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2014 Fiat Linea Facelift Test Drive Review


2014 Fiat Linea Test Drive Review

2014 Fiat Linea – Click above for high resolution picture gallery

2014 Fiat Linea Review

Car Tested: 2014 Fiat Linea Facelift (1.3-litre Multijet Diesel, Emotion)

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 9 – 11.50 lakhs

The facelift to the Fiat Linea boosts the appeal of the vehicle by several notches.

Fiat knows very well how to make desirable cars, case in point being the Linea itself. First launched in India in 2009, the Linea hasn’t managed to sell in good numbers owing to poor sales and service offered by its JV partner Tata Motors. Fiat has now gone independent, going the whole mile of setting up its own dealership network with more than 100 outlets across India. This has surely got Fiat in the game and now with the facelifted Linea, the company expects to make a success of its C-segment sedan. Global production of the Linea facelift commenced in April 2012 and it has taken Fiat a whole 23 months to get the car to India. We get behind the wheel of the 2014 Fiat Linea to gauge the changes and if they make a big difference to this Italian sedan.

Motor Quest: The Fiat Linea was first launched in March 2007 and is based on the Grand Punto platform. It is a model for developing markets and is the largest saloon in Fiat’s car lineup.

2014 Fiat Linea Review2014 Fiat Linea Test Drive

The biggest change to the exteriors are on the front and rear where chrome adds a premium touch

Exteriors – The Fiat Linea has always been an attractive looking car and in spite of its age, it still manages to look very good and appealing, the vehicle hasn’t dated much even after being launched more than six years back. With the facelift, Fiat wants to inject freshness in the Linea and they have succeeded to quite an extent. While the pre-facelift model will be continued to be sold in India in Linea Classic avatar, the updated model isn’t vastly different in external appearance with most body parts being identical. In fact some even prefer the old car’s classy looks over the new model’s busier styling. What ever said and done, stay with the facelifted Linea for a couple of hours and you are bound to like the new model’s fresher looks.

The Fiat Linea is the longest car in its segment and is very well proportioned

Up front you get a new grille along with a new bumper which drastically differentiates the face of the car with the pre-facelift model. On the sides there is little to differentiate the old and the new which isn’t much of a matter as the Linea has always had an attractive profile. The key difference on the side is of course the new alloy wheels and the turn indicators on the rear view mirrors. At the rear, revision to the boot and bumper of the Fiat Linea are the biggest changes with faux diffuser sitting on the lower half of the rear bumper. The number plate no longer resides on the rear bumper but is now placed on the boot, between the tail lights. The Fiat logo has been shifted further upwards on the tail gate while the thick chrome strip above the rear bumper gives that premium touch. Overall the Fiat Linea facelift looks fresh and is much more appealing than the old model.

All new dashboard invokes a lot of freshness inside the cabin of the new Linea

Interiors – Step inside and you will immediately appreciate the all new dashboard which has a very premium touch to it. Quality levels immediately feel a notch up over the old model with the plastics now being soft touch. Without doubt the new dashboard bring a dose of freshness to the Linea. The design is well executed and has an Italian feel. The use of colours is also well done, with the top of the dashboard getting black colour while the centre uses light beige (with an interesting pattern) and glossy black finish used on the centre console and audio system. Fiat has also added ambient lightning to the car, whose orange colour uplifts the mood in the cabin.

Notice the new reading pattern on the speedometer of the new instrument cluster

The instrument cluster is all new as well, taken heavy inspiration from the now defunct Bravo. The new cluster has large pods for the speedometer and tachometer (with smaller ones for the temperature and fuel gauges) with a large rectangular display in between for the multi-information system (which shows an array of data) and other tell-tale functions. At first glance, the cluster doesn’t appear as easy to read on the move as the one on the old Linea but with time it grows on you. The old Linea had an open storage space right above the centre AC vents, the new one has a closed one. One cup holder has been removed at the front, right below the AC controls as Fiat has now placed the AUX and USB ports in lieu.

