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Old 15th May 2017, 09:38   #3016
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I should have written an initial ownership review, and since I hadn't I thought it was high time I put down my thoughts on life with a Fiat Linea T-Jet after 36 months of blissful ownership and about 17,500 km on the clock. In a way a it's probably a good thing I didn't write one right away because I have learnt to admire it's good points and live with it's bad points.

Please understand that anything penned are my thoughts, and mine only and are not intended to hurt anyone's feelings. At the end of the day we are only talking about a car, and I hope people take it in the correct spirit.

History

I really wasn't planning to get a new car but my 2000 Baleno with 1,25,000 on the clock was beginning to show signs of old age. The drive-shafts had packed up on a long drive to Coorg, and had to be replaced, Steering rack had to be replaced because the rack had play, Door beadings were showing signs of needing replacement, and all theses SGP parts were frightfully expensive. So when I weighed the cost of parts to replace in the future vs the resale value of the car I found it wasn't the smartest move to retain it. Don't get me wrong, the Baleno was a superb car and with the modifications I had done to the engine, and suspension It was a dream to drive in town and on the highway and I was having a hard time thinking of giving her up. So while I hung on to my 'girl' I started taking not so serious test drives of some of the worthy replacements when I had the time. These test drives were over a 4 to 6 month period so pardon me if I don't remember all the details fully.
Fiat Linea T-Jet : Test Drive & Review-baleno.jpg

Between 2 cars and 2 bikes in the family my usage isn't that much and works out to about 6,000-8,000 per year/vehicle so diesel didn't really make sense (the Linea has done 17,500 km since I have had it).

What I like in a Car

I find that on TeamBHP we seem to have owners who broadly fall into two categories :

1. People who prefer features to driving dynamics
2. People who prefer driving dynamics to features

I fall into the second category, meaning I will happily sacrifice niceties like stop-start, sunroof, keyless, etc. for power, steering feel, ride, handling, etc. It's not that I don't need creature comforts. Give me an AC, good music system, decent ergonomics, and good lights and I am good to go. I find that when I am driving I really don't focus on anything else but the road and I really don't fiddle with non-essential controls once on the move. My Baleno fitted the bill perfectly and with use I had got 'comfortable' with her strong points which were mainly driver oriented, and so with my requirements for strong dynamics I really didn't know what to expect on the test drive with the modern lot of cars in the market.

The Contenders (apologies : these drives are 3+ years old)

1. VW Vento diesel
I remember just dropping in to Palace Cross VW between meetings and checking out the diesel Vento. The showroom experience was so poor I was actually going to walk out before the test drive (they couldn't locate the car key for a start !!). But I hung around and test drove the Highline version.
You just cannot fault the visual fit and finish inside and out. The look and feel of the plastics and the switches/stalks were superb compared to the Baleno.
Found a comfy driving position easily, started the engine and was greeted with a loud clatter. I expected the diesel to be noisier than the Baleno but not that clattery. Anyway, I took off and immediately noticed that the clutch pedal was pulsing. Asked the sales advisor if that was normal and he said yes!!! (you see why I said the experience was bad). Took it around the block and found that my Baleno had better bottom end torque for city driving, plus I just found the steering way too light compared to the HPS of the Baleno (this was a major problem on every subsequent TD until the T-Jet). My gut told me that this wasn't the car for me.

