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Fiat Linea Hatchback Review & Test Drive


Fiat Linea Overview

Ah, the Linea! A nice concoction of solid build, clean design and a potent motor. I’m glad that Fiat hasn’t messed about with the first two ingredients of the recipe, and, slightly kicked that there’s more poke from the already powerful motor. It’s called the 125 S because the 1.4-litre turbocharged T-JET motor develops 125PS of power. Yes, it’s the same engine you’d find under the hood of a Punto Abarth, with a lower map and a different turbo. However, unlike the bonkers Abarth, this one is meant for a family man who appreciates bits like boot space and legroom.

Fiat Linea Style

The Linea’s design has always been inoffensive. When it first debuted in 2009, it was greeted with a lot of oohs and aahs. But now, a full seven years later, the age is beginning to show. It did get a facelift in 2014 that included a new set of bumpers, a redesigned boot lid and dollops of chrome here and there. The 125 S carries the exact same design, save for a 125 S badge slapped onto the boot. Notably, Fiat displayed a gorgeous blue Linea 125 S with black wheels at the 2016 Auto Expo. Sadly, the production-spec version sticks to (rather boring) conventional shades instead. How we wish the Linea wore a bright red shade or even the loud yellow a la Palio S10. You see, if you tag a car as the “performance version” it better look the part. Of course, some do prefer sleepers, but that’s a different story for a different day.Check for Fiat Linea  price in Chennai at Tryaldrive.

Fiat Linea Space

The Linea 125 S is very similar to its lesser-powered sibling on the inside, with the exception of a new touchscreen for the infotainment system, replete with navigation and Bluetooth connectivity.The dashboard is attractive in design, with a large swath of soft-touch plastic sandwiched between hard, scratchy plastics. The touchscreen is quite tiny, though it is easy to use and features high-definition display. The only grouse is the positioning of the unit itself which is a bit low requiring you to take your gaze quite far off from the road.

One of the Linea’s biggest problems has not been rectified with the 125 S – the poor driver-seating position. The steering wheel juts out too much and the long-travel clutch and other pedals are located too far away, compelling you into a stretched out position. The front seats, however, are large and comfortable. The rear is not the most spacious in the segment, and headroom is particularly tight, and while the seat is generally comfortable, the seatback is a bit flat.The equipment list is still strong, with navigation, automatic headlights, auto AC and rain-sensing wipers, to name a few. The remote-operable boot is a roomy 500 litres, though access to it is restricted by a narrow and high loading lip.

Fiat Linea Gearbox

But Fiat never intended this car to be a chauffeur-driven vehicle. Agreed, there are folks who do that, but think about it – it’s like buying an Xbox 360 for your household to play around and you sit around and look at them. This Fiat begs to be driven. The clutch isn’t very heavy but gets tiring because it is quite long and has a sharp biting point. The gearbox? You will either love it or hate it. I didn’t have any issues with the TA65 box, which does duty on other Fiat products and a few Tata ones as well. It does feel quite rubbery and doesn’t like to be hurried through, but you will quickly learn to work around it as I did. Get past all this and you will realise that the Fiat Linea 125 S is one fast car. It has considerable torque steer – step on the gas hard and the car wants to pull to either side as it struggles for traction instead of trying to go in the direction pointed. However, this is on a lower scale than the 15PS more powerful Avventura Abarth. The gearing pattern is on the longer side, and trust me, you will enjoy pulling her to the redline in every gear. I saw 95kmph in second gear with the motor uttering a mild roar at this point.

Interestingly, the 125 S feels faster than it actually is. For example, you feel like you are at 130kmph when the speedo is actually hovering at around 90kmph. The top speed we recorded was about 190kmph on the clocks with a little more to go. How does she feel compared to the now discontinued 114PS Linea T-Jet? To be honest, I hadn’t driven the older car but for a perspective, I made Rishaad drive the Linea 125 S. He said that this felt a smidgen faster though the feel was the same from both the cars.

