Review: Fiat Bravo (2007 – 2014)
Roomy cabin and big boot. Five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating. Excellent 1.4 T-Jet petrol. Strong MultiJet diesels.
Driving position could be better. Artificial steering feel.Essentially a rebodied Stilo.
Fiat Bravo (2007 – 2014): At A Glance
The Fiat Bravo has the kind of stunning styling that Italians somehow seen to do almost effortlessly. In the right colour its probably the best looking mid-size hatchback you can buy.
Yet my first impressions of it werent too good. After a truly spectacular launch in Rome we got to drive a diesel on 18 wheels with 40 profile tyres to Ostia and back. A distance of about 30 miles.
All I learned from this was light, feel-free and unresponsive steering, whatever setting, and terrible ride quality. It wasnt until Fiat delivered a 1.4 T-Jet 150 to me that I got to drive it properly.
A year since the launch I still admire the styling. Like a bigger Grande Punto with an unmistakably Fiat look that doesnt come from its grille shape but from the heart of Italian design.
What does a Fiat Bravo (2007 – 2014) cost?
Fiat Bravo (2007 – 2014): What's It Like Inside?
- Boot space is 365–1175 litres
It's roomy inside, with plenty of space for five, and a boot that can take 400 litres of luggage, which is more than any other car in its class. There is even room beneath the boot floor for a full-sized spare tyre, so we will have to hope that when the car arrives in the UK in July they will give us one. (The test car had polystyrene packing and an emergency Fix&Go puncture repair kit.)
Fiat has embraced some impressive new Microsoft technology called Blue&Me that mixes Bluetooth hands-free phone, entertainment, information, satellite navigation and telematics in a low priced package that outperforms and beats aftermarket kit, and is readily upgradeable with updated mapping. Theres even a USB port to facilitate this. Much hand-clapping ensued.
Inside, too, it looks good with a sort of carbon fibre stippled effect to the dashtop that doesnt reflect in the windscreen. But, after 750 miles in a Yaris I found it really difficult to get comfortable.
Seat and steering wheel seemed to me to be at the wrong angles and wrong relationship. With the seat low the squab falls away at the front and the steering wheel is too high, even at its lowest setting. Worse still in low winter sunlight, the speedo is all but invisible unless you have the cars lights one. Though maybe with forthcoming EU laws, thats intentional.
Child seats that fit a Fiat Bravo (2007 – 2014)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Fiat Bravo (2007 – 2014) like to drive?
The Bravo is frankly disappointing. We seem to have got a Sport 150 Multijet fitted with optional 18 alloy wheels and 225/40 tyres. Seat comfort and range of seat and steering wheel adjustment are fine. There was nothing wrong with the quality of plastics and interior upholstery, including the carbon look fascia band, though the leather covered parking brake lever was already rubbing its leather against the edge of its aperture. The fascia doesnt reflect in the steeply raked screen. But, like the Alfa Brera, the Sports instrument graphics on the speedo and rev counter make them difficult to read in strong daytime sunshine.
I'd never actually driven a Stilo, which contributed its underpinnings to the new car. But if thats what a Stilo was like I can fully understand its lack of success. The chassis has no brio at all. Steering is light, feel-free and unresponsive. The gearchange is slow and cumbersome. The 150PS diesel engine we drove felt like it had 120PS. The ride quality on 18 wheels with 40 section tyres was terrible. It may have been developed in record time by computer, but the reality is a beautiful body clothing a very ordinary car.
But on the strength of the one car we drove, either it needs more work or they need to ditch the 18 wheels option. Hopefully Fiat will be able to get this sorted by the time the Bravo reaches the UK. The 6-speed gearbox is precise, yet clunky, as if you can actually feel the cogs swapping, which you cant because its a cable system.
But the engine is a gem. Quite how they managed to squeeze 150HP out of a 1.4 is a source of amazement. The horses actually feel stronger and more eager than the 150 in the Peugeot 308 1.6 THP I drove a few weeks previously. Smooth too, even after a cold start. Its a really excellent engine.
On the move the car feels somehow disjointed, letting slip its humble Stilo origins as the engine overtakes its tyres. Its not bad. It goes round corners well enough. And the ride quality on 205/55 R16 tyres doesnt remind you to e-mail complaints to The Highways Agency. Its just not as supple as a Focus, or a 308, or an Auris, and not quite as good as a Kia Ceed or Hyundai i30.
Final drive is sensibly geared at about 25mph per 1,000rpm in top, the same as the SEAT Leon 20VT I ran five years ago. The radio is good. Controls like the hazard warning on switch and Traffic Announcements off switch all logical and easy to find in an emergency, even when not familiar with the car.
On an 160 mile round trip it simply got on with the job, putting a smile on my face with its eagerness whenever I had to overtake uphill. Still belt-cam, unfortunately, but probably the ultimate Fiat FIRE engine and promises to turn the Grande Punto and 500 Abarth into real little scorchers. Id like to sit it on a chassis dynamometer and see what it really puts out against a Peugeot THP 150.
|1.4||42–45 mpg||12.5 s||146–158 g/km|
|1.4 MultiAir 140||50 mpg||8.5 s||132 g/km|
|1.4 MultiAir 140 (with start&stop)||50 mpg||8.5 s||132 g/km|
|1.4 T-Jet 120||42–45 mpg||9.6 s||146–156 g/km|
|1.4 T-Jet 150||40–40 mpg||8.5 s||165–167 g/km|
|1.6 MultiJet 105||58–66 mpg||11.3 s||113–129 g/km|
|1.6 MultiJet 120||61 mpg||10.5 s||120 g/km|
|1.9 MultiJet 120||53 mpg||10.5 s||139 g/km|
|1.9 MultiJet 150||50 mpg||9.0 s||149 g/km|
|2.0 MultiJet 165||53–55 mpg||8.2 s||135–139 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Fiat Bravo (2007 – 2014)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
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