p.s.: I realized then and there that a diesel wasn't going to be my cup of tea and I should just stick to petrol's
2. Hyundai Verna 1.6 SX
I don't remember much about the Verna drive, but do remember that it had a nice smooth engine with bottom end torque that matched my Baleno but again came with what I thought was an over-servoed steering. I looked, but really couldn't fault the fit and finish of the interiors, but the thing that scared me was the soft rear suspension that bottomed when I drove it quickly over a patchy road with undulations. I will say one thing though, for a small showroom on the outer ring road that has since closed the staff was extremely courteous and the sales person knew about the product.
3. Duster 110
I decided to go try my luck with the Duster from the newly opened Trident showroom on the outer ring road. Much nicer sounding diesel than the Vento, lovely ride and genuinely fun car to drive but a diesel, too expensive for what I was getting, and I didn't really want an SUV. Ok, I'll admit, the plastic quality and feel of the switches/stalks were a turn off. They didn't have a petrol TD vehicle at that time so didn't pursue it. Again, an excellent knowledgeable sales person attended to me.
4. Skoda Rapid
TD never happened. Made several appointments with Skoda Tafe.
I was Promised that a car would come home, never did. Decided to delete from contenders list.
5. VW Jetta Diesel
I knew it was way, way out of my budget but decided to go try it with the better half. This is one diesel I would have bought if I had the money and my wife agreed.
6. VW Polo Tsi
Somewhere along the line I also test drove the Tsi. I actually wanted to try the Vento Tsi, so this time decided to try my luck at VW Whitefield but was told that they don't have the Vento Tsi for a TD, but please try the Polo Tsi it's exactly the same !!! Didn't wan't to end up having a fit so headed off for a TD. Have to say that the Tsi is a nice little package with a lovely engine/gearbox combo but I didn't want an automatic. A few flies in the ointment; I could get the gearbox to shudder at crawl speeds which was very unnerving, the steering again was too light for me, and the infamous DSG issues was a Damocles Sword. I will say that the car can move, but I got no real pleasure just stomping on the accelerator.
By now I had realized that any contender I was going to look at was going to cost me 12+ very large lakhs based on the estimates I was getting from the showrooms which made me gulp.

7 Fiat Linea T-Jet
This happened purely by accident, since by then even the stray cattle knew of Fiat's 'stellar' reputation in the market. Everyone and everything was cursing the Fiat-TATA tie up and what it was doing to After Sales Service. A friend had recently bought the Diesel, and though he just loved the car for how it drove he couldn't stop cursing the Service bit. He actually became so frustrated that he ignored the warranty and started giving it to a FNG for service. So Fiat actually started out being a -10 in my books.

Within friends I mentioned I was looking to upgrade the car, and sure enough a very dear friend mentioned a 'Dr.' owned Linea diesel for sale, hardly run, beautifully maintained, and Cheap. I balked, but said might as well try it out. To my good fortune (I truly believe that) the car got sold before I could see it. But it did get me doing research on the diesel version, which led me to articles on the T-Jet, a car I had never even considered looking at. The more I read about the Jet the more impressed I became because it seemed to tick all the boxes that I wanted.

Called the nearest showroom which was KHT Fiat, and they immediately sent a car to the office for a TD. Made myself as comfortable as I could (first time was bit of a handful for me) and took off. This next bit is a bit tough to explain, because the feeling was instinctive. I just knew that this was the only car that would be a worthy successor to my 'girl' and I should stop looking. I loved the steering feel (HPS), I loved the way it put down its power (112 bhp and 207 NM of torque, best in class), and I loved the brakes (4 wheel discs). I was so engrossed so engrossed by the above 3 attributes, that the ride, handling, etc. just didn't register for a bit.

It was only later that I came to appreciate how unflappable the car is on choppy roads, and that gives you a huge confidence boost when driving quickly.

To cut a long story short, I mulled over it for a week and then with great trepidation decided to involve the better half on this major decision of mine. Breaking the news about the seriousness of this change was a tricky affair since it was actually her car (in her name), and she and the daughter were partial to the Baleno. Managed to convince her to come to the showroom and take a test drive of both the Linea's. The wife hated the MJD but loved the Jet, and this is from the back seat. Get back to the showroom and the wife says this is the one, when are we buying it.

My jaw dropped.

We discussed her bombshell later on at home, and her logic actually made sense. I love driving and she knows it, and since I did most of the driving in the family we might as well buy something that I would be happy driving. Luckily the Jet ticked all the right boxes for her as well, Price and overall refinement being the main ones. She had also figured out that we were spending way too much on keeping the Baleno ship shape and it wasn't making sense.

