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|18th October 2010, 20:50||#1|
Fiat Linea T-Jet : Test Drive & Review
What you'll like:
• Stunning looks & "vault-like" build
• Turbo-charged petrol makes the Linea extremely satisfying to drive
• Best-in-class ride comfort, handling & dynamics package
• Perfectly calibrated & weighted power steering
• A+ braking capability. All-round disc brakes a segment first
• Top level of equipment (including leather seats, Blue&Me, rear air-con and more)
What you won't:
• Long throw, rubbery gear shift is the only fly in the fun-to-drive ointment
• Rear seat is the least spacious from this segment. 5 an impossible fit
• Awkward driving position and ergonomics
• Interior quality, fit & finish still have rough edges
• Niggling issues & irritants (as reported by existing Linea / Punto owners)
• Below average after-sales service quality
NOTE: Click any picture to open a larger higher-resolution version in a new window.
Last edited by GTO : 4th December 2010 at 12:42.
|18th October 2010, 20:50||#2|
The only Fiat I'd slap our Got BHP? sticker on:
T-Jet has the potential to change your perspective of the Linea:
For all its handling & dynamics, the regular N/A (naturally-aspirated) 89 BHP Linea 1.4 was quite a dud on the open road. It simply lacked outright power and was the C segment slouch. Fiat knows that the Linea lost many a potential customer, due to its lack of punch.
Enter the turbo-charged petrol with 113 BHP and diesel-like 207 Nm of torque. This T-Jet engine has two main objectives; to make the Linea an enthusiast's car (more on that in the driving report) and second, to move up the C segment ladder. From the time of the Linea's launch, the car has maintained an average of about 1,000 monthly sales. 40% of the C segment exists in the sub-8 lakh rupee segment, and another 40% in the 8 – 9.5 lakh stratum. The older Lineas were part of the former, while the T-Jet aims to attract some 9 lakh rupee customers. The T-Jet also widens the Linea's appeal to now include those desiring performance & a fun-to-drive car. Until very recently, there was only one 9 lakh rupee C segment sedan you could buy = The Honda City. The Volkswagen Vento entered the ring in August 2010, while the Linea T-Jet did earlier this month. Price wise, Fiat goes head to head with Honda & VW. It's noteworthy to mention that, while Fiat may have the product, it simply doesn't possess the brand value of its competitors. Indeed, Fiat carries a lot of baggage from the olden days.
The differential value over the regular N/A 1.4 Linea is positive. For a 1.3 lakh rupee premium, you get a turbo-charger (most important), rear disc brakes, 16 inch alloy wheels with thicker 205 mm tyres and leather seats. Don't miss the fact that the T-Jet is more expensive than its diesel sibling too, a rare occurrence and something the general car buyer will not take kindly to.
It’s a well known fact that the Linea is a Punto with a boot (or vice versa). In order to give the sedan its own identity, the Linea doesn’t share a single body panel with its hatchback sibling. Enough has been said on the forum about the styling, so I won’t stress too much on this area. Suffice to say, the Linea looks substantial and fights with the Vento (my other favourite) for the C-segment beauty crown. Panel gaps are more or less consistent, though some are larger than expected. Look closely and you’ll easily spot a rough edge or misaligned panel (refer to pictures below). The 205/55 R16 tyres do give the Linea a particularly planted stance. Build quality is solid, and the car feels sturdier than most of its Asian competition. In fact, the Linea feels like a "tijori" even when compared to the Vento.
The level of standard equipment is a Linea USP. The T-Jet Plus variant is kitted with dual front airbags, ABS + EBD brakes, leather seats, steering-mounted audio & phone controls, height-adjustable driver seat, height-adjustable driver armrest, climate control, MP3 / CD audio system with "Blue&Me" and USB input, rear air-con vents, a collapsible curtain for the rear windscreen, electric mirrors, foldable key with boot release button and 16" alloy wheels. A telescopic steering and stereo AUX input are conspicuous by their absence.
