Test Drive - Fiat Linea - Day 1 - Space and Convenience
Sagar Parikh, I'm the international news editor at IndianAutosBlog.com. I love everything that has a steering wheel!
There is a fake perception floating that the Linea is just a booted Grande Punto and its interiors are no different.
The Linea's cabin is skilfully designed - from the outside you would never estimate its interior dimensions. This car, by our reckoning, is much more spacious than the Grande Punto. Here is what we found out.
Leg room in the front is ample, I am sure even six footers would be able to drive with ease. Even with the seats pushed fully backward, there is decent room for the rear passenger behind the seat. The headroom in all possible seating areas is first-class and never an issue.
Deep map pockets behind both the front seats are a boon if you are glued to your books and papers while commuting to work. Door handles are in black with the door trim in beige, a dual-tone look which is pleasant.
The distance to the power window switches are mounted on the doors and the locks are at a very convenient distance. The passengers don't have to extend or struggle too much to manoeuvre these controls.
Three height adjustable headrests is something you don't find in many of the everyday cars. Foldable armrests with enclosed cup holders add practicality to the Linea's interiors.
Similarly, a foldable armrest on the driver's seat opens up for folders and files. They can be set pointing upward if you think it comes in the way during gear shifting.
The door pockets are not wide enough to accommodate any water bottles. The voids should have been designed to store them since there not any places where you can put them during a long drive. Only files, papers and flat objects fit in here perfectly.
A Sunglass holder is on the driver side just above the door; we would have liked it in the centre adjacent to the cabin light - if not in the line of sight of driver, at least nearby.
Coming to the boot,
500 liters of capacity is more than what you could ask for. Supported by two gas shocks, the lid stays clear while loading and helps quieten and soften operations. You open the boot remotely via the key or the button placed neatly on the dashboard.
Full marks for an ergonomic move of vacating it from under the seats to the dashboard. In other cars, you'd have to be a proctologist to operate the boot comfortably.
The manual says the rear seats are double folding, but we managed to fold just the lower half. We used muscle, might and brains, but somehow it won't budge. We'll learn how to do it in the course of this week and get back to you on that.
40% of the lower rear surface of the car is taken by the tail lamp which eats into the loading area - Fiat has chosen form over function, which we felt was unfortunate. The gap is narrow, although the height is adequate.
The glovebox opener is doused in chrome, you open the glovebox and its large volume helps in storing books or other bulky items. It could have been much better if not for the USB module that eats up vital space. What we also felt could change is the manner in which the glovebox opens; it kind of falls down, which is very unpleasant.
The quality of plastic is good and the USB port is also present within the box which we'll explain in the future.
Another cubby hole under the steering on the right side is for keys and small articles. An ashtray in black, which is removable and fits in all the cup holders in the car, and a can holder placed beside the gear lever is welcomed.
Under the hand brake space for placing a cell phone comes in handy. A speckled rubber mat helps dampen vibrations, so if your phone is in vibrator mode, the whole car won't buzz vigorously or during sudden movements, it won't fall off.
Tomorrow, we'll be talking of another aspect of the Linea. Stay tuned!