I must mention the attention I got from KHT. It's not that they pampered us, but they treated us with respect and gave us the space and time to make a decision without feeling pressured. I value that more than anything else. The sales adviser did make one recommendation which my family is grateful for, which was to get the top of the line Emotion version rather than the one lower option for a relatively small increase in price. The biggest gain for me personally were the 16" rims which I certainly think helps with the handling. The leather was a nice bonus, but the rest of the goodies I hardly use.

When we got her home
Name:  TJet Puja.JPG
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I did try the new Honda City, but that was after I bought the Linea. Stupid I know, but wanted to know if I had made a mistake. I hadn't. Don't get me wrong, It's not that I hate Honda's it's just that I feel they have gone so far astray from the core values that made them great like the original VTEC for example. I could happily live with a new Honda which has the DNA of the VTEC, but they don't make that car in India. My uncle has one of the first 1.5L City's, must be close to 15 years old but he loves it to bits and refuses to upgrade to a newer model.

The Price

The Jet was one of the first of the updated versions to come out in 2014, so we really didn't get much of a discount but we did get the 3+2 year extended warranty and first year insurance free from Future Genarali. The OR price came to 11.2L which for one was under my budget, and two I thought was incredibly good value for money (it still is according to me).

With the money saved I went ahead and splurged on a set of Hankook Ventus V12 tyres and upgraded the speakers to Infinity Kappa's along with an amp and the requisite sound damping and life couldn't have been better. The Hankooks are summer tyres and were the cheapest option of the three I had considered. The other two being Michelin and Continental. After having used them for 3 years I know that my next set is going to another one of these, no questions asked. The V12's are quiet, have great grip and most importantly greatly improve brake feel from the stock Goodyears that were on my car when bought. I can't tell you what a difference good tyres make to the overall feel and comfort of a car and for me is one of the best investments I made.

A close up of the Hankooks
Name:  TJet 011.jpg
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The stock Linea lights are not bad but since I was used to 90/100 's on my Baleno I upgraded. HID's in my lows and fogs. Before anyone lamb blasts me, I drive only with the fogs in the city and they are angled down. Projectors for the lows are in the pipeline.

Other Mods

Ok, I admit I just can't keep a car stock so about 3 months down the line I read about ECU remaps, did my share of google searches and decided to find out more about Wolfs newly launched switchable remaps (I wanted the option of putting it back to stock for servicing). Rajiv was very helpful and instead of trying to explain his maps went a step further and on a trip to Bangalore came with a remapped ECU, fitted it in my car and said go for a drive. I did, and was sold. All thought of warranty implications just flew out the window with that one short drive. Life got a whole lot better, and I wanted that map.

Rajiv tried to remap my ECU but he had an issue since the new T-Jets came with a modified map from the company and he had problems downloading his files. So he took my ECU and left the test ECU in my car for 3 months until he had cracked the new ECU. He has since come and updated the maps to his latest versions which is stock + 3 maps. Since I have settled on Map-2 for all driving after much experimentation I will be commenting only on that one map. I just go by seat of pant's feel, but if you want numbers with the remap the car is supposed to be 140 bhp and 240 Nm of torque. All I can say is that the car accelerates quickly, and is fast enough for my requirements, which makes me a very satisfied customer.

Map 0 : Stock
Map 1 : For city Driving. I don't find much change from stock
Map 2 : Great low end, and smoother sounding engine. The engine tone actually changes.
Map 3 : Works on 97 RON. Have to try it on a highway run but more than satisfied with Map-2 to bother about it right now

Remap vs Stock
  • Torque builds much quicker than stock. The car will pull in 5th from 1200 RPM cleanly without any strain. I usually shift up at around 1800-2000 RPM in the city. This is before the turbo really spools up.
  • The car revs much faster than stock, but the power band seems to be about the same maybe 500 RPM more (2000 to 4500 RPM stock, 1800 to 5000 Map-2)
  • I consistently get about 10.2-10.4 km/l for city driving. Its tough to keep a light foot on the highway but I average about 12.0-13.0 km/l. Stock was about the same
  • Midrange is where all the fun is, and the remap just makes it a little easier to pass slower moving traffic without shifting down. 5th will pull you through most times
  • Low and midrange torque is enough to happily trundle up Sigur ghat in 2nd almost the whole way with 3 on board. Haven't tried it in stock but know it wont be able to take the hairpins in 2nd

In addition I also have a K&N filter which I don't think really improves performance, but use it since I have it.