Seats are extremely comfortable with decent space but headroom is lacking at the rear

The Fiat Linea has always come loaded and the new model isn’t any different. In fact Fiat has only added features like the top-end variant now gets Cruise Control, a feature of not much use in India. Other features include dual airbags, ABS, leather seats, rear windshield curtain, automatic headlights and wipers (standard on all variants), 16-inch alloy wheels (15-inch on the lower trims), reverse parking sensors (which don’t beep right into your right ear like on the old model), Bluetooth audio system with good sound output, etc. Space inside the cabin is almost unaffected and you continue to get decent interior room with all seats offering good all round support but rear legroom is just about average. The roof lining is very neat but tall passengers will find headroom at a premium at the rear.

Boot has 500-litres of storage capacity which is on par with other cars in the segment

The Fiat Linea feels like a tank, build quality is exceptional and you really need to put in some efforts to close the doors, they are just so heavy. The AC chills in no time and we particularly like the way the AC vents are shaped in the new model. The glove box is all new as well and is decently big with a cooling function which has a light and two separate compartments (USB port has been shifted out). The steering wheel is among the few parts on the dashboard which has been carried over from the old car but we aren’t complaining as the steering is one of the best to hold with the right contours. The boot space is decent but ironically the Emotion variant which comes with 205/55/16 alloys comes with a 195/60/15 steel rim space saver.

Both petrol and diesel engines have been carried over from the pre-facelift model

Performance – There are no changes to the engines of the Fiat Linea which continue to offer the same output as before. The facelifted model is available only with the 1.3-litre Mulitjet diesel and 1.4-litre T-Jet petrol engines. Neither powerplants need any introduction as we all are very familiar with them. The 1.4-litre T-Jet mill outputs 114 PS of peak power at 5000 RPM and 207 Nm of peak torque at 2200 RPM. This turbocharged heart makes the Linea a whole lot of fun to drive and can put an instant smile on your face anytime, all the time. Once you whizz past the turbo lag, you are greeted by a strong mid-range where the Linea simply moves ahead with gusto only to be bogged down past 5500 RPM as the top-end of this mill isn’t very strong. Still city drivability is excellent and the T-Jet motor is among the best petrol engines in its class.

1.3-litre diesel offers good blend of performance and mileage but isn’t as fast

Coming to the 1.3-litre Multijet diesel engine which outputs 93 PS of power and 209 Nm of torque, you get decent performance although more is expected at this price point. This small capacity diesel motor has a good mid-range punch and once past the turbo lag, you get going quickly. The gearing is on the taller side and you can whizz past 100 km/hr in third gear itself. Our VBOX run shows that 0-100 km/hr takes 16 seconds which is slower than other cars in this segment. Fiat should really have plonked in a bigger motor in the Linea as most cars at this price point output above 100 BHP of power. Both petrol and diesel motor use a 5-speed gearbox and gear shifts aren’t the smoothest around with a hint of rubbery feel. The clutch too has a lot of play but is light. Owing to the heavy weight of the Linea, neither the petrol nor the diesel Linea boast of class leading fuel efficiency figures. Expect 10 km/l in the T-Jet and 14 km/l in the Multijet in real world driving conditions.

2014 Fiat Linea Road Test

The Fiat Linea boasts of a good balance between ride and handling

Driving Dynamics – Fiat hasn’t made any mechanical changes to the Linea so driving dynamics are more or less the same as before. When we first drove the Linea in 2009, we instantly fell in love with it, being thoroughly impressed by its sharp handling characteristics. While Fiat has continued with the hydraulic power steering, the Linea (2012 onwards) hasn’t given the same feel to the driver as before, which is largely because the vehicle has had an increase in ground clearance to 190 mm. This has certainly ruined the sharp dynamics of the car and although it still is quite fun to pilot through a set of corners, it doesn’t give you the same surefooted feel as before.

