Fiat Bravo Eco

Fiat joins gets eco-friendly with ultra-efficient version of its Bravo family hatch.

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

The latest Bravo shows what the modern ‘eco’ car is capable of. There’s a good dose of power available whenever you need it, the handling has not been compromised in any way and official figures of 62.8mpg and 119g/km bring big savings in fuel bills and road tax as soon as you leave the showroom. The styling is also attractive, and the comfortable, spacious cabin is the finishing touch on a thoroughly tempting package.

So-called eco cars are filling up our roads just as fast as showroom forecourts! And here’s the latest from Fiat – a green Bravo, based on the 1.6-litre Multijet diesel.

Two versions of the new Eco will be available: an entry-level model based on Active spec which starts from £14,150, and a Dynamic flagship trim priced at £15,150.

We drove the latter, which has air-conditioning, electric windows and remote central locking. Standard kit also includes Fiat’s Blue&Me hands-free phone and MP3 player system, plus 16-inch alloy wheels. The model is aimed at the likes of the VW Golf Bluemotion, and claims fuel economy of 62.8mpg and CO2 emissions of 119g/km – so buyers not only cut their fuel bills by choosing this car, but also pay £35 a year in road tax.

To achieve these figures, Fiat has improved the car’s aerodynamics, fitted tyres with a lower rolling resistance and lengthened the ratios of the six-speed gearbox. Engineers have been busy under the bonnet, too.

The Multijet diesel engine delivers 105bhp, as well as a healthy 290Nm of torque from 2,000rpm. As a result, on the road the car has plenty of urge even low down in the rev range. The Bravo isn’t especially quick in the benchmark sprint from 0-62mph, recording a time of 11.3 seconds. But the generous torque output always gives you the impression that you’ve got plenty of power on tap.

High-speed refinement is another strong point. Not only is the new powerplant quieter than before, but the six-speed manual helps to keep engine speeds low, too.

All-round visibility is superb, while the driver’s seat has a wide range of height and lumbar adjustment. As a result, it’s easy to find a good position, and long distances are completed in reasonable comfort.

While the steering is a bit too light and short on feedback, it’s precise enough. And besides, the well balanced chassis compensates for this. What’s more, the new low-rolling resistance tyres provide a surprising amount of grip, even on rain-soaked roads.

Adding to the sense of security is the standard safety equipment tally, which features six airbags (including window bags) and anti-lock brakes. Stability control is available as an option, and this package incorporates a hill start function that holds the car momentarily when pulling away on steep inclines.

But what will make the Fiat such a pleasure to own, as well as drive, is the fuss-free design and engineering. You don’t have to select a mode with a special dashboard button or adjust your driving style if you want to tap into the significant improvements in efficiency, as the changes have been largely hidden away from the driver, under the skin.

The Bravo Eco retains the core appeal of the standard hatchback. It’s still good to look at and entertaining to drive, but is now kinder to the environment, lighter on your pocket and easier on your conscience.

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