About 6 months back I went and test drove the Jetta 1.4 Tsi just to get a sense of how it compares to the Jet. The bottom end of a stock Jet will trounce the 1.4 Tsi, forget my remapped version. The midrange is probably the same, and since this was a spin in the city couldn't try the top end. The Jetta's low speed ride was much better (no roll), the brakes were slightly better, and the steering was lighter. In terms of engine noise inside the cabin while accelerating, both were about the same. The materials, fit and finish of the Jetta was in a different league but should be considering it costs almost twice as much as the T-Jet.

Other Things I like
  • HPS: The hydraulic steering has nice weight and feel at low speeds and it just stays nice and consistent as you build up speed. I'm not fond of finger twirling steering's, and every other steering save the Duster's felt very light in comparison. I don't know if it's a steering issue, but I sometimes do get some kickback when going slowly over a rutted surface.
  • The ride and handling at highway speeds is incredibly composed. It actually gets better the faster you drive it and it urges you to drive faster, but I still feel that the ride/handling in my Baleno with a stiffer suspension and 15" rims was better
  • The brakes: The brakes were always good, nice and progressive with a nice bite if you stomp hard, but the grippy Hankooks just makes them feel better in every way
  • I love the high seating position. Being on the wrong side of 50 I find it much easier to get in and out. I went for a drive in a friends new C200 and had real trouble getting in and out of the passenger seat
  • No squeaks and rattles as yet. Plastics don't have the same kind of premium look as say the Vento or Verna but the material is very hardy
  • Switches and Stalks had a nice hefty feel when new and continue to do so
  • I love the grey meters. It just reminds me so much of the Smith dials in my dads amby
  • Minimal engine noise even under hard acceleration. The car just feels so refined and even more so after shifting over to synthetic oil. If you add in the sound damping and the quiet tyres this car is built to cruise
  • My daughter and cousin (he went to sleep going up Sigur Ghat!!) swear by the rear seat comfort. I can't verify this as I have never sat at the back
  • Remote opening boot is a real boon when shopping. Boot swallows a lot of luggage which I figured out with relief when relatives from abroad came visiting
  • It is a very relaxing car to drive on an everyday basis even in a city like Bangalore. I just don't get stressed when I drive it, and it is 10 times better on the highway
  • ABS and EBD, which I think is a mandatory feature that all cars should have today.

Things I don't Like
  • Looks and finishing of some of the plastics. The door pads and the plastic shroud around the wipers for instance. The guide for the seat belt at the seat end is so thin that in my case it has broken off
    Fiat Linea T-Jet : Test Drive & Review-plastic.jpg
  • Steering wheel doesn't go down far enough as I would like. Yes certain ergonomics are screwed up, but I guess my body has adjusted to whatever it provides and I don't have any trouble adjusting when driving my swift
  • Low speed ride: My car has the raised suspension and at city speeds the car rolls more than it should
  • The steering wheel. The cow that supplied the leather for the steering must have been made of rexine. My hands sweat no mater what season it is
  • Engine Braking: Zilch, nada, zero. It doesn't exist, and I found out the hard way coming down Sigur Ghat

Things that don't bother me
  • The vague gearbox: Honestly, the gearbox isn't all that bad and settles in after about 5k. It's nowhere as slick as the Vento's or the City's but I have never felt the need to curse it. I don't think the Dusters gearbox was any better than the Linea's.
  • Long throw clutch: Yes the travel is long, but at least its progressive which actually helps for city driving
  • Ergonomics: For me it's mainly the steering wheel which won't go down far enough. The seating posture and reach to the steering/gear lever was never an issue for me

