Fiat Bravo Hatchback review
In the face of stiff competition from the Honda Civic and Ford Focus, the Fiat Bravo has gone almost unnoticed. However, that doesn’t mean the capable Italian should be overlooked.
A Maserati inspired front end, an aggressive side profile and traditional Italian curves give the Bravo a dash of style. The Italian backs this up with a fair amount of substance. While it can’t match the VW Golf for fit and finish, the Fiat features tight shut lines and solid build. There’s a simple trim line up, with basic, Active, Dynamic and Sport models offering plenty of kit and competitive prices.
There’s little fault once you’re behind the wheel, although some will find that the driver’s seat too high set. Rear passenger space isn’t great, either, with limited headroom. The entry-level Bravo gets a CD player, remote central locking and front electric windows. Upgrade to the Active for air-con, while the Dynamic gets Bluetooth, MP3 compatibility. cruise and climate control. The Sport gets less luxury kit, but adds ESP and stiffer sports suspension.
Entry-level cars get a 90bhp 1.4-litre petrol motor, but it’s worth spending extra for the punchy TJet turbocharged unit in either 118 or 148bhp tune. Even the lower powered model will sprint from zero to 62mph in 9.6 seconds, while still returning over 40mpg. The 1.9-litre Multijet diesel is also a real gem, delivering smooth and torquey performance and 50.4mpg.
The Bravo majors on comfort, with a supple ride and good sound insulation making it extremely refined on the motorway. Extremely rough surfaces can upset the Fiat’s composure – this is especially true of the stiffly sprung Sport. Turn into a sharp bend and the Italian responds sharply, although the electrically assisted steering lacks weight and feel, reducing driver fun.
Residuals are much improved over the Fiat’s predecessor, with the new car retaining around 39 percent of its value. Service intervals of 18,000 miles also help to take the financial sting out of Bravo ownership. Further cost savings can be made by plumping for one of the Italian firm’s inclusive servicing packages. However, unless you want red paint, you’ll have to dig a little deeper into your pockets – all other colours are extra cost options.
Fiat’s answer to the VW Bluemotion is the Bravo Eco Pack. Using a modified 1.6-litre diesel, the eco-friendly family model returns 62.8mpg and emits 119g/km of CO2. In terms of safety, each Bravo is fitted with ABS with EBD, Isofix, and passenger airbag as standard. Trade up to Active trim and you’ll also get window airbags added to the package.
Our Choice: 1.4 TJet 120 Dynamic