Review: Fiat Linea Multijet
Not exactly new, but the Linea gets much needed styling updates, more features and continues to be as driver focused as before
Fiat had first launched the Linea way back in 2009 and since then has been selling it in India, pretty much unchanged. There were a few minor tweaks along its way, but nothing significant and that reflected in its dwindling sales over the years. But that was in the days of yore and Fiat, which is now on its own in India is ramping up its dealership numbers, strengthening its brand image and finally getting new products in India after a long interval.
The revamped Linea you see here is a part of its new India-strategy. To begin with, it's overall styling was never an eyesore. It may not be as outrageously stylish as the Hyundai Verna, but its simple, yet elegant design is sure to offend none. The latest styling modifications - a new fascia, better rear styling and significantly improved interiors - surely give the Linea a new lease of life. We especially liked the changes made to the cabin. The new black and beige dashboard, soft touch plastics, ambient lighting and smart dials make the cabin look young.
What's not young, however, is the Linea's underpinnings. But that's not a bad thing, if you ask. On the move, the Linea still continues to impress with its excellent ride quality and handling characteristics. Bad roads and broken surfaces are dealt with utmost care and to know how good a handler this Italian sedan is, just throw it into a corner and it will stick to its job like a blood-sucking leech.
Under the hood, there are three familiar engines to choose from, an 89bhp, 1.4-litre, naturally aspirated petrol, a 112bhp, 1.4-litre turbo-petrol (T-Jet) and the 92bhp, 1.3-litre turbo-diesel (MultiJet) - all teamed with a 5-speed manual gearbox. We took the diesel-powered Linea out for a spin but weren't exactly bowled over by it. There is noticeable turbo-lag under the 2,000rpm mark and driving in the city needs constant running through the cogs. But show it an open highway, keep the motor in its powerband of 2,000-4,500rpm and the Linea manages to impress, but only just.
On the whole, the Linea does an excellent job of ferrying its occupants with good all-round comfort and luggage space.This mid-life refresh has done a world of good for the Linea. It looks stunning, feels more upmarket, fit and finish continues to be impressive, cabin quality has been improved and the feature list is now beefed up. Plus, the introductory prices pushes the Linea back into the thick of things.
With the new Linea, Fiat has kept the prices same as the earlier model, which means the base variant starts at Rs 7.22 lakh. And the car featured here, the top-end diesel Emotion is priced at Rs 9.97 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai). These are quite competitive prices and considering the number of boxes it ticks, its great value for money.
4cyls, 1248cc, 92bhp, 209Nm, 5M, FWD, 1268kg, Rs 9.97 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai)
Styling changes have finally been made, interiors are now more premium and performance is decent too. Definitely worth considering if you need a no-nonsense sedan.