This reflects in the acceleration numbers 0-100kmph in 10.4s compared to the T-Jet’s 11.08s. Like the Abarth siblings, the 125 S struggles to set a quick 0-100kmph time because of huge and wasteful wheelspin in first gear. A 0-100kmph number is not fully indicative of this car’s performance because it has a very strong midrange, upwards of 2,000rpm and feels faster than any other segment rivals. But all this comes at the expense of fuel efficiency. Fiat claims 14.2kmpl but don’t hold your breath. The best we could get was 8.3kmpl in the city and 13.1kmpl on the highway. In our three days with the car, I saw an all time low efficiency of 5.1kmpl on the display. Alarming indeed and wallet busting too!

But again, you will not buy an Abarth or T-Jet for the fuel efficiency. She delivers on the thrills point. While being a total sleeper, she will be a pleasant surprise to other Linea owners when you go like a banshee. She can cruise effortlessly on the highway with 100kmph being held at 2,300rpm. In traffic though you have to slip the clutch a bit to avoid stalling her, something I learnt the hard way.The 125PS/210Nm 1.4-litre turbopetrol motor is the same from the old Linea T-Jet, but in a higher state of tune. There is turbolag but it’s bearable. The best part is the sharp all-disc brake set-up. Considering the zingy performance for a sub-Rs 12 lakh sedan, the Fiat Linea 125 S can shed speeds rapidly and confidently. In traffic, the sharp brakes (discs all around) take some time getting used to.For more details on Fiat Linea check Tony-allen

Fiat Linea Riding

Low-speed ride is a strong point with the Fiat. The well-tuned suspension does just enough to not upset the cabin when bad roads raise their ugly heads. Moreover, the healthy 190mm of ground clearance gives you that extra bit of confidence whilst tackling broken terrain. The flipside is that the soft suspension tends to make the ride slightly ‘floaty’ once you move into triple-digit speeds. We’re sure a set of stiffer springs will make the Linea a lot more fun, especially around a set of twisties.

The steering is heavier than you’d expect and will make parking a chore. That said, it knows what the 205 section tyres are up to, and it tells you exactly that. Grip from the stock tyres is just about acceptable, but, we don’t see them lasting too long if you keep slamming the throttle in first. The tyres, along with the disc brakes do a swell job of getting the 125 S to a dead halt. The brakes bite in sharply (a bit too sharply if I may add) for very little pedal travel. This, too, gets a bit of getting used to.

Fiat Linea Safety

Braking and safety, both these aspects have been looked well by Fiat in Linea. The halting of front wheels is supported by disc brakes while the rear wheels have been awarded with drum brakes. The larger diameter of disc brakes allows instantaneous deceleration of car while the safety aspect in sudden braking is looked into by Anti Lock braking System (ABS) and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) system that distributes braking force equally to all four wheels preventing sliding and squealing of tyres. Other measures taken to ensure safety of its passengers include an Anti-theft engine immobilizer, Fire Prevention System (FPS), 3 safety headrests, programmable speed limit that helps controlling speed of the car, digital door open indicator, power steering, and double crank prevention system.

Fiat Linea Cost in Chennai

Fiat Linea On Road Price is 8,40,567/- and Ex-showroom Price is 7,14,624/- in Chennai. Fiat Linea comes in 5 colours, namely Magnesio Grey,Sunbeam Gold,Tuscan Wine,Hip Hop Black,Minimal Grey. Fiat Linea comes with FWD with 1368 CC Displacement and 4 Cylinders with Maximum Power 112 bhp@5000 rpm and Peak Torque 207 Nm@2200 rpm DRIVE TRAIN FWD and reaches 100 KMPH at N/A . Fiat Linea comes with Manual Transmission with FWD .

Fiat Linea Final Thought

Fiat doesn’t intend to sell huge volumes with the new Linea 125 S. In fact, we wonder how many cars Fiat plans to sell at all, considering that the brand has not had a single functioning showroom in Mumbai (of all places!) for well over a year now. Nevertheless, 125 S is a decently specced car but doesn’t offer anything staggeringly new over the competition, apart from some added performance and a subsequent loss in efficiency.

It will be a niche car which will likely be brought by an enthusiast or an existing Fiat owner. It though remains to be seen how it will fare against the Volkswagen Vento TSI in terms of performance. But let’s reserve that for later. The talking point of this car then remains its timeless form, that enthusiastic motor and sharp handling. Just like its Abarth siblings then.


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