C Pillar looks nice & coupe-like from the outside; however, it kills the headroom at the back:
Stunning headlamp design. Low beam poor, high beam just okay. Bulb upgrade recommended:
Fog lamps aren't merely cosmetic. Their powerful lateral spread greatly helps in unfamiliar territory:
There’s a fair amount of muscle coming from the beefed up wheel arches:
Notice the irregular alignment at the A-Pillar base. About time Fiat figured this out, don't you think?
Even the way in which the wing mirrors are mounted exudes style:
These "flap type" door handles went out of fashion a decade back. Instead, the Linea ought to wear the "pull type" grab handles that are commonplace with modern cars. This is the front LHS door handle sans a keyhole:
I much prefer the concealed exhaust effect of the regular Linea, compared to the T-Jet's tip that looks like an after-thought. Also, the exhaust tip is hanging too low:
Face to face with a regular Linea. Observe how the T-Jet's 16 inch alloys fill up the wheel well so much better:
205/55 R16 tyres are meat! Actually the exact size that the Mercedes C-Class & BMW 3 series come equipped with:
Our market loves chrome! These chrome strips also protect paint from chipping off the bumper corners. Those who park in congested lots will know what I'm talking about:
At this moment, the Linea has 4 on-board with a trunk full of luggage. Firm suspension means the car doesn't sag too much:
Instead of Made in India, the chassis plate reads Made for your favourite highway:
Last edited by GTO : 25th October 2010 at 15:08.
|18th October 2010, 20:52||#3|
The doors open / shut in three stages (typical of European cars) and closing them results in an immensely satisfying thud. Even the way that the heavy boot lid shuts makes me believe that Fiat sources its steel from bank vault manufacturers. The Linea is a fairly low slung car, thus you have to sit "down" inside. Elderly persons, please make note. Also, my 5’ 6” lady passenger frequently banged her head against the curvy roof when getting into the rear (not once, but several times). Fiat has responded to the market’s criticism, and the improved manner in which the interiors are screwed together is immediately obvious. Compared to the 2009 cars, there are hardly any uneven panel gaps, loosely fitted parts or glue sticking out of crevices. NOTE : I didn't gauge much of an improvement in part quality though; the difference is only in the way that they are installed. All plastics are hard, a handful feel crude, but you’d really need to look closely to find something to complain about. Some others were bragging about soft touch plastics. Honestly, I didn’t see (nor expect) any in this car. Overall, the interiors are now acceptable for the segment, and will no longer break any deals. Still, the Vento maintains a distinct advantage in the area.
The black & beige interior shade, with (dark) beige leather seats, looks really tasteful. Leather quality though is run of the mill; it doesn't feel premium at all. The chrome-ringed dials & the awesome instrument console are smashing. The MID has reasonably large fonts, hence you don’t need to strain your eyes to gather information. Of special mention is the meaty steering wheel that has contours to rest your thumbs. This is amongst the best steerings our side of 20 lakh rupees. The steering is tilt adjustable, but I felt that it didn’t tilt low enough (upward adjustment was fine, downward wasn't). The unit is positioned too close to your chest; Fiat should equip the Linea with a reach-adjustable steering, just as VW does the Vento. The height-adjustable center armrest is a swell place to rest your left arm on. The driver seat is height-adjustable as well, thus those with shorter frames need not worry. The driving position itself is strictly average. The Linea is clearly geared for long-armed short-legged Italians. Even after spending 3 days in the car, I just could not arrive at the perfect driving position. The ergonomics are a mixed bag. For instance, the power window controls are placed so far forward (remember...long-armed Italians!) I lose count of the number of times I opened the rear windows, when I actually wanted to roll down the fronts.
For a car that's so large on the outside, cabin room is surprisingly conservative. Space utilization & packaging are not as intelligent as witnessed in Japanese cars. 5 adults is nearly an impossible fit, this car is best for 4 on-board. The cabin isn’t much wide either. The long-travel-range front seats ensure that the driver & co-passenger get sufficient legroom. However, I didn’t think too much of the front seat’s lower back or under-thigh support. Things aren’t bright at the rear. Taller back seat passengers will complain of extremely limited headroom. Leg space is just about adequate, as long as there isn’t someone tall occupying the front seat. Believe me, with my driving position, you will not fit behind. The Honda City as well as the Volkswagen Vento have noticeably more cabin space. On the bright side, the rear bench support is excellent. The backrest is perfectly reclined, while the back & under-thigh support are super. The rear seat nearly feels like a comfortable house couch.
