2016 Fiat Linea 125S Review
2016 Fiat Linea 125S – Click above for high resolution image gallery

Fiat Linea 125S Review

Car Tested: Fiat Linea 125S; Road Test No. 721

Price OTR Delhi: Rs. 12.02 lakhs

The Fiat Linea 125S has excellent performance, feels thrilling to drive with the T-Jet engine

The Fiat Linea has been in the market for a long time now. The automaker has been selling the same generation of the C-segment sedan since 2009 and that’s stretching it far too long. The Linea has, however, received a lot of updates over the years. This time around, Fiat has plonked in the 1.4-litre T-Jet petrol engine in a higher state of tune apart from a couple of new features. So let’s check out what the 2016 Linea 125S is all about.

Motor Quest: Gone are the days when Fiat cars used to be the only ones that were considered fun to drive or desirable by pure driving enthusiasts. With so many fun to drive options available in the market, the enthusiast does have a lot to choose from.

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The Linea 125S looks exactly the same as the regular Linea

Exteriors – On the looks front, the Fiat Linea 125S looks exactly the same as the regular Linea. The styling looks good and the dimensions of the car feel proportionate. However, in the sea of new competitors entering the market with their bold styling elements, the Linea does feel a bit sobered down. Nothing much has been done to differentiate the 125S trim apart from a badge on the bootlid and front fenders. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed on seeing the car because I was really expecting Fiat to offer the sedan in the same blue shade that was shown at the 2016 Auto Expo. Unfortunately though, that colour isn’t offered even as an option.

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The interiors are also similar while the touchscreen is a new addition

Interiors – Even on the inside, the Linea 125S continues to carry the same stuff from the regular Linea. The dashboard has a pleasant layout and build quality is top notch. The seats feel comfortable but even at the lowest seating position, it still feels a bit high up. The steering isn’t adjustable for reach and hence it again feels a bit awkwardly positioned. Fiat has added a new touchscreen but the screen itself is a bit too small. It isn’t even very intuitive to use and sometimes requires multiple touch attempts for a function. The audio system even behaved a bit weird with music volume increasing and decreasing on its own. On the equipment front, you get auto AC, rain sensing wipers, navigation, etc.

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The 1.4-litre T-Jet now produces 11 HP of additional power

Performance – The 2016 Fiat Linea 125S is powered by the same 1.4-litre T-Jet petrol engine that was also offered earlier. This time around, it is tuned to produce 125 HP of power which translates into an increase of 11 HP over the previous tune. Top whack comes in at 5000 RPM while peak torque of 210 Nm is churned out between 2000-3500 RPM. The engine comes mated to the same 5-speed manual gearbox and 0-100 km/hr timing is claimed to be 10.4 seconds (we timed it at 10.7 seconds on the VBOX). 100 km/hr in top gear comes in at 2500 RPM. Under hard acceleration, we did get some wheelspin in 1st and even 2nd gear!

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The Linea begs to be revved all the way to the redline

The T-Jet engine is a beast; we wish the gearbox offered smoother shifts

The engine has brilliant pulling power right from low RPMs. Once the turbo kicks in post 2000 RPM, the Linea 125S accelerates like a rocket and the sheer feeling is thrilling. Power delivery continues all the way to higher RPMs and the sedan never feels out of breath. The engine loves to be revved all the way to 6500 RPM. In terms of fuel efficiency, the claimed figure is 14.2 km/l but we managed to extract 5-6 km/l under hard driving and 8-9 km/l under relaxed driving. The clutch has a very long travel but still doesn’t feel too heavy. The gearbox is notchy as before.

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Ride quality is super; handling also has an engaging feel

Driving Dynamics – The Fiat Linea has always had good handling but it kind of went for a toss when Fiat increased the car’s ground clearance to 190 mm. Still, it doesn’t disappoint at all and chucking the Linea into corners is fun. It comes shod with Apollo Alnac tyres which offer pretty decent levels of grip. Ride quality is brilliant and the suspension is capable of absorbing most bumps that come your way. The Linea feels comfortable to drive around and doesn’t make you feel tired. Even the brakes have a lot of bite and stopping power is excellent.

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The Linea has strong build quality and gets dual airbags and ABS

Safety and After Sales Service – The Fiat Linea 125S comes with ABS and dual front airbags. There is no other safety tech on offer. Fiat’s service has been pretty dismal and there are very few service centres in the country. This is one of the major downsides of even recommending the Linea to anyone. Ownership experience isn’t that great and with hardly any dealers in sight, where will you book your car?

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The 125S trim makes the Linea more fun to drive

Verdict – Fiat has improved the Linea with the updated engine which provides thrilling performance. You even get a touchscreen infotainment system this time around. However, the car itself is very dated and there are definitely better products available for that price. The Fiat Linea 125S will probably be bought only by hardcore fanboys of the brand because for any other regular customer, the C-segment offers a plethora of other options.

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But it definitely feels old now with so many better rivals in the market

What’s Cool

* What a brilliant engine – FUN!
* Ride quality is splendid, suspension does a super job

What’s Not So Cool

* Outdated as compared to rivals
* Lack of dealers and service centres

Alternatives: Honda City, Volkswagen Vento TSI

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Fiat lacks in sales and after-sales service

Testers’ Note:

“There was a time when the Fiat Linea was the best car in the segment, that was around 5 years back and today the competition has upped the game but Fiat hasn’t followed. The Linea feels old in certain areas and even the addition of a touchscreen unit feels like an afterthought, which it actually is. Yes the performance is thrilling but the T-Jet motor is far from frugal while the hydraulic steering is heavy. The Linea 125S is still slower than a petrol Honda City.” – Faisal Khan, Editor, MotorBeam.
“Having driven the Linea a number of times in the past, I’m quite used to its driving dynamics. The updated engine is definitely a very good performer but the gearbox is a bit of a downer. I wish Fiat hadn’t increased the car’s ground clearance in the first place. The Linea 125S is engaging to drive but I had to buy a performance car in this segment, it would probably be the Volkswagen Vento TSI.” – Parth Gohil, Senior Road Tester, MotorBeam.

Further Reading

C-Segment Sedan Shootout
Fiat Linea Facelift Review
Fiat Linea T-Jet Review
2013 Fiat Linea T-Jet Review
Fiat Linea Classic Review