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Old 11th October 2010, 15:55   #1
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Default Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET


Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00003.jpg

Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET

List Price Ex Showroom Delhi (in rupees)
  • T-JET: Rs. 8,55,000
  • T-JET plus: Rs. 8,99,000
Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00030.jpg

What you'll like:
  • jet like acceleration and locomotive like pulling power
  • timeless design
  • interiors a quantum leap ahead in quality
  • improved overall finesse
  • amazing city and highway driveability
  • better ride, handling and braking
  • amazing leather upholstered seats aid comfort
  • segment exclusive features like blue and me, turbocharger in petrol and my car
  • amazing engine growl, refined and sporty
What you won't:
  • questionable price and FE
  • some ergonomic quirks and absence of telescopic steering wheel
  • black interior plastics still leave room for improvement
  • questionable and inconsistent quality of after sales service
Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00031.jpg
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Old 11th October 2010, 16:05   #2
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Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00039.jpg

Some time back, morning.

A call from a GZBD dealer wakes me up.

I am terribly sleepy, exhausted after my cousin's wedding and in a no mood to pick up any call...yet my mom forces...sid, pick up the phone.

Wake up sid. Call from Fiat Dealer.

"Sir, the T-Jet is here."
"OK..but I have driven it sometime back...."
"Sir, this is the final version and you must come and experience it. I am waiting for you."
"I will try."
"OK, will see later."
is my dialogue.

Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00002.jpg

And then I see that my mom is hell bent on not letting me go. She knows about he t-jet and how much I was tom toming the day I first drove it, albeit for a negligible 10 minutes somewhere....
I take a shower, and time to go.
"sid, breakfast?"
Sorry mom, not for the time being...
"Yah ladka kabhi nahi sudhrega. jab dekho gaadiyaan dekhne bhag jaata hai...agar yehi haal hua to pataa nahi kab iski zindagi mein koi ladki aayegi ...."
I know that same ghisa pita shaadi types dialogue, I say, I am single ready to mingle. Don't even talk about any GF for the next 2-3 years at least...and here I go.

I know how big a fiat basher I am, always keep talking about the same ghisa pita dialogue like interiors are bad and after sales service is bad and their products lack finesse...bla bla bla..but literally, I don't care and still I am going towards my santro, cranking it and bashing fiat on how this final production version is going to be.....

Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00005.jpg


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Old 11th October 2010, 16:16   #3
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Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00007.jpg

So, here it is, ladies and gentlemen, the new linea t-jet. A car that promises to accelerate like a rocket, pulls like a locomotive and yet offers you the everyday thrills and comfort of a luxury C segment sedan at a decent price.
Yes, decent. bang onto the neck of the Honda City territory, Fiat has hit a knife onto the Honda's neck.
At least on paper. What you get though is a product that is supposedly better with similar power, more torque, ride, handling, equipment, design, comfort etc etc.
Now I won't talk too much about all the looks and design etc as there are lots of linea owners here and have shared their experiences with us.

Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00015.jpg

The T-jet sports some changes as compared to the normal Linea. There is a new shade, the classy sunbeam beige seen here, 16" alloy wheels (yes, all 5 wheels are alloy) on the t-jet plus model, a unique hexagonal chrome tipped exhaust pipe which looks classy and muscular, and discreet t-jet badging on the grill and the tailgate.

Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00033.jpg

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Old 11th October 2010, 16:32   #4
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That is a stunner Sid!Nice pics.How was you test drive?How is the engine.please give us the detailed report!can't keep waiting!

And the color looks classy.What are the difference in specs and features between the Tjet and Tjet plus?
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Old 11th October 2010, 16:33   #5
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The inside story.

Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00059.jpg

Step inside and you are greeted by much higher quality plastics, dash and door trims, which were an eyesore on the earlier linea. The imported perforated Italian leather upholstery itself adds to the quantum leap of quality improvements carried out and is a highly recommended option. The dashboard plastics are now soft to touch and feel much higher quality, and the audio console at least now has correctly aligned panel gaps and are equally well finished. the steering wheel, again the best to grip, gets a better leather wrap and so does the gear knob. The ignition console, an achilles' heal of al fiat cars, finally gets improvements and the finishing is much better and that huge gap has been reduced considerably, though it still leaves some room for improvement. No longer do the interiors feel like deal breakers, though VW/skoda quality is still some way off. But, at least, its an inviting place to spend time. A point worth to mention is the new classy roof lining, made of high quality moulded fabric and equally classy in touch and feel.


Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00060.jpg

The leather upholstery lifts the comfort quotient up considerably. The cushioning is perfect and under thigh support feels much better than before. The body hugging contours suit most of human frames, and even lower back support is taken care off well, an adjustable lumbar support, which is not standard, will only add to the appeal. Even the finish looks classy. Legroom is adequate though the positioning the console and steering wheel is not exactly what you call a good ergonomic thought, with the wheel too forward and the console needing an effort to reach due to its tilt nature.

Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00054.jpg

At the rear, things get much better. Foot and knee level AC vents are standard which increases comfort levels. An adjustable rear windscreen sun curtain is a thoughtful touch not find on cars twice its price. the leather again is very comfortable and is a nice place to spend time in, though the angle of inclination an be a bit better. it does look upright but not a cause of worry. Take my words, even the leather option of the city "exclusive" can't match the comfort levels of the T-jet, though the honda is better in terms of angle of inclination and legroom, which is clearly more.

Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00055.jpg

The white retro dials look lovely, and the chrome fnished lining on AC vents ad on the middle of the dashboard adds to the higher quality feel.

Some bits and pieces like the seat adjustment levers, the bonnet opening levers and the steering adjust column sadly still feel flimsy and need improvement. But its good that Fiat has listened to customer feedback and given the interior plastics that the linea has always deserved on first place.

Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00056.jpg
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Old 11th October 2010, 16:58   #6
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Brilliant report!! As always, Sid at it. Any idea about 0-100 timing?
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Old 11th October 2010, 16:58   #7
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The drive:

Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00019.jpg

Since the car was not registered, my drive was restricted for half a hour but I tried to take a route which is what we daily use in commuting. the roads of ghaziabad aren't exactly in the best of shape, but nevertheless more than enough to gauge the first impressions of the new T-Jet motor.

Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00020.jpg

This motor comes laden with enough techno wizardry that makes the 1.4 FIRE of the regular linea look prehistoric. The motor may be sharing the same block and displacement, but the top half is completely different. new cylinder heads, direct injection tech and the use of IHI branded turbo placed close to the cylinder head (IIRC) give the motor tremendous power and insane torque. Available in various states of tune in different countries, it also carries "race ready" pistons and spark plugs, the secret of its superb sound.

Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00021.jpg

this 1368 cc motor produces 114 PS @5500 rpm and a stump pulling 207 Nm torque at a low 2200 rpm, 90 percent of which is available from a mere 1500 rpm. Compare that to 90 PS @6000 rpm and 115 nm @450 rpm of the old 1.4 FIRE motor and you know what I mean.

Start the idle and the sound is addictive. It sounds similar to the palio 1.6 "torque" motor, and is one of the best ever exhaust notes ever seen on an Indian car with small displacement stock petrol motor.Rev it hard, and the sound can get more addictive. It can easily go till its 6800 rpm redline without any fuss and the throaty growl of the motor will surely make the boy racers happy.....

Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00022.jpg

Yes, happy. engage the first gear and in congested city traffic the car lurges forward without any fuss.Turbo lag is extremely minimal and the car pulls cleanly at the first and second gears, from as low as 10 kmph. City driving does not require downshifts and its at this pace that the turbo spools up and all the action is witnessed. Its all that torque working for you. You never realise that you are propelling a 1.3 tonne beast without so much fuss, so much usable power band this engine has. Now ventring into NH 24 and all the action starts.

Crank, start. First gear. Disengage. There is wheelspin and the car accelerates strongly like a Boeing aircraft on runway ready to take off. The power delivery is not neck sapping like the vento diesel's but linear and the car gathers pace effortlessly and yo never realise that you have touched 110 kmph before the speedometer changes the speed indication. The power band between 2000-5500 rpm is where all the action is and even at 4th gear, the car is propelled forward without any fuss, from as low as 30 all the way upto 120. Acceleration through the gears looked strong and the car has serious highway mile munching capabilities and makes for a good long distance travel companion. The highway drive was sadly short but addictive all the time and the only moment that I cannot forget was the look on the face of a badly maintained verna crdi owner who was left behind.

Engine noise at high rpms does creep into the cabin but not a cause for worry as Fiat has used extensive sound deadening material, even under the bonnet and the use of a dual mass flywheel only helps in controlling vibrations. The best part of this motor is that it does not disappoint even on every day use. Its a very driver friendly engine and be it the city or the highway, it does its job without much fuss. expect a proper run-in engine to touch 0-100 in 11.5 odd seconds.

Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00023.jpg

yes, the city 1.5 i-vtec is quicker by some fractions of a second but the engine has to be screamed at high rpms to extract maximum power, which is trait of all Honda motors. But the best part of his motor is how much ease of driving this offers. Correctly tuned gear ratios (finally) extract the maximum potential of this motor and be it the congested traffic or the highway, y won't find a cause for complain.

the gearshift has improved but still feels pretty vague, especially the long throws in the second and the third gears which can be a cause for cncern. Another drawback is the placement of the clutch peal-a bit far off and yes, the travel is thankfully short as compared to the multijet diesel.
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Old 11th October 2010, 16:59   #8
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This car looks awesome with beige leather interiors. Eagerly waiting for performance figures
Any automatic option available sid?
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Old 11th October 2010, 17:17   #9
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Ride, handling and breaking

Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00016.jpg

The linea's perfect balance of ride and handling is retained, but its the handling that takes precedence over the ride.
See, you can't beat the laws of physics. the lower the tyre profile is, the harsher the ride gets and this stays rue to the 205/55 R 16 tyres that the T-jet plus comes equipped with.

The ride at low speeds is as usual, well composed and isolated. But, it tends to get a bit jerk when the car hits large potholes. the roads leading to the dealership are full of potholes and it scared the hell out of me while driving there on my santro. But when insie he linea, there is no cause of complain. But at the rear, the ride does tend to get a bit jostly and big potholes, ever so prominant there, did made their prescence felt bu road noise was well controlled. the 55 tyres being the obvious culprit here. But as speeds increase, ride tends to improve but only marginally since Fiat has actually made the rear suspension a bit stiffer in the interests of durability and to prevent bottoming out on speedbreakers, which the owners complained about owing to its large overhangs. Compared to city and vento, its distinctly better than these two cars, yes, but the magic carpet ride of the multijet is not there. There were 2 representatives at the rear seat and the roads being full of potholes, we were skeptical as whether the car would bottom out or not. he increased GC of 170 mm makes a hell lot of difference and under regular potholes the car went without any fuss. A deep crater was encountered and we did hear a small noise from the front but that crater was too deep for even my santro to handle it, so in general the GC can be seen as an improvement. I will wait for other comments from GTO's TD report and other owners on this regard.

Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00034.jpg

the handling is where this car shines. the steering is a light, yes, but the large wheels make it a brilliant handler. Three roundabouts in a straight road is not exactly what you would judge and conclude but testing there did reveal the car's strengths. Body roll is kept under control and the steering feedback is brilliant. Stability, as always a linea strength, is now much better and the wide tyres offer brilliant grip.

Braking is much improved an again brilliant with 4 wheel discs with 4 channel ABS with EBD as standard on both variants. Spongy feel of brake pedal was not felt on my test car the ABS is perfectly calibered for daily driving. In fact, its the braking that we did maximum owing to how awful the two wheel riders drive and come from here, there, anywhere, everywhere.

Another point to mention is the brilliant horn provided. Worked pefectly to scare al the rickshaw wallahs.
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Old 11th October 2010, 17:23   #10
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This is one thread that will keep the members interested for a while just like the Vento review.

Excellent pictures especially the one showing the interiors. Looks up-market and appealing. The leather seats look luxurious. The dials and retro look somehow do not appeal to me but that's a personal opinion. There isn't even a red-line demarcation on the tacho though its calibrated upto 7000 rpm.

The massive torque figures, lesser turbo lag and low end grunt should make it a good drive even for non-enthusiasts in regular B2B traffic commute. The highway is where the car will shine for sure. Would love to know about the top end performance.

Too early to wish for, but I would love to see this T-Jet engine plonked into a Grande Punto. A power packed petrol hatch for the roads.

Last edited by fuel_addict : 11th October 2010 at 17:28.
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Old 11th October 2010, 17:25   #11
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A nice documented Test drive report there. Nice pictures too. The Sun Bean Beige looks superb

By the way, steering being lighter? has the steering set up been changed to be made lighter by FIAT?
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Old 11th October 2010, 17:27   #12
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A good read. Finally, Fiat seems to have brought back the Palio 1.6 magic.