The MID is comprehensive in the data that it throws out. Information includes when the next service is due, distance to empty, average / instant fuel consumption, average speed maintained, travel time, two trip meters and, of course, the date & time. In addition, the "My Car" feature allows you to customise many aspects of the Linea. For example, switching the passenger airbag on / off, the buzzer & beep volumes, whether you want the doors to automatically lock upon driving, a programmable speed limit and so on. The Microsoft-provided Blue&Me system can sync with your mobile phone. You can then make voice-activated commands for phone calls (incoming & outgoing), have your SMS read out and change music tracks too. Your entire phone book can be downloaded by the Linea's Blue&Me system.
Fiat stated that the T-Jet has a beefed up air-con compressor under the hood. I can certainly vouch for that. In 4 hours of driving, from noon – 1600 hours with the sun above, and no sun film, the interiors remained super chilled. The air-conditioner is significantly stronger than the other Lineas that I’ve driven. God bless that rear curtain too, it’s a segment first and did a fantastic job in keeping the harsh sun away from our rear bench occupants.
I’m not at all satisfied with the Linea’s storage solutions. The front cup-holders are too small (Italian espressos anyone?), there isn’t a center glovebox, the ribbed cell phone parking spot below the handbrake is difficult to access (with the handbrake in place) and the door pockets have no bottle holders. The rear door pockets are completely useless. On a positive note, the large boot runs deep and can easily swallow weekend / airport luggage.
Lastly, I do think it’s time Fiat figured out how to keep niggles away. Over the 3 day test-drive, the bonnet lever functioned intermittently (about 1/3rd of the time), the rear left power window started dying out (went up & down painfully slow at times, and got stuck twice), the MID threw out a number-plate light warning alert and a prominent rattle surfaced somewhere from the back.
3-spoke steering is fantastic to use. Integrated phone & audio controls:
Meters have a tinge of retro. Orange backlighting works. Large MID fonts are easy on the eyes:
Audio system sound quality = 5 / 10. USB compatible, but AUX missing. El cheapo OEM speakers start crackling easily:
Rubbery gearshift is nothing to write home about:
Height-adjustable driver's seat:
Height-adjustable driver armrest gets full marks. Great place to rest your left arm on long drives:
Narrow driver footwell, awkward ABC pedals & dead pedal arrangement:
Driver door pad. No bottle holder anywhere in the car. This door would not be out of place in a bank vault:
Uncluttered window & mirror control panel. All 4 windows have one-touch-down function:
How many Fiat technicians does it take to assemble the ignition console properly? Don't know, they aren't there yet:
The door ajar warning actually tells you which door is open. Nifty:
You can access the "My Car" customisation menu from here. It shows up only when the vehicle is stationary. Right most buttons are for the front / rear foglamps, while the row next to it is to adjust the headlamp beam:
T-Jet compressor more powerful than in regular Lineas and it shows. The air-conditioner is an absolute chiller:
I'll give the wing mirrors a 6 / 10 rating. They aren't too wide, while the left ORVM doesn't adjust out as much as I'd like:
Glovebox has decent depth, though not much width. You'll see the Microsoft Blue&Me console here. USB connector is located at the top right, hence you can tuck your iPod away in the glove compartment and away from prying eyes:
The two, small lights throw a warm orange beam over the gear lever area. Looks über cool at night:
Headroom and legroom are at a serious premium. Seat support is excellent:
Single rear air-con vent:
Collapsible rear curtain works like a charm on sunny days. All three neck restraints are adjustable:
Floor hump isn't as tall as in the Vento, but an irritant nevertheless. 5th occupant is not welcome in the Linea:
Air-con vent, placed under the front seat, for the rear passenger's feet:
500 liter boot can swallow weekend luggage. Loading bay is too high. '09 Lineas used to have their tool kit placed in a thermocol cut out. Now, the tools are wrapped up in plastic (blue package at the left):
Last edited by GTO : 25th October 2010 at 15:10.
