decent equipment so you get plenty for your money. Dynamic and Sport models come with Fiat’s Blue&Me hands-free and USB audio system. Company buyers should steer clear of the entry-level petrol - with emissions of 146g/km, it’s the dirtiest car in the range. The more powerful MultiAir is cleaner and promises lower fuel bills, despite the extra power. The entry-level 1.6 Multijet diesel emits 119g/km and is the cleanest Fiat Bravo, but opting for the automatic 120 version only adds an extra 1g/km, making it a cost effective upgrade for company car drivers. All Fiat dealers operate a menu pricing deal that guarantees costs and charges.