Ride quality of the Fiat Linea is simply stupendous, it glides over most roads

The steering too lacks the razor sharp precision you would expect from a hydraulic unit but the wide tyres give plenty of grip even while cornering really hard. However high speed stability isn’t as good as before (pre-2012) although the Linea is relatively poised at expressway speeds. Braking performance is good and so is the NVH levels inside the cabin. What is stupendous though is the ride quality, the Linea’s suspension absorbing everything in its path with authority and not transferring any bump to the occupants. The weight of the car can be felt though which is both a good and bad thing.

Lack of 1.6-litre diesel still a disappointment but the updated model sure is appealing

Verdict – The Fiat Linea has always been a competent car but had to face poor sales due to the lackluster dealership support. Fiat has finally got its dealership act together and has worked extensively to address the issue of after sales and service. This is sure going to play a big role in the success of the Linea as the car is now even better than the original. Not only has Fiat spruced up the exteriors with more premium touches, the interior too has vastly evolved into something drastically better and thoroughly modern. While the prices of the new Fiat Linea are less than the model it replaces (thanks to the excise duty cut), will buyers give this highly competent car another chance in the Indian market is yet to be seen. We feel the Fiat Linea really deserves to sell as it is an excellent package which excels on several fronts.

The Fiat Linea has always been one of the best cars in its segment and now with a facelift, it is bound to appeal to a large audience who want a car which creates an instant emotional connection with them.

Fiat sure has a winner in the facelifted Linea and this car should sell well

What’s Cool

* Fresher looks
* Vastly improved interiors
* Ride quality

What’s Not So Cool

* No mechanical updates to the car
* Still no 1.6-litre diesel

Alternatives: Honda City, Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Vento

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  • Dibyanjan

    Wow i think you are first to drive the new model.keep it up motorbeam.but if i had to pick i will go with new fiesta.

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      New Fiesta looks very promising too.

      • sujit

        There is no way that one can beat the Hyundai Verna. Still the no 1 in this class…only new Honda city has chance to come closer to verna

        • SGR

          @Sujit- In what way Hyundai Verna? you mean Acceleration on straight stretch? And please do a little more research on FIATS & FORDS before commenting baseless things. Cheers \m/

          • redneck

            He might be refering to sales figures and not actual dynamics of car

          • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

            Verna does rule the sales but Fiat rules the heart ;-p

        • Nikki

          LOL! Verna is probably the shittiest car to drive in its segment, even SX4 fares better in terms of actual ride quality. All the “features” and lot of flamboyance but no heart, that’s Hyundai cars for you. Try a FIAT or VW or Ford, you’ll know the difference.

          • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

            But Indians only looks at value and features, that’s why we see so many Vernas in our road.

      • redneck

        but such a nice car falied grossly

        • Kedar

          Very well said Faisal.

  • Rohan

    Sad to see that ESP is not available still.

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      It’s not really needed, not too much power anyways.

  • Kedar

    Great review as usual and unique too.

    FIAT should have seriously bring 1.6 Multijet and FIAT missed the big opportunity to launch it in India.

    No wonder Maruti will bring 1.6 MJD in India before FIAT. lol

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Thanks Kedar, Fiat should get 1.6 before Maruti, at least they can do that since they own and make the engine.

    • prabhjot bedi

      i completely fail to understand this insistence on the 1.6 diesel. one buys diesels only for mileage and to grab our sarkar’s misdirected subsidies. if you want a sporty ride: buy the T-jet: a turbo petrol is always better than a comparable turbodiesel! and if driven aptly it’s an economical enough engine! what good is the potent 1.6 diesel in the verna if the engineering of the chassis, steering, braking, ride and handling and build quality is so inferior that hyundai doesn’t dare offer this car in europe, america or japan!

    • S Pani

      I think FIAT stuck with the 1.3MJD to keep the prices down, as with the 1.6MJD excise would have been at a full 30%, while with the 1.3MJD it would have been at 24%. The high GC and the crazy excise rules would have meant the Linea got treated as a SUV.