|18th October 2010, 20:53||#4|
The T-Jet's 1.4 liter turbo-charged engine is rated at 113 BHP (5,000 rpm) and a class-leading 207 Nm of torque (2,200 rpm). This 1,368 cc engine uses the exact same block as the N/A Linea. However, the aluminium head is all new, while the internals are beefed up for the turbo-charger's max boost of 2.2 bar. The power to weight ratio of the regular Linea is a mere 72, while the same for the T-Jet is 91 BHP / Ton. You only need to drive 20 meters to realise this isn't the Linea we've been used to. Bury the accelerator into the floor and you'll see a 0 - 100 time of 11.7 seconds, nearly 4 seconds quicker than the N/A car. There's a sudden spike in power delivery after 2,100 rpms - when the turbo is running at full spool - and the T-Jet actually pushes you back into the seat. I was one of the biggest critics of the Linea 1.4’s lack of power and believe me, the T-Jet completely addresses that. The T-Jet could actually have shaved a full second off the 0 - 100 if it weren't for the 2nd gear topping out at 91 kph. And of course, the fat kerb weight of 1,230 kilos, which is even higher than the diesel Linea! The Honda City is quicker to the 100 (also 130 kilos lighter) as well as to 150, yet the Linea is a whole lot more fun to drive.
I observed a fair amount of turbo-lag below 1,500 rpm. As long as you are above 1,700 rpm, there is sufficient pep for in-city traffic runs. Over 2,000, power delivery is instantaneous. But if you find yourself between 1,000 – 1,500 rpm, you will get bogged down with turbo lag. This will frequently happen in the city and you have only one solution = Downshift! In that sense, yes, you will have to make use of the gearbox. Understand the engine power delivery characteristics and it’s easy to drive around the lag within the city. The 3rd gear is a devastating urban tool, I spent most of my time around the Bandra inlanes using 3rd itself. Even with zero accelerator input in 3rd gear, and just like a diesel, the Linea will chug along effortlessly at 20 kph. Realistically, 3rd gear is good for 30 kph, all the way to 120! Not only does the Linea make the most torque of its petrol competitors (207 Nm versus 146 for the City & 153 for the Vento), it does so at a lowly 2,200 rpms (City's max torque is produced at 4,800 rpm & the Vento at 3,800). Where the Honda & VW need to be revved to access their torque, the Linea gives you a fat chunk as soon as the turbo kicks in.
The T-Jet is reasonably revv-happy for a European petrol, all the way to 5,500 rpms. One fly in the ointment is the motor starting to run out of breath beyond 5,500. This isn’t an engine you would love to work above 6,000; it’s nowhere as “hyper” as the OHC (regular or Vtec) at the red line. Power delivery starts tapering off after 6,000 and there’s really no point in going further. In fact, max power is available at 5,000 rpms itself. The revv limiter kicks in at 6,600. When it does, it does so gently and will slowly lower your rpm to the 6,300 level. Best for you to stick to the 2,000 – 5,500 range which is the most enjoyable (and useable) on the highway. Overtaking is puff cake. The mid-range is punchy and the engine feels immensely tractable. Where the lesser Lineas needed careful planning to overtake that fast moving truck, the T-Jet is point-and-shoot. If you are over 2,000 rpm, there isn’t even a need to downshift. 150 kph is easily attainable, and there’s consistent progress right uptil 180. Fiat's claim of a 186 kph top speed is realistic, though purely academic and on paper in Indian driving conditions.
Keep the throttle pinned on the open road and you’ll hear a sweet turbo whistle. Not loud, you’ll have to pay attention to hear it, yet its audible enough. In the hands of a good driver, this car can make serious progress on a fast highway, if the engine is kept on the boil. Driving on an empty stretch is a thoroughly entertaining experience, especially working through the 3rd, 4th and 5th gears. Cruising at a 100 kph in 5th, the rpm meter hovers at about 2,300 rpm. The engine is completely inaudible, yet you are in the “turbo” range and can raise your speed with a mere tap of the throttle. Watch out for the torque steer though. While it's obviously present in 1st gear, even when you are gunning it in the 2nd or 3rd ratios, a mild tug is felt on the steering wheel. Can you imagine “torque steer” in a Linea, that too with 205 width rubber? Honestly, it took a while to settle in!!
