Fleet News

Fiat Brava 1.6 100 HSX

Fiat

Review

THE second generation Fiat Brava 100 HSX could be the latest entry in our 'Spot the Difference' competition. While some readers will have noticed the subtle exterior changes, those who had difficulty telling apart a 1998 Vauxhall Vectra from a heavily revised 1999 Vectra, or an Audi A4 from a refreshed '99 A4, need to read on. Fiat says some 1,700 items have been redesigned on the Bravo and Brava three-door and five-door mid-size hatchbacks, and a further 700 modifications carried out. But most of that work has been injected under the skin. A Fiat spokesman told us: 'No major modifications to the bodyshells were felt necessary as they still look modern and original.'

For the record, chrome inserts in the grille, different wheel trims, and standard seven-spoke alloys rather than steel wheels are a giveaway that the Brava you're looking at is a new one - and there's a fair chance that if the registration letter is a T, it's a second generation model rather than a late 1995-onwards original.

Inside, the alterations to a range which sells in huge numbers across Europe - 760,000 since launch and about 20,000 units annually in the UK - are more obvious. There's a graduated effect to further break up the two-tone greys - now, dark grey rises from the lower part of the cabin to blend into paler shades of grey at the top. Dashboard, seats and carpets are in 'anthracite', while front and rear pillar colours, roof lining, visors and interior light housings are in a brighter tones.

Radio, air vents and speaker grilles on the dashboard have been redesigned, electric window switches on the driver's side are more finger-friendly, and the dashboard has circular instrumentation to replace semi circles. The cosmetic revisions come with a repackaging which sees entry S trim dropped on Brava/Bravo. The range is now SX, HSX and ELX in five-door format, and SX, HLX and HGT in the Bravo. In most cases prices have been frozen, some reduced. But more significantly, the engine line-up has changed.

The 1.4 petrol has been dropped in favour of a more powerful, cleaner and more economical a 16-valve 1.2-litre engine, the 1.6-litre petrol unit has been tweaked to make it less thirsty, and Fiat has introduced common rail technology to the range with a 1.9-litre Unijet direct injection diesel - the JTD - to run alongside the 75bhp indirect diesel. This is available now and offers up to 52.3mpg in the combined cycle. Power is up by 7bhp to 154bhp on the 2.0-litre five-cylinder 20-valve petrol HGT, and there are improvements to the 1.8-litre 115.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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