      Though unfortunately for FIAT the govt pulled a fast one with a rather unexpected reduction in excise duties. Now even with the 1.6MJD it would have come in the 24% excise duty category, while the 1.3MJD puts it in the 20% category.

      Considering their situation, keeping prices low was important for FIAT, thus they probably chose the 1.3MJD route. Hopefully though, with the reduced duties, they are thinking of the 1.6MJD again. Hopefully they put the 1.6MJD in the Avventura as well.

      • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

        People want power in this segment as rivals are offering it in plenty.

    • Chetan

      Does it makes sense to go for linea classic instead of a modsizer like sail or amaze.I really like its looks and build quality??

      • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

        Yes , Linea Classic better than Sail for sure.

  • Kedar

    I would suggest to lower the car using lowering springs and you are done. :-)

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Max people like the higher GC as no worries on speed-breakers.

  • SGR

    FIAT should have plonked another 1.6 Mill along with 1.3Mill ,Surely there would have been many takers , myself from Punto 90 HP and many other Enthusiasts!!

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Maybe a 1.6 in the Punto would have made a real hot hatch.

  • Pravin

    The new Linea is not a winner in any way unfortunately… Im very sure its going to be a flop.. disappointing that FIAT still.. even after these many years have not learnt from their mistakes.. Sorry better luck next time..

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      I think the car has improved so let’s give it a chance before writing it off, trust me, the Linea is much better than some of the cars in this segment.

      • Pravin

        Lets wait for the sales figures to prove me wrong…

        • prabhjot bedi

          arre pravin baba! why to worry about sales figures? what is your problem with what OTHERS (the ‘market’, the ‘public’) think and do? what do YOU think? and why? the market and the public is almost always wrong whether in religion, politics or consumer choice. ciao!

          • Ganesh

            I am agreed with Mr. Prabhot Bedi, no one written for safty of this car… if any body drive this car… I drive both the cars. i.e. FIAT linea & Verna also… but when you seat in Linea you can feel the saloon car meaning and smooth engine..in Verna …I don’t feel it..

    • Subs

      What mistakes has Fiat made that it has not learnt from ? The only one would be not marketing its products superiority against the fancy bells and whistles of the competition. Its funny how anyone who may have never driven a Fiat has an opinion on it, and mostly negative. I have a Linea TJet thats working superbly and I selected it after testing all the tin cans from the East and the shiny but troublesome neighbor in Europe (Vento)-cause it gave too many technical troubles during the test ride itself.

      • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

        Agreed but Fiat needs to show some difference by either offering more mileage or added features or much cheaper price.

  • Rahul

    Fiat with its 1.3 ltr multijet engine should provide better fuel effeciency that its competition. All competitors are providing far more powerful enginw with greater fuel effeciency. They should have worked on making the engine more fuel effcient along with increasing the power output. Interiors are awesome, however not much has been done to spruce up the exteriors. Was seriously considering this car as an alternative to my existing car, but will now have to think twice.

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      The weight really eats the mileage, so if they reduce weight, the tank like feeling and ride quality will go. Fiat chose not to let go of the soul of their vehicles.

  • yila

    Though this is a very good review with uniquely nice photos of FIAT Linea, it is sad that there is no mention about the superior safety ratings of the FIAT cars, at this time, which can easily justify the negligibly low performance and fuel efficiency due the higher weight they gain from the safety features. I kindly request Motorbeam to promote the awareness about safety among your numerous enthusiastic readers and general Indian public as a very popular and responsible Auto Magazine. Thanks in advance!

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Yila, the problem is that the Linea hasn’t been tested by NCAP as it’s not sold in Europe, we can’t simply assume that since the Punto got 5 stars, the Linea too would. Also the Vento and Fiesta are there in the segment, both cars hatchback counterparts have got 5 stars in NCAP, so the Linea is on par as per global safety ratings.