Expect anywhere between 9.3 - 9.8 kpl within the city, depending on how dense the traffic conditions. I managed 13 kpl over a 100 kms highway stretch with a moderately heavy foot. However, after a completely spirited style of driving, it dipped to 8.xx kpl. For the record, the ARAI rating is 14.6 kpl. The T-Jet is way more refined than the regular Linea. In fact, at regular driving speeds, the engine is completely inaudible. Where at high rpms, the N/A 1.4 petrol used to make such a racket, the 1.4 Turbo actually sounds good. The powerplant is audible between 3,500 – 5,000 rpms, but NOT in an unrefined manner at all. NVH levels on the highway are satisfactory and passengers won’t be complaining. It’s only above 5,500 rpms where the T-Jet starts developing a coarse tone. Also note that wind noise is pathetically high. At a mere 90 kph, the wind noise was substantial enough to make me believe I’d left a window slightly open (nope, all were sealed tight).
In addition to the awkward driving position, the gearshift quality will attract complaints from enthusiasts. The throws are fairly long while the shift quality is rubbery too. It’s not a slick, short unit like the Ventos (that one is atleast 3X better). The clutch pedal is fairly light to use and won’t cause grief.
Urban ride quality is still excellent, despite the 16 inch wheels, which is saying a lot. The suspension’s calibration is sheer brilliance, with the T-Jet behaving like a thoroughly mature European sedan. At speed, you won't even need to slow down for broken roads. Best part is, the ride stays completely flat on highways; this factor greatly enhances comfort levels (no unnecessary vertical movement at the rear) for passengers. Of course, the regular Linea with 15 inch wheels is noticeably plusher. For instance, the T-Jet is unable to cushion its occupants from sharp bumps, something the regular Linea does very well. Though the T-Jet rides perceptibly firmer than her 15 inch wheel'ed sister, my rating to the ride quality remains "best in class". I've always maintained that the Linea / Punto sport the best hydraulic steering below 10 lakhs, and things are no different with the T-Jet. In fact, with 16 inch wheels wearing lower profile tyres, turn in is even sharper than the regular car. The steering is firm at 0 kph parking manouveurs, medium-light within the city and weighs in supremely well at speed. Feel & accuracy at expressway speeds are so good that I wanted to steal the demo car's steering and frame it up in my bedroom!! Fiat's pure hydraulic steering is an absolute joy to use. The chassis' poise & grip levels around fast sweeping corners are immaculate. Where other cars would be backing off the throttle, you can either hold the same pace or feed in some more accelerator in a completely evil manner. Keep the throttle nailed through that 100 kph corner and the car doesn’t exhibit a hint of nervousness. On the limit, understeer will set in, but its progressive and completely predictable. Highway stability at 150 kph is the best in the segment, with the Linea moving like a tijori-on-wheels. The T-jet gets 5 mm more ground clearance from the larger wheel + tyre combination. With 5 adults + weekend luggage onboard, we scraped only once over an unduly large speed breaker on the 180 kms drive from Dadar -> Nasik. I will reserve comment on this, until owners update us with their longer-term experiences.
The T-Jet's brakes are hugely confidence inspiring. The stopping capability is stunning, you can always push that little bit more & brake late, knowing that the all-round 4 disc brakes will keep you safe. To me, it’s very important for a car to have good brakes and I consider this as a competitive advantage for the Linea. The turning radius of 5.6 meters is larger than all of its competitors; prepare for frequent 3-point turns in your city. The large turning radius, coupled with a firm steering, sub-1,500 rpm turbo-lag and gearshift quality don't make for effortless city driving.
This is the car the Linea should have been from day one of its Indian launch. The T-Jet proves you don't need to spend a lot of money to have a whole lot of fun. Looking for a petrol driver’s machine under 10 lakh rupees? Your search ends here.
