Test Drive Reviews

TIPO Demo (2016/2017)

Tipo Side       Tipo Interior      Fiat Tipo Boot

The Fiat Tipo was released on sale in September and is a spacious family hatchback designed to rival those of other manufacturers currently on the market with typically Italian good looks and styling.

 

TPPL were offered the chance to appraise this attractive and affordable hatchback in December, when I first found out that we were being given the opportunity to appraise the Tipo I had flashbacks to my parents first family car from the 1994 car which would transport a then infant me and my parents on our leisurely travels around the UK. Despite the car sharing the name of its old predecessor it is very much a different car.

 

The first thing that I noticed about the Tipo is the surprising amount of room there is within the car. With a very large boot capacity (440 litres) it really helps to make the Tipo a very practical car within the hatchback class. When you enter the cabin It’s spacious and comfortable feel when getting into the driver’s seat offers further practicality with generous room in the front and rear passenger seats.

 

The interior design is modern and features are functional leading to a format that we are used to seeing in hatchbacks of this calibre. The Tipo features a handy 5” touch screen which made planning, entering and starting my route quick and without confusion. It’s built in satnav was a fantastic feature that helped me get out of a traffic jam in my commute home.

 

Now to the driving. The Tipo handles well and packs a little bit of a punch for those confident drivers. Perhaps handling can feel a bit dated and a little “loose” when comparing it to other hatchbacks on the market although that is not to say that the Tipo isn’t fun to drive.

 

The Tipo boasts a good Fuel Economy, with Fiat quoting emissions of 98g/km and a fuel economy of 76.3 mpg, with the 1.6 diesel engine. This offers a competitive fuel economy figure compared to its competitors. The Tipo, has a basic starting price of £12,270 and when looking at the other hatchbacks on the market it’s price is definitely a unique selling point.

 

There’s very little to throwback to in regards to the original Tipo from the 90’s car my parents used to own. In a way the Tipo attempts to capture what the original was, an affordable family hatchback.  Fiat are definitely showing that it has moved on with the times. This car isn’t perfect and there are rival hatchbacks available who have a little more to offer in substance, but at the starting price of £12,000+ and a very impressive fuel economy it represents excellent value for money and a worthwhile choice in a busy sector of the new car market.

 

Peugeot 2008 1.6e-hdi 115ps Allure 5 door manual (2013)

3008 - 1       3008 - 2      3008 - 3

P11D Value £17,990.00
Co2 Emissions 103
Average combines MPG 70.6
BIK tax for company car per year 2014/2015 % P11D – 17
Company Car benefit tax – 3058.30
Car running costs based on 3 yrs / 30,000 miles 45.44

Long term demonstrator appraisal: (duration 6 months).

The Peugeot 2008 was released by Peugeot in 2013 designed primarily as a small-medium sized crossover vehicle with styling similar to that of the new 208 model whilst encompassing a raised profile and estate like rear.

When the opportunity came around for us to appraise this vehicle I was unsure what to expect being a model I knew little about. In the marketing releases by Peugeot the vehicle appeared to be of a mid-sized estate utility vehicle labelled to have “all road” driving capabilities with Peugeot’s grip control system also incorporated on some of there light commercial vehicles.

Upon delivery of the vehicle I was surprised at how compact it was, the adverts I had seen made the car look bigger than it actually is, and when it arrived my first thoughts were; in effect it looks like a 208 SW. When I first entered the cabin the styling and equipment layout was identical to that of a Peugeot 208 hatchback with the new smaller steering wheel and carbon effect dashboard and lining with the central 7” touch screen entertainment and on-board information system. The vehicle was finished off nicely with diamond cut style alloy wheels in a dark gunmetal grey colour which worked pleasantly with the dark metallic grey finish on the vehicle.

When I first drove the 2008 I noticed the engine had lots of low end torque which delivered more than enough power to shift you along at adequate speeds. The 115ps engine delivered smooth effortless power. I was unsure of the new small style steering wheel and initially it felt as if it belonged to an interactive computer game and not inside an actual vehicle. One thing I did notice initially was the steering felt quite detached from the road and feedback was minimal which I wasn’t keen on as it left you feeling a little detached from the terrain you were driving on.

During the time of the appraisal my appreciation for the car grew with each day. Great fuel consumption figures were returned which are a major attraction of the vehicle along with low Co2 emissions output. The vehicles practicality qualities became apparent time and time again with the fold flat back seats being a fantastic feature with both the 1/3 and 2/3 folding rear seats collapsing completely flat with the simple click of 2 buttons in the boot! This feature increased the boot load volume from 360 dm3 to a flat floor of 1194 dm3. The boot load height is also low giving easy access to any large items needing transportation.

Another funky feature which adds a really nice touch to the vehicle is the Peugeot LED track in the roofline. Initially I thought Freddy Krueger had been let loose in the vehicle with his infamous knife fingered glove but actually the Peugeot LED track provides ambient white lighting from the laser cut headlining, offering 2008 an extraordinary range of lighting solutions.