  • Vidyuth

    Faisal have you come across lineas with 18″ alloys on them? What is your take? I m in the process of weighing up the pros and cons of fiesta, vento tsi and new linea; ecosport in consideration as well. But I cannot do away with 16/17 alloys, am quite sure about having the vehicle fitted with either a 19, if feasible or n 18′. Set budget for modd is 1.3 L max. Hope to hear your feedback. The review is top notch, to say the least. Cheers.

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Any modification is possible but there is always a negative, your ride will go for a toss.

    • steve

      sorry man u cant go for 18” alloys as it ll fill the wheel arches without a single inch, any way this ll be told by ur mechanics . the only possible u can go is 17” but it also may touch the wheel arches

  • dr.gerald

    Hi I’m also a Dr by prof.having
    Punto 90bhp sport..s it ruled my heart.till the 1st service..had no complaints till then.but things changed.a lot of booing noise from wheels.company told link rod broken and needs 3 mths to procure spares.after some high level recommendation they fixed the issue…only to recur in 1mth .fiat A TOTAL HEADACHE?many of my colleagues face lot of problems.Punishment 4 me 4 choosing fiat when many opt otherwise.excellent car with worst after sales service…….ride quality or service? DEFINITELY Service ..pls buy brands with good after sales .support ..not a fiat anymore in my lifetime….

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      That was because of Tata Motors, now they have gone solo.

  • saurabh

    i like your website its very useful for us thanks for sharing knowledge

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Thanks Saurabh for the kind words.

  • Noble

    Dear Faisal,
    All new Fiat Linea Tjet 2014 or
    All new Honda City ivtec 2014 – which is the best driver’s car? I am looking for better ride quality, performance and safety. Mileage is not that important for me as I perceive it’s not that different between the two. Are there any other petrol cars in the C Segment to watch out or wait for?

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Then you should opt for the Linea.

  • Ganesh

    Dear Faizal

    Very nice review indeed! The C segment cars are more practical when it comes to city driving and for the usual weekend trips coz of the extra boot space! Now as there are lots of options around it’s very difficult to chose one. I really liked your review of the 2014 skoda rapid and all the pros you have mentioned in it. Even though skoda is known for poor service and after sales, the good things about rapid made me want one. So now as you have reviewed these both cars, which one do you recommend? Linea or rapid?

    Thanks

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Both are excellent cars but the Fiat Linea is more appealing.

  • alok

    Me too want to know, Verna or linea and why…?

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Linea is much better.

  • Hardik

    Which is the best ?Honda Amaze or Fiat Linea!!!

  • Yash

    How fuel efficient the fire engine is ?
    Also The ford fiesta 2011 or 12 model is better or Lina 2014?
    I need to have some idea about the FE of the Petrol Fire engine.
    please if you have any idea about it

  • Ashish Naik

    @ Faisal ,
    I want to buy midsize diesel sedan . Personally I like Linea & Vento . Just yesterday I drove Honda City diesel but disappointed by its NVH level inside cabin & build quality . Verna is strict no . So which car you would suggest between Linea Emotion (D) and Vento Highline (D) ? .
    Ashish.

  • Arpan

    Is Linea sturdy and strong as VW vento/Skoda Rapid?

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Yes, Linea is more sturdy than both those cars.

  • Sarath

    Driving linea 2700km/ month not feeling fatigue.. Seat comfort is superb.
    Ride & Handling is as good as Rapid.
    Power & pickup change after 10 k like all other cars.
    Low maintainance also

    Then wat is problem with fiat sales?
    wat way Japanese are better than linea?

  • ajay

    Because Koriens and Japanese are fooling indian peoples simple in elite i20 fuel consumption quoted by hundai is 22.53 Km/lit, but this much efficiency how you going to check after owning it??? fuel consumtion feature is missing from all its varients..please check indian peolple safety also…..atleast Fiat posting all true data on charts……

  • Sameera B

    I’m looking to buy the Linea T-Jet car. I wanted help in choosing between Dynamic and Emotion versions. The only factor of consideration for me between the two is the wheel size. Is it a compromise in handling the car when it’s driven with a 15″ wheel in place of 16″ ?

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Nope, not much of a difference.