Last edited by GTO : 30th October 2015 at 10:06.
|18th October 2010, 20:53||#5|
• I would highly recommend idling the turbo for 45 - 60 seconds, before & after each drive. Take-care-of-your-blower tips on this thread - Turbos and one minute idling (Turbo's and one minute idling).
• T-Jet currently available only in Bombay, NCR (Delhi) & Pune. Peculiar “limited introduction” strategy by Fiat. The engine is fully imported. Perhaps Fiat wants to gauge the initial response before deciding on local assembly.
• Fiat has gone from 77 points-of-sale to 175 in the 2008 – 2010 period. Tata-Fiat showrooms will have a dedicated T-Jet sales area with uniformed hostesses’, coffee et al.
• The turbo’s life completely depends on engine oil. Please do NOT wait until the 15,000 kms service interval for your oil changes. I’d be most comfortable with 7,500 km intervals, even if it's out of pocket. Your turbo (and engine) will love you for it.
• Ripley's believe it or not : The T-Jet (petrol) is 20 kilos heavier than the Linea MJD diesel! Fiat needs to go on a diet. This is the ONLY car I know of, where the petrol variant is heavier than the diesel. Light weight results in superior performance & efficiency.
• The Linea T-Jet will be participating in upcoming editions of the Raid de Himalaya.
• In a very crude way, you can feel the steering rack move against your toes, when you press the clutch fully & turn the steering (at the same time).
• Long 50 month / 150,000 kms warranty. This is the best within the C segment. 24 / 7 roadside assistance too (toll free number : 1800-209-FIAT).
• There will inevitably be some cross-shopping between the Linea T-Jet & Vento Diesel Highline. The latter costs only Rs. 70,000 more, is quicker in a straight line, has a better mid-range, superior driveability (minimal turbo-lag), more interior space, better overall fit & finish, excellent ride & handling and also, cheaper running costs (diesel fuel economy). What the Vento doesn't have is the T-Jet's brilliant steering, outright grip levels, tijori build, equipment level and 6,500 revvs.
• If you are an enthusiast – which you most probably are if you are reading my review – let me tell you this : It is IMPOSSIBLE to drive this car with a light foot. The turbo boost is addictive. Don’t fret over the fuel economy, there’s more to life than kpl. Take the wife for a dinner less or something.
• This is one Fiat you’d really want to soup up : Performance exhaust, intake & remap. Turbo-charged cars are easier to extract power out of. Thanks to the perfect ride & handling, you don’t need any after-market suspension kits. Even the stock brakes are A+.
• Leather quality of the steering & gear lever doesn't feel as good as it did on the 2009 cars. Now, it's dark grey (vis a vis black) and rough to the touch.
• Nice : Once you remove the key from the ignition, its “all systems off”. You don't need to remember to switch the headlamps off.
• When the Linea is idling with both fans running (radiator & air-conditioner), man, its L-O-U-D. On the outside as well as inside. Remember ‘em Palios?
• To further widen the Linea's appeal, Fiat should introduce an automatic gearbox. For the T-Jet and MJD, both. There's a growing number of 10 lakh rupee customers who are inclined toward the convenience of AT, and Fiat does have some great slush boxes internationally.
• Headlamps : Low beam is woefully poor while the high beam spread is strictly average. I’d upgrade the bulbs ASAP if I was a Linea owner.
• Fiat wants you to buckle up. If the driver isn’t wearing a belt, the audible warning isn’t a subtle, intermittent beep. Rather, it’s a screaming non-stop teeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.
• Fiat could have given a taller 2nd gear for quicker 0 - 100 times; however, a taller ratio would also have magnified the turbo-lag and resulted in poor driveability. Fiat's got the gear ratios on this one right.
• Switching from high -> low beam is tricky. I ended up switching the headlamps off, several times! The rotary action is slippery.
• After the T-Jet drive, I jumped into a regular 1.4 Linea for the drive home. By gawd, the N/A Linea felt like a dud after the T-Jet. The experience is incomparable.
• Chew on this for a moment. The T-Jet makes only 2 Nm less torque than the diesel Linea (207 vs 209). How many engines give you diesel-like torque and can revv to 6,000 rpms?