Having some life-lasting memories whilst driving this car in the form of my first child entering the world has possibly left my appraisal slightly biased but I must confess to being slightly sad to see my long term 2008 demonstrator vehicle being returned. As it turned out the LED track lighting in the roof was a fantastic feature for travelling with a young baby as it leaves the whole cabin slightly illuminated in a nice dim white light which I’m sure made my baby feel more secure and less detached from the front seated passengers.

Overall the 2008’s flexible practicality combined with great fuel economy and levels of equipment and comfort makes it a fantastic choice of vehicle in the small-mid sized crossover vehicle sector. It boasts excellent levels of equipment for a very competitive price.


Infiniti Q50 2.2 Diesel Premium RWD 7 Speed Automatic (2014)

DSC_0379       infinity interior       inifinty55

P11D Value £31,151.00 (OTR £31,900.00)
Co2 Emissions 124
Average combines MPG 58.9
BIK tax for company car per year 2014/2015 % P11D – 20
Company Car benefit tax – £6407.00
Car running costs based on 3 yrs / 30,000 miles 81.67ppm

Short Term demonstrator appraisal: (duration 1 week)

Having previously appraised one or 2 vehicles from the Infiniti range when they initially offered us the chance to demonstrate a Q50 2.2diesel premium model I was keen to see how the vehicle drove in terms of the diesel engine refinement. We previously appraised a Q50 hybrid petrol version and it was going to be interesting to asses how the diesel model stacked up in comparison to the high powered V6 petrol hybrid version.

When the vehicle arrived with us it’s clear to see the level of thought and effort which went into the design detail on this vehicle with it having swift and bold design lines and curves which makes it very pleasing on the eye. The equipment levels on the premium model we drove were excellent with all details and inclusions on the vehicle oozing design and material qualities associated with executive level vehicles.

In terms of how the vehicle performed the driving experience was similar to the looks of the vehicle and offered quality and refinement which you would expect from something coming out of the VAG group of companies, the diesel engine performed impeccably and pulled the car effortlessly along both low and high end with good amounts of power available instantly. Sometimes Automatic diesel vehicles can have bit of a lag between gear changes and when accelerating. The Infiniti Q50 certainly didn’t suffer this problem and the power was instantly felt upon accelerating.

Good fuel economy, excellent specification levels offering good rear passenger space and a sizeable boot ample enough to carry 2 sets of golf clubs or luggage for 2 people embarking on a long distance journey. What is their not to like about this vehicle? Not much at all from our short time appraising the Q50 diesel.


Nissan Qashqai 1.5DCi Acenta Premium 5 door manual (2014)

1       2       3

P11D Value £22,690.00
Co2 Emissions 99
Average combines MPG 74.3
BIK tax for company car per year 2014/2015 % P11D – 15%
Company Car benefit tax – £3403.50
Car running costs based on 3 yrs / 30,000 miles 53.19ppm

Short term demonstrator appraisal: (duration 1 week)

The Nissan Qashqai has been revamped and the all new 2014 version has already won the What Car? Accolade of car of the year 2014.
The new 2014 Nissan Qashqai offers a defiant new design, advanced intuitive technology, state-of-the-art connected services, with dynamic ride and handling putting the driver in total control.

Upon first impressions the vehicle has bold styling lines and is easy on the eye appearing of medium size whilst having a typically raised profile commonly associated with SUV’s. When entering the cockpit it’s a surprise to see how roomy the vehicle is internally. Externally the Qashqai looks to be of a mid sized hatchback profile, obviously heightened to enhance it’s SUV qualities however when you enter the interior the vehicle has the room and feel of a much larger vehicle than the exterior portrays. It feels internally like a large sized SUV cabin. Clever styling indeed!

The 1.5dci 110ps engine is surprisingly swift and well powered with plenty of low end torque considering it’s pulling a sizeable chassis.
The dashboard layout is clean, stylish and well thought out with the ambient lighting giving a nice warm feel and mood to the internal cabin. Rear leg room is good and the boot has a good loading capacity with plenty of room for the family pets or the weekly shopping.
One point I will make is that the dashboard did appear and have a slight plastic feel to it, perhaps the amount of equipment included for the price of the vehicle led to compromises being made in terms of quality when it came to build.
The rear reversing camera is a nice touch and the vehicle drove well whilst returning good fuel economy for a vehicle of this size and class.
The steering was not the most connected with little feedback coming from the road making you feel a little detached in terms of connecting with the terrain the vehicle was travelling on.

Overall the vehicle has a striking appearance, whilst returning good fuel economy figures and low Co2 emissions. For the cost you get a lot of kit however the quality on internal finishes felt a bit plastic and compromised. For the price this is an excellent choice for fleet and retail consumers alike.