Fiat 124 Spider Lusso

Red Italian-registered Fiat 124 Spider parked beside a lake with mountains in the background.

No matter how much Fiat enthusiasts may want to avoid it, there’s no getting away from the fact that the 124 Spider is to all intents and purposes a Mazda MX-5 roadster wearing a different frock. Half a century ago the idea would have been unthinkable, and certainly unspeakable, but in these days of manufacturers sharing technology with each other it shouldn’t come as a great shock. Nor should anyone have a problem with it. The MX-5 is itself a fine sports car and an entirely acceptable basis for another…

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Panda Crossing

Fiat Panda Cross parked in the snowy conditions that suit it best.

The wild winter of 2010 saw the roads of North Yorkshire snowbound from well before Christmas until far into the New Year. This was not good news for drivers of BMWs with wide wheels and tyres, and it became a standing joke that whenever the TV news showed a clip of some unfortunates pushing a slewing car along a snow covered road it was inevitably a BeeEm. One morning, following a heavy overnight fall, I gingerly set out for my office 35 miles to the north by first driving south…

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Fiat Tipo 1.6 MultiJet 120 Lounge

Italian-registered, left-hand drive Fiat Tipo.

Some cars are less appealing the first time you drive them than they become after greater experience, and the Fiat Tipo turns out to be one of these. I wasn’t greatly impressed by it at the UK media launch, but after taking a 1.6 MultiJet Lounge from Glasgow to Exeter one day and back again the next I find that I’ve become quite fond of it. I still think it’s very much a non-premium car, unlikely to impress anyone who had just had a test drive in a Ford Focus…

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Fiat 124 Spider

Close-up of white Fiat 124 Spider cornering on a narrow road in low sunlight.

If you want to contemplate how much the motoring world has changed in the last few decades, ask yourself how the fine people of Italy would once have reacted to the notion of a Fiat sports car owing its existence largely to the equally fine people of Japan. Probably not too well, it may be imagined, but in these modern times such pride has had to be swallowed: the 124 Spider, named though it is after another Fiat which entered the world half a century go, is to all intents…

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Fiat Tipo

Head-on shot of Fiat Tipo hatchback in action.

To appreciate what the new Fiat Tipo is, it’s helpful to begin by understanding what it is not. If you already own an Astra or a Focus or a Golf and its refinement is at the low end of what you consider acceptable, the Tipo is not for you. With a starting price of £12,995, and with the most expensive model coming in at £18,995 (assuming no optional extras or any body colour other than Ambient White, all others requiring a further investment of £550), it has had to be…

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Fiat 500 0.9 TwinAir 105hp Lounge

Fiat 500 with Glam Coral pastel paint parked in front of trees.

Fiat’s splendid little two-cylinder 875cc TwinAir turbo petrol engine was originally available only with a power output of 84bhp, but we were promised that other variants would become available in time. Sure enough, a more robust 104bhp version has since been introduced, and it can be found under the bonnet of the 500 Lounge tested here. 104bhp is quite lot for a teeny-tiny unit like this, and it puts the 500 into what might nowadays be called the “junior warm hatch” category, with a respectable 0-62mph time of 10 seconds….

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