• A short stubby gearshift would have been so much in line with the character of this car.
• "Follow me home" headlamps stay illuminated (programmable time limit) to help you find your path home at night.
• Question : Is Fiat going to license this engine out too (Maruti, Tata etc.) or keep the T-Jet for itself? This engine should inevitably make its way to the Punto.
• It took a while for “fast” and “Linea” to sink in. I wasn’t used to this kind of acceleration & mid-range in a Fiat sedan. Amazing how a turbo-charger can change the way you look at a car.
• Noise from the Good Year rubber was well controlled. They were completely inaudible, even at speed. Wind noise, on the other hand, was pathetically loud.
• The distance to empty is hardly real-time. Say I high-revv the engine for 30 minutes and it shows me a certain value (e.g. 150 kms). I drove easy for the next 15 minutes and it STILL displayed the same number (i.e. 150 kms). The only difference between the two was that, in the latter situation, the number started descending slower. That’s completely inaccurate. The value should have actually increased.
• Further on the steering tilt adjustment not going low enough, with my driving position, I couldn’t even see the MID. The only other car I’ve faced this problem in is the Punto.
• To lock all the doors manually, press the driver door handle (from inside). Additionally, if any of the passenger doors are open, it won’t go in. Good locking solution.
• Highpoint of the highway drive : There’s a spiritedly driven white Linea with a vernacular VIP number plate. Lots of smoke coming out of the exhaust, so it was most probably a diesel + power box. So there is this stretch where he is really gunning it, and I am safely staying 3 car lengths behind at half-throttle for about 5 – 6 kms. Until there was a long empty straight ahead. I downshifted, floored the throttle and disappeared into the distance. He must be wondering what I had under the hood
• Best part about the drive : On Monday morning, I left from Deolali at 0430 hours. The next 2.5 hours is me alone in the car, and alone on the highway. No disturbances inside the car, no traffic outside. Stopping at a dhaba (Kadak chai + Marlboro) after 90 minutes of high-revving = Priceless. Ah, the simpler pleasures of life.
• About Fiat service : What I’ve observed is that, satisfied Fiat owners are those who have only needed regular servicing & maintenance. The service station seems fairly capable of handling these tasks. However, their trouble-shooting skills are all over the place. When Fiats develop complex problems (say, overheating or the air-conditioner not working), that's when owners end up dissatisfied. Fiat should first work on making completely trouble-free cars. Niggles are a given with current Fiats.
• Not a single bottle holder in the entire car. You’ll either have to leave that Bisleri rolling on the floor, or dump it behind in the seatback pocket.
• Watch out for blind spots with the thick A Pillars.
• Starter protection won't allow a careless crank when the engine is already running.
Last edited by GTO : 30th October 2015 at 10:07.
|18th October 2010, 20:53||#6|
The smaller yet significant things:
Foldable key also has a useful boot release button:
Strange, exposed screw hole placed between the A & B Pillars. What gives? EDIT : Mpower says It's for mounting a bike rack or luggage carrier:
Radio reception remains a sore point with the Linea. Even in metropolitan Bombay, the ICE had trouble catching popular radio stations:
One of the many ways in which you can customise the Linea. This is the setting for auto-locking doors:
All of 6 spray jets when you want to wash the windscreen. Incredibly effective:
That's the maximum level that the rear windows can roll down to:
Premium fabric roof lining for the T-Jet. Greatly enhances the ambience inside:
A lateral shot at night:
And a daytime look at the retro instrument console:
Full size spare wheel:
Exhaust tip seems like an after-thought. See the way it protrudes out and below:
"F I A T" neatly embossed on the boot cladding:
Vanity mirror & lights for driver + co passenger, both. Will keep the missus happy:
If ever there was a competition for the cheapest fuel lid release lever...
