If there were ever an award for lots of talent but not enough sales numbers then the Fiat Linea would certainly be one of the top three contenders. Despite having a stylish exterior, fine cabin and a comfortable ride along with capable diesel and petrol engines the cars hasn’t really managed to take off in the Indian market. But Fiat hope that the new facelift here will change all that and bring the car back onto the midsize sedan buyer’s radar.
The most visible changes on the front end are the new bumper and grille. The housing for the fog lamps has been changed as well. The car now gets a long chrome strip running through the length of its bumper along with chrome garnish for the grille as well. This gives it a more premium and upmarket look and also ensures that the car stands out from a sea of midsize sedans. The rear end looks similar to the earlier version of the car though.
The biggest change inside the cabin is the arrival of the new dashboard, which also has soft touch materials used. The light beige and black combination looks really classy along with loads of cuts and curves all along the panels. The gauges light up in a sporty shade of orange. The front seats have loads of legroom and support all across is very good as well. The rear seats are comfortable too with good levels of room. The beige cabin feels posh as well. However, it’s not a very practical place to be in because there aren’t too many places to keep your knick-knacks in. The door bins also aren’t too big to store large bottles in them. But the 500-litre boot space is more than adequate to haul heavy weekend luggage in.
Engine, Performance and Gearbox
The T-Jet is powered by a 1.4-litre turbo charged petrol motor developing 112bhp of power and 207Nm of torque. Performance is blistering in the mid-range of this engine. Just shove the throttle pedal down and the car leaps forward with the ferocity of a cat. Engine refinement and responsiveness are also very impressive, making this one of the quietest cars in its class.
The gearbox though is the weak link here, it’s not as crisp as most rivals feels a bit notchy when you hustle it through the gate. So, it’s best to shift smoothly for best results. Fiat should seriously consider offering an automatic gearbox on this car.
Ride and handling
The dynamic chassis of the Linea means that this is a rewarding car for the keen driver. There is plenty of grip from the tyres and the steering offers crisp and communicative responses as well. Its light around town but not overtly so, to make you feel nervous when on the highway. Highway stability is very good as well, and even when speeds exceed well over 120kmph the car feels well planted on the road.
Safety and equipment
The T-Jet comes with the obligatory climate control, twin airbags, ABS with electronic brake distribution (EBD) and a stereo with Bluetooth connectivity for the telephone. You also get steering mounted audio controls for added convenience along with rear AC vents to name a few features.
The Honda City and the VW Vento are its keenest rivals. While the City has badge appeal, the Vento offers better build quality than the Linea, but none can match its Italian design flair and personality.
The Linea is for those who want a stylish looking alternative to established midsize sedans. The ride and cabin comfort are strengths. The big boot is a boon as well, but watch out for a notchy gearbox.
2014 Fiat Linea T-Jet