The Fiat duo, Linea and Grande Punto, have both got makeovers recently. These were not full fledged makeovers, but minor tweaks that served to provide a refreshing look and feel to sustain interest in the flagship brand’s models.
Few weeks back, we reviewed the 2012 Grande Punto 1.4 Petrol Emotion variant. This time, we get our hands on the 1.4 Petrol Dynamic variant of the 2012 Fiat Linea. Both the engines have identical figures on paper.
Fiat cars have always enjoyed a fan following. Some also opine that after driving a Linea, one doesn’t gain the same enjoyment and satisfaction from other cars in the same segment.
We attempt to dive deep and certify this view, while also covering the 2012 changes Fiat has introduced in these models.
The Linea has always been a beautiful car. The lines and the curves on the car have always created an impression that not engineers but artists have designed it. In the C+ segment, it is a bigger luxurious sedan compared to its rivals like the Honda City and the Hyundai Verna.
Both the Fiat cars have a similar body language throughout the design. The Linea reminds you of the hatch from the front profile. The guys from the “Centro Stile Fiat”, the design centre in Turin, seemed to have striked a perfect balance between the retro and the modern.
It does not have a chiseled look or a cut-edge design, but instead it has a nice voluptuous profile to it. The artistically designed open eye headlamps spread to the side of the car. These are the dark sensing auto headlamps, with its sensor on the front windshield. The 2012 upgrade also feature rain sensing wipers.The Audi inspired front radiator grille has a chrome treatment to it, though in the recent international facelift, they have given it a miss.
The Linea is 4560mm in length and 1730 mm in width; this makes it a big sedan. The 2012 upgrade includes an increased ground clearance of 185mm as compared to 165 mm of the earlier generation. The increase in the ground clearance along with the 15inch alloys claim to have brought a change in the handling of the vehicle as well.
In the side profile, the roof line connects the front and the rear very artistically in a flowing manner. The chrome waistline is a nice touch.
The retro styled ORVMs along with the door handles blend in with the overall design of the car. The ORVMs can be electrically adjusted from inside. These mirrors however are not the electrically retractable types, which even the C segment Nissan Sunny has. Also, the side indicators affixed to the mirrors would have been a superb addition.
The curvy bulging front profile is balanced by a big protruding rear. It is big indeed but does not look out of place. The rear profile has more of smart lines running across it. Something that I appreciate about the entire design is the use of chrome. One can see chrome on all the profiles of the car, but still it’s not on the face. It has been kept very subtle and uniformly balanced throughout.
The Fiat Linea is indeed a beautiful looking car. The retro styling on it is very impressive and distinct.
So the Fiat Linea is a beautiful car from outside. The interiors of the 2012 Fiat Linea have been revived too.
The 2012 Linea comes with brighter dual tone interiors. The Emotion pack gets the premium leather treatment. It has all the sophistication needed in C+ a luxurious sedan.
Part of the new changes in the Dynamic variant is the height adjustable driver seat. The front row seating is comfortable. The beige colored seats are very nicely tailored, though it can be an issue with the kids spilling things on it. The front legroom is good. Everything remains similar as compared to the earlier version except the rear seats, which don’t drop down any longer.
Coming to the rear section of the car, the headroom and the legroom are not strong points of it. Taller passengers will have an issue adjusting themselves in the rear seats.
The steering wheel on the dynamic is tilt adjustable and also features media and other controls to access the Bluetooth integrated phone feature, which pairs with the phone effortlessly. The instrumental panel is very neat and has the speedometer and the odometer inside chrome rings.
The information display on the instrumental panel shows information about the trip reading, Fuel efficiency, temperature and the distance to empty fuel tank. In addition to this, it also shows the last call made, phonebook and also has a message reader. One can also access the in-car settings by pressing a button underneath the right side of the steering column.
The central panel has an integrated music system with 6 speakers. The fit and finish quality is typically Fiat so no complaining on that one. The ebony black grainy dashboard is grand with chrome inserts running across it.
In storage options, the glove box door doubles as the storage area too. Also, in the glove box you will find the peculiarly located USB connectivity option. Then there are 2 glass holders near the transmission stick. The door pockets are just an excuse and won’t hold anything substantial in it. There is a small utility box under the front seat armrest. The rear passengers get a drop down armrest attached to it is pull-out cup holders with some intermediate space. The boot space allotted in the Fiat Linea is a generous 500 litres, sounds good for the weekend trips.
The specifications have been retained without any changes to it. It has a 1368cc, F.I.R.E engine. It produces 90 PS at 6000 rpm and a torque of 115 Nm at 4500 rpm. The engine is metted with a 5-spped manual transmission.
