Day 3 – 2012 Fiat Linea Driving Review

12/03/2012 - 05:28 | ,  ,  ,   | Kaustubh Shinde

2012 Fiat Linea badgeThe 2012 Linea may no competition when it comes to looks and has successfully managed to impress with its elegantly designed interiors. But the Chico Italiano has some insane competition in the driving department.

After all, it has to take on the Ford Fiesta, Honda City and the Skoda Rapid for the title of the ‘Driver’s Car’. But has the raised ground clearance affected the handling of the Linea?

Let’s find out:


What powers the new Linea?

2012 Fiat Linea engineThe petrol Linea that we had for our review is powered by a 1.4L FIRE Engine. The FIRE Engine (Fully Integrated Robotised Engine) is actually quite an old and trusted technology dating back to 1981. The Linea’s 1.4L pot produces 90PS @ 6000 and 115NM @ 4500 which may sound a bit less when compared to the rivals. But remember, there is so much years of development on the FIRE engine that it is one of the most refined four pots in the market.

The 2012 Fiat Linea as we discussed in the exterior review is actually a D segment car in a C+ segment. But due to its small displacement and heavy weight, it feels a bit underpowered especially in the first and second gear.

You really have to rev the engine high to get good acceleration from the Linea. Thus overtaking is not as easy and you have to carefully plan all your moves. Fiat has very cleverly slotted in the Linea T-Jet, a more powerful variant (and predictably more expensive), for people who really want a driver’s car.

2012 Fiat Linea front

Although the Linea’s engine needs to be revved hard, the good thing is that it is a rev happy engine. Hitting the redline is easy and it make a fantastic sound as a complimentary gift. The five-speed gear box has been mated very well with the engine. The gates are precise and the throw is pretty short to give you a sporty feeling.

So in the driving department, it is more of a comfortable cruiser than a fire-spitting sporty car.

What about the handling?

The raised ground clearance has marginally affected the handling characteristics of the 2012 Linea. However, the satisfaction of knowing that the car’s underbody is definitely safe from ANY nasty undulations adds a much greater value to the proposition

It still has the perfect balance of high speed rigidity and comfy low speed ride. The body roll has certainly increased from the predecessor and its quite evident when doing some high speed cornering. The 195/60 R15 tubeless tyres provide a fantastic front end bite when cornering hard. The straight line stability is brilliant as well.

2012 Fiat Linea rear

What about fuel economy?

Fiat claims a fuel efficiency of 14.6 kmpl. After a day’s worth of hard cornering, we got a very disappointing 9 kmpl from the digital readout.

What about the safety?

The Linea comes loaded with

  • Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) with EBD
  • Dual Stage Front Airbags

Things that I don’t like about the Linea:

Actually the only thing that I did not like about the Linea is the sluggish engine. Rest all, I thought was near perfect.

By introducing minor yet significant changes what Fiat has done is made the whole Linea range a greater value proposition that its competitors. The exteriors and interiors are the key USPs of the Linea.

Some competitors like the Honda City and the Skoda Rapid have a better drivability than the Linea but lack the street presence. All-in-all, we were quite pleased with the Linea deliverables and we think that if you are in the market for a petrol sedan, the Linea should definitely be on your list.

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