Review: FIAT Bravo (2007 – 2014)

Rating:

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.

Recently Added To This Review

18 August 2011

An impressive list of standard equipment is one of the highlights of the new Fiat Bravo MyLife, the latest car to be included in Fiat’s feature model collection of well-equipped, high value versions.... Read more

15 June 2009

New special edition Fiat Bravo coincides with an International charity driving tour which will take the cars from capital cities across Europe to Turin, Italy. The Fiat Bravo MSN Special Series is the... Read more

1 December 2008

New 2.0 MultiJet. 165 bhp 2.0 MultiJet unit features a diesel particulate filter (DPF) and is type-approved to Euro 5 standards, ahead of the 2009 deadline. Main benefits are greater performance (torque... Read more

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. If it was longer and lower it could be a Maserati.

Fiat Bravo original 2007 Launch Test

Fiat Bravo 1.4 T-Jet 150 2008 Road Test

Fiat Bravo Eco 1.6 diesel 2008 Road Test

What does a FIAT Bravo (2007 – 2014) cost?

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FIAT Bravo (2007 – 2014): What's It Like Inside?

Dimensions
Length 4336 mm
Width 1792 mm
Height 1498 mm
Wheelbase 2600 mm

Full specifications

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)

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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.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
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.

Average performance

89%

Real MPG

30–68 mpg

MPGs submitted

198

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.

What have we been asked about the FIAT Bravo (2007 – 2014)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

Will a hybrid car still give good mpg on long journeys and country roads?

I currently drive a 2011 Fiat Bravo Multijet diesel - I bought it for the MPG and it hasn't disappointed in that regard, although it's irritatingly unreliable and handling isn't great. Despite living in the city centre I regularly commute 200+ miles on both motorways and country roads. The Fiat is living up to it's 'Fix It Again Tomorrow' joke - and I'm worried about taxes coming in on diesels as I regularly work in cities. I need a car that can handle both motorway driving and tricky country roads. I've been looking at hybrids hoping I could get a similar MPG to the diesel, but all the reviews say they're not great on motorways and country roads. Should I give up and go for a petrol engine or take the risk with a diesel? I'm looking for something under £20,000.
In 2004 I had a Toyota Prius II and its overall average over 3776 miles was 48.83mpg, which wasn't so great. Then in In 2011 had to deliver an Auris hybrid 300 miles, mostly motorway, and it did 63mpg, so they got better. Phenomenal reliability. Low maintenance costs. I'd go for the lighter Toyota Auris rather than the Prius.
Answered by Honest John
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What Cars Are Similar To The FIAT Bravo (2007 – 2014)?

Key attributes of the this model are: Economical, Diesel engine and Small family.

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What do owners think?

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