The Fiat Linea is a strong and a well built car; this can also be seen in the pillars design of the car from inside. I love the sophistication it offers. The AC cooling, which has been improved in the 2012 version, felt the same as it was. Instead, the issue that we faced with our review car was that the front row AC vents at extreme sides weren’t cooling uniformly compared to the one on the central panel.
Secondly, the music system was not much of a performer at all. There are some C segment cars, which offer better music quality than the one on the Linea. These were the two drawbacks we faced during our review.
Now coming to the drive part, The Linea indeed is a car for those who relish driving. Twist the keys and like an obedient follower of your commands, she is ready for the drive. The gear shits are smooth and are a pleasure on highways as well as in city conditions. The noise buffering inside the cabin cancels out any excess noise, which is again a relief in the chaotic city traffic.
With the Fiat Linea, One has to be behaving maturely and patiently. This is not a car, which you can just squeeze in anywhere or drive around abruptly. It is more of the joy of driving. The perfect music which I kept on hearing while driving her was Ancora by Ludovico Einaudi, it flowed with the drive especially on my 3.am drive from Mumbai to Nasik.
It is a big car, so handling is not very swift and also one has to be really careful, while maneuvering out from tight parking spaces. The Linea may be underpowered specially compared to its rivals like Honda City and Hyundai Verna, whose torque figures dominate the ones by the Linea but then with the Linea is not about performance as such.
The merry time of the 1.4L engine is till 3000 rpm, after that the efforts taken by the engine gets evident. I got so carried away with the drive of the Fiat Linea, that I didn’t wish to torture her at all with any excess speeding and harsh testing. The increased ground clearance of 185mm is indeed impressive as now, the Linea takes over rough patches very confidently.
The drive was not the only treat we got from 2012 Fiat Linea; we got the best fuel efficiency figure of 18.5 kmpl (with the AC on) and the worst of 13kmpl, this concluded the superb review of the Fiat Linea.
The safety features, which flow down to the Dynamic variant, include dual stage airbags, ABS with EBD and seatbelts. The driver seat belt buzzer is annoying but indeed required considering the safety.
|Variant||1.4L FIRE PETROL|
|Engine Capacity (L)/Cylinder||1368/4|
|Groud clearence (mm)||185|
|Wheel Base (mm)||2603|
|Turning circle radius M||5.4|
|Fuel Tank capacity L||45|
|Claimed fuel efficiency (Kmpl)||14.6|
|Ex Showroom price Mumbai (Rs.)||713448||814987|
|Tyre Rating||195/60 R15||195/60 R15|
|Integrated CD/MP3 Player||Yes||Yes|
|Blue & Me with USB Port||No||Yes|
|Steering mounted audio controls||No||Yes|
|Remote keyless entry||Yes||Yes|
|Electrically adjustable ORVM||Yes||Yes|
|Driver seat height adjustment||No||Yes|
|Rear arm rest||Yes||Yes|
|Real-time mileage indicator||Yes||Yes|
|Dual tone dashboard||Yes||Yes|
|Leather wrap steering wheel and gear knob||No||Yes|
|Fire prevention system||Yes||Yes|
|Immobiliser with Rolling codes||Yes||Yes|
|ABS with EBD||No||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Variant||1.4 Dynamic||1.4VTVT||1.5TiVCT Titanium +||1.5 VMT|
|Ex Showroom price Mumbai (Rs.)||814987||745487||899900||929736|
|Engine Capacity (L)/Cylinder||1368/4||1396/4||1499/4||1497/4|
|A/C with climate control||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Integrated CD/MP3 Player||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Steering mounted audio controls||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Remote keyless entry||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Electrically adjustable ORVM||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Driver seat height adjustment||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|Rear arm rest||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Real-time mileage indicator||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Leather wrap steering wheel and gear knob||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|Immobiliser with Rolling codes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|ABS with EBD||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|Mileage claimed (kmpl)||14||17||17||16.7|
With gorgeous looks and a smooth heart, the Fiat Linea indeed is an impressive choice. Now I understand why Fiat enjoys so many fan clubs around.
Fiat has been in news for some time now; the international version of the Linea got a face lift, which has a redesigned front chin as well as change in the rear license plate position, which has been shifted to the boot lid. I liked the rear profile change but the newly designed chin doesn’t find an admirer in me.
Also, what grabbed National headlines was the end of alliance between Fiat and Tata Motors for the sales and distribution of Fiat cars. This has to be the most impressive decision taken by Fiat India as they were not given justice properly. So finally Fiat decided to go solo with Tejaswi Motors in Hyderabad and has a set a target of 20 showrooms by end 2012.
The 2012 Fiat Linea is expensive compared to the Hyundai Verna but then it’s cheaper compared to the Honda City and the Ford Fiesta. For me, the Linea scores more over a Honda City in design and styling. I just wished Fiat would have had let me keep this car for little longer, Greed I tell you.