I can't wait to see this engine in Punto.
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Old 11th October 2010, 17:32   #13
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Fuel efficiency:

Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00038.jpg
The ARAI figure is rated at 14.6 kmpl is much improved over the previous 1.4 FIRE (13.8 kmpl) but the VW vento petrol MT (15.8 kmpl) and the city 1.5 i-vtec (16.6 kmpl) are still ahead in this contest, part of which can be attributed to the car's 1290 kg weight, even heavier than the MJD linea. But given the proper driving style and mnimal use of gears, the engine operating on lower rpms should give decent fuel efficiency, if not the class best. But for a performance engine with a heavy kerb weight, its a balanced figure.

Buying and owning

Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00032.jpg

This is an area where the car has to prove itself. The dealers still have to match the high standards that competitors have provided and product knowledge and training is a must. Some dealers are good, some bad and some worse. The spare parts prices are competitive, no doubt but again, availability factor is inconsistent and wait periods can be a cause of concern.

The phased launch plan of the t-jet should give fiat some lessons on how customers are handled an treated on the country's two most important markets-Delhi NCR and Mumbai. like I said, the dealers need to get the hell out of that tata attitude and think differently. Just offering Italian coffee to every person who takes a TD and a Champagne to a buyer is not the only expectation. Spending 10 lakhs entitles for an avant garde customer service and for a fiat owner, this is doubly true. Exclusive service bays and quick service timings are the need of the order and Fiat needs to address this concern at the earliest, not to mention on improving the brand perception and sales that have been stagnating every month in a country where car sales are sky rocketing and records are broken.

Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00058.jpg

The price is decent given the product, yes, as a product its a VFM, but as a brand, it can be questionable to some potential buyers. Still how it can sustain, its too early to comment.
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Old 11th October 2010, 17:41   #14
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Bottom Line:

Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00037.jpg

The t-jet finally gives fiat an arm up its sleeve to counter attack the city. Brilliant blend of performance, sportiness, refinement, ride and handling, style, space and comfort. All this adds to admiration. Yes, the Honda and VW Vento do have some more overall finesse but as an overall complete package, its the t-jet that ticks almost all the boxes. Yes, the low speed ride is harsh, the interiors require some more improvement and some tighter QC plus more polish will only add to the charm.

But all these can be forgiven to the depth of engineering that the other 2 don't have. The solid and well sorted chassis coupled with sturdy mechanicals and now, the right engine going with it, The linea T-jet is almost close to perfect C segment petrol sedan.

It does emerge as a potential winner in this fight. Now its upto fiat to get its act together and sell and service it well.

Last edited by sidindica : 11th October 2010 at 17:48.
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Old 11th October 2010, 17:50   #15
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Interior pics of the TD car

Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00008.jpg
Even the door pads have leather trimmings, giving them a very upmarket feel. the City exclusive doesn't have them.

Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00009.jpg
improved ignition console quality. the gap is reduced a bit, but the finish is more properly aligned. It still needs improvement.

Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00010.jpg
soft feel dashboard feels much better and high quality.

Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00011.jpg
front leather seats offer high degree of comfort, front armrest standard.

Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00012.jpg
passenger side airbag. Plastic feel considerably improved.

Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00013.jpg
centre console housing the stereo, ACC. Blaupunket badge missing. The AC cooling has improved considerably too.

Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00024.jpg
rear leather seats very comfy and have adjustable head restraints, absent on city.

Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00025.jpg
dashboard no longer an eyesore.

Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00026.jpg
even the glovebox locking position is aligned.

Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00027.jpg
another view of the dash. pedal placement still awkward.

Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00028.jpg
steering wheel gets better quality leather and is nicer to grip.

Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00041.jpg
horn pad gap still needs improvement on a car costing a million on road. but horn sound is superb.

Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00042.jpg
classy roof lining, amazing attention to detail.

Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00044.jpg
chrome lining on dash adds to upmarket feel.

Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00045.jpg
classy instruments look superb with retro touches. But i expected the racy instrument cluster of the Brazilian Linea.

Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00048.jpg
Boot lid also padded with fiat badge. Absent on city.

Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00049.jpg
500 liter boot space. loading sill high, can be a cause for concern.

Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00050.jpg
hydraulic opening and closing boot struts.

Quick First Drive: Fiat Linea 1.4 T-JET-dsc00052.jpg
Yes, the t-jet plus also gets a 16" alloy as a stepney (spare wheel). 5 alloy wheels standard. Absent on vento and city.

Last edited by sidindica : 11th October 2010 at 18:00.
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