Yup, mirrors fold the other way too. You won't be looking at fat replacement bills after run-ins with the many two-wheelers on our roads:
Useless rear door pockets. No bottle holder & steep slope for a floor:
Rear armrest also has two cup holders:
Ribbed storage spot for your cell phone. Good luck accessing it with the handbrake in place though:
Poorly fitted plastic panel on the boot inside. Whoever installed it ought to be fired:
Small front cup-holders were designed by an espresso-shot lovin' Italian:
Driver armrest folds open to reveal a cubby hole inside:
Air-con vents feel old & Palio-like. Strange that none of the air-vents have air volume control:
A-Pillar quarter glass is merely cosmetic:
Last edited by GTO : 23rd October 2010 at 14:02.
|18th October 2010, 20:56||#7|
Chief Competitors of the Linea T-Jet
Honda City: (info from the Ownership Reviews)
- Modern styling and design
- Outright engine performance
- Spacious well-designed interiors
- Excellent ride quality
- Honda reliability & durability
- Cheap interior part quality
- Sparse equipment list
- Lacks the quality of outgoing generation
- Below average customer support
Volkswagen Vento: (info from my Vento review)
- A well-built, robust, European sedan
- Clean and contemporary styling. Boot is superbly integrated
- Competitive pricing, especially for a German car
- Stunning diesel engine. New torque king of the C segment
- Mature suspension setup. Balanced ride & handling
- Segment firsts : Reach adjust steering, gear recommender, adjustable driver armrest etc.
- All-rounded nature; Jack of all trades
- 6.99L Trendline (entry) variant is simply too basic. No Comfortline (middle) variant
- Petrol engine isn't as impressive as the diesel. Average low rpm response
- Electric power steering. The Vento deserves a pure hydraulic unit
- Some goodies missing (steering-mounted audio controls, AUX / USB stereo, dead pedal & folding rear seat)
- Thin 47 dealer all-India network. After sales has yet to prove itself
- VW's long-term ownership costs are unknown
|18th October 2010, 21:05||#8|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Oct 2007
Thanked: 1,187 Times
Great report . Was waiting for your report to get a correct understanding of the new beast in the C segment. Truly an amazing car.
- Would suggest to start a new sub-folder and name it as GTO test reports!!!
|18th October 2010, 21:13||#9|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Jun 2007
Thanked: 3,541 Times
finally, finally, finally...Avant garde review! Time for Fiat's turn around?
Last edited by sidindica : 18th October 2010 at 21:15.
|18th October 2010, 21:27||#10|
Join Date: Oct 2006
Thanked: 26 Times
brilliant review as always
love the linea for the cool looks and now with power to match its brilliant handling it makes one hell of a car to own below 10 lacs.
but still feel it wont make much of a differnce to the sales charts as most people would still want to spend 9 lacs on getting the honda city which though sparsely equipped in comparison has a much better brand value and aftersales support.
still its merry times for fiat fans who finally get to buy a fiat that has the power to exploit its brilliant chassis and handling abilities after the palio 1.6
|18th October 2010, 21:32||#11|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Nov 2009
Thanked: 160 Times
Damn, man. That was one hell of a comprehensive review!! Excellent, immaculate and precise!!
And as for one dinner less and more pedal to metal action, expect an army of BHPian wives running after you!!
|18th October 2010, 21:43||#12|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: PCMC, Pune-MH14
Thanked: 3,729 Times
Just a small request. The link to this thread has been given as https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/test-...ve-review.html in the previous thread. Can this be corrected to http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/test-d...ve-review.html so that clicking on that link will directly open the thread
|18th October 2010, 21:45||#13|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Oct 2004
Thanked: 30 Times
Much awaited review has just come in, and what a review!
Fiat finally seems to have ticked in all the right columns, w.r.t the petrol Linea. This is what it should have brought in, in the first place.
Does the absence of the inter-cooler explain 114PS vs the 120PS this car is actually being sold in?
|18th October 2010, 21:45||#14|
Join Date: Jun 2008
Thanked: 15 Times
Now this is what we have been waiting for! Thanks for the very comprehensive review. I was hoping Fiat would correct the tilt steering position - I am sure all Punto and Linea owners keep it at the lowest possible level, its still 2 inches higher than what I would ideally like it to be.
Nice to see Fiat giving an alloy spare, but wouldnt that money be better spent elsewhere?
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