We’ve just driven Fiat’s new and more powerful Linea T-jet, and initial impressions from behind the wheel are very positive. Under the hood is an all-new 1400cc turbocharged petrol motor that makes 113bhp, giving the Linea enough performance to take on the Honda City and the VW Vento.
There is a strong lusty pull from as low as 2000rpm, and this carries on all the way to 6000rpm. However after 5500rpm, the motor feels a bit strained. What separates this motor from the normally aspirated engines is an abundance of pulling power or torque. Where the Honda City and the VW Vento make 14.9kgm and 15.6kgm of torque respectively, this motor pushes out a truly remarkable 21.1kgm. And this is available all the way from a very low 2200rpm.
As a result, the straight line performance is strong and the Linea rides the constant stream of power and torque to cross the 100kph mark in 12.0seconds from rest, with 140kph coming in 28.2seconds.
In-gear performance is good too, despite the presence of a turbo that wakes up only after 2000rpm. However, you will need to wait a bit for the power to come in if you find yourself in the wrong gear in city traffic.
Fiat hasn’t just plonked in a more powerful motor, they’ve done a thorough job on the car. You get larger 16inch wheels, wider 205 tyres and will be the only car in the segment to get rear disc brakes as standard. The ground clearance of the car has also been increased to 170mm.
It feels different on the road, but not too different from the Linea we know so well. The suspension absorbs even more poor patches in the road and feels even more compliant; you hardly feel any bumps on the road. However there is some bobbing over big bumps and the handling does not feel as incisive or sharp. The uprated brakes however work really well and there is a good amount of feel from the hydraulic steering.
While we cannot wait to do a through test of this car, initial impressions point to a very capable car that is sure to please customers looking for a good mix of driving pleasure and practicality. Finally, after a long gap, a Fiat that’s actually plenty of fun.