Fiat Bravo

New addition from the Italian firm offers lower fuel costs and emissions.

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

The new 1.6-litre Multijet diesel engine backs up the Italian firm’s plans to be a global leader in green motoring. Both power outputs offer impressive punch, low emissions and brilliant economy. Factor in the Bravo’s slick styling, decent equipment levels and sensible pricing, and you’ve got an enticing prospect. In future, expect to see even more small-capacity turbodiesels – but for now, this Fiat represents an excellent buy.

When it comes to clean and green transport, there’s never been more choice. And if you’re in the market for a frugal, low-emission family car, Volkswagen’s Golf Bluemotion, SEAT’s Leon ECOmotive (driven on Page 30) and Ford’s upcoming Focus ECOnetic should all be on your list.

But there’s another model to add to that line-up – Fiat’s new Bravo 1.6-litre Multijet diesel. And while it doesn’t boast a special ‘green’ badge on its bootlid, it returns figures that are as amazing as its eco-tagged rivals.

Due to go on sale in the UK in March, the new powerplant will be available with either 105bhp or 120bhp – the latter replaces the 1.9-litre diesel of the same output that currently appears in the Bravo range. The flagship 150bhp 1.9-litre unit will continue unchanged.

In standard trim, the 1.6 turbo-diesel emits 129g/km of CO2. But Fiat will also offer a special £300 Eco Pack for the new unit, which results in emissions of only 119g/km.

This will drop annual road tax to £35 and slash business users’ tax bills, too. In addition, it returns an incredible 62.8mpg combined, while longer service intervals will help to reduce maintenance costs by 25 per cent compared to the 1.9-litre.

From behind the wheel, the new engines impress. While the 105bhp unit develops a healthy 290Nm of torque at 1,500rpm, its more beefy 120bhp stablemate puts out 300Nm. Both offer plenty of low-down acceleration and seamless power delivery.

Predictably, the 120bhp version offers more thrust at high speeds, as well as plenty of overtaking ability, accelerating from 50mph to 75mph four seconds faster than the 1.9-litre car which it replaces.

What impresses most, though, is refinement. From start-up, both powerplants are hushed, and thanks to a standard six-speed manual gearbox with extra-long ratios, noise levels are cut by five per cent, resulting in relaxed high-speed cruising. What’s more, the steering is precise, if short on feel, and the ride is comfortable. The Bravo also handles well, if not up to the standard of Ford’s Focus.

As with the exterior, the cabin is full of stylish touches, and standard equipment is generous. While prices have yet to be confirmed, the 105bhp 1.6-litre is expected to cost £13,800, with the Eco Pack-equipped model priced at £14,100. The 120bhp version will weigh in at £14,800. Given the tax savings, the 105bhp Eco Pack variant offers the best deal for private and business drivers.

Overall, the 1.6-litre Multijet marks a significant advance by the Italian manufacturer in its ambitions to become recognised as the world’s most eco-friendly car company.

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