Features I have but rarely use
  • Cruise Control: Just can't use it on our roads. I find that I have to concentrate twice as hard when using it
  • Auto Headlamp : Never used
  • Rain Sensing Wipers : I think they are way too sensitive and I really can't figure out what they are doing

Things that did go wrong
  • I found strange white paint patches on the drivers door and front fender after heavy rains or a pressure wash. The issue was found to be moisture somehow going between the clear coat and paint. The problem was escalated to Fiat and it was fixed FOC by respraying the panels.Fiat Linea T-Jet : Test Drive & Review-tjet-wp.jpg
  • Shortly after, a tree fell in our compound and managed to damage the windscreen and the hood of the car. The items were promptly replaced/fixed under warranty through Future Generali.
    Name:  Storm.jpg
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  • On first service I found that several allen key bolts that hold up the hood and hinges for the doors had rusted heads. Offending bolts were painted FOC by Fiat
    Fiat Linea T-Jet : Test Drive & Review-tjet-rust.jpg
  • Drivers side lock malfunctioned about a year into ownership. Was replaced under warranty
Life after the Linea

I have already started thinking about this though I plan to keep this car for as long as FCA allows me to. The only other cars that I think will/may be a worthy upgrade from the Jet will be significantly more expensive than what I paid for the Jet and that is worrying.

If I had to recommend this car to anyone today, I would have to think twice only because it's not being supported by FCA the way it should. Spares and Service could become an issue down the road unless you have the backup of a good FNG, so buying one could end up becoming a very expensive gamble.

Enclosing some of my favorite pics of the Jet
Fiat Linea T-Jet : Test Drive & Review-tjet-exterior.jpg
Fiat Linea T-Jet : Test Drive & Review-tjet-interiors.jpg
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Old 15th May 2017, 09:56   #3017
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Default Re: Fiat Linea T-Jet : Test Drive & Review

Nice review that.

Auto headlamps are a boon to use. Rain sensing wipers, hate them! They just randomly act as if they have a mind of their own. Miss the intermittent speed option.

Been on the fence about the wolf remaps. Car is 3yrs old now and still puts a smile on my face so holding back on the remap.

Enjoy the jet
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Old 16th May 2017, 11:01   #3018
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Default Re: Fiat Linea T-Jet : Test Drive & Review

Hello Guys,

How to upgrade a 2011 Tjet emotion plus with the following updates of new Linea Tjet,

1. Blue & me
2. Suspension set up with increased GC
3. Auto Headlamps
4. Rain sensing
5. Beefed up engine (125PS)
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Old 16th May 2017, 12:46   #3019
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Default Re: Fiat Linea T-Jet : Test Drive & Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by keroo1099 View Post

If I had to recommend this car to anyone today, I would have to think twice only because it's not being supported by FCA the way it should. Spares and Service could become an issue down the road unless you have the backup of a good FNG, so buying one could end up becoming a very expensive gamble.
One of the main reasons people donot bother about Fiat nowadays, including me when I was looking for an upgrade a couple of months back. Brilliant cars with an uncertain future.

Do you still have the Baleno ? I think I saw in near Brookefield few months back. Remember it thanks to the alloys.
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Old 16th May 2017, 14:32   #3020
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarun View Post
Hello Guys,

How to upgrade a 2011 Tjet emotion plus with the following updates of new Linea Tjet,

1. Blue & me
2. Suspension set up with increased GC
3. Auto Headlamps
4. Rain sensing
5. Beefed up engine (125PS)
1. Blue n me not sure if it is different.
2. Suspension you get the GC kit.
3&4 you need new ECU
5. Remap should get you close to that power.
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Old 19th May 2017, 17:41   #3021
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Default Re: Fiat Linea T-Jet : Test Drive & Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Altocumulus View Post
Do you still have the Baleno ? I think I saw in near Brookefield few months back. Remember it thanks to the alloys.
I sold it to a friend's friend, but was told it's running around in Bangalore somewhere. Thanks.
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Old 20th May 2017, 10:25   #3022
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Default Re: Fiat Linea T-Jet : Test Drive & Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarun View Post
Hello Guys,

How to upgrade a 2011 Tjet emotion plus with the following updates of new Linea Tjet,

1. Blue & me
2. Suspension set up with increased GC
3. Auto Headlamps
4. Rain sensing
5. Beefed up engine (125PS)
Rethink on your last wish. The 125S tends to stall, has very poor low end(just when you take off) compared to 114ps version.
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Old 20th May 2017, 10:29   #3023
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Default Re: Fiat Linea T-Jet : Test Drive & Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarun View Post
Hello Guys,

How to upgrade a 2011 Tjet emotion plus with the following updates of new Linea Tjet,

1. Blue & me
2. Suspension set up with increased GC
3. Auto Headlamps
4. Rain sensing
5. Beefed up engine (125PS)
If you value handling and dynamics don't go for the suspension mod. My punto suspension was replaced with increased gc one and it ruined the once beautiful handling and ride . My car is now in the workshop , replacing with the older lower pre 2012 suspension
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Old 24th July 2017, 14:33   #3024
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Default Re: Fiat Linea T-Jet : Test Drive & Review

The MID in my car is showing junk characters. Sometimes mix of English and some other language and some junk characters. Sometimes, it show proper English.
Has anyone faced similar issue? If yes how was it resolved?

There is also a sound coming from front suspension when going over undulations/bumps etc. This sounds has a habit of vanishing when I take it to A.S.S. It happened twice. Otherwise it's very regular. KHT diagnosed twice but did not find anything wrong. Any idea what could be the reason?
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Old 24th July 2017, 17:05   #3025
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Default Re: Fiat Linea T-Jet : Test Drive & Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by amit1agrawal View Post
The MID in my car is showing junk characters. Sometimes mix of English and some other language and some junk characters. Sometimes, it show proper English.
Has anyone faced similar issue? If yes how was it resolved?
How old is your battery? This could be signs of the battery on the way out.
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Old 24th July 2017, 19:16   #3026
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Default Re: Fiat Linea T-Jet : Test Drive & Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by hiren.mistry View Post
How old is your battery? This could be signs of the battery on the way out.
Battery is about 2 years old. It does not show any signs of aging but anyhow I will get it checked.
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Old 1st August 2017, 12:57   #3027
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Default Re: Fiat Linea T-Jet : Test Drive & Review

Is there any chance of T-Jet getting an automatic, given that the Compass is getting one ? No harm in trying I feel. Linea is the only car without an automatic verison in it's segment. An autobox can remove two irritants , the gearshift notchiness and the long clutch travel.
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Old 2nd August 2017, 11:27   #3028
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Default Re: Fiat Linea T-Jet : Test Drive & Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Rationalist View Post
Is there any chance of T-Jet getting an automatic, given that the Compass is getting one ?
Looking at the dismal sales numbers for Fiat, I doubt if they will ever plonk an auto box. If they do, it will end up being the AMT and who wants that. As great a car it is, the Linea is an oudated model and we are about the only market where it sells.
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Old 9th September 2017, 13:57   #3029
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Default Re: Fiat Linea T-Jet : Test Drive & Review

My TJet's tires are developing a circular crack and I am wondering if it is safe to continue to use them on my car. I am using the car only for my city runs and isn't going to see more than 80 kmph speed. There is still adequate thread left on them and they could run for 10k km based on the thread depth. They have run around 25000 km, but they have become a bit hard I believe. Please advise.
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Old 9th September 2017, 14:21   #3030
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ece2k2 View Post
My TJet's tires are developing a circular crack and I am wondering if it is safe to continue to use them on my car. I am using the car only for my city runs and isn't going to see more than 80 kmph speed. There is still adequate thread left on them and they could run for 10k km based on the thread depth. They have run around 25000 km, but they have become a bit hard I believe. Please advise.
Warranty? If not, ask a Michelin dealer to get it inspected from the company and advise. Difficult to say from the pic.
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