Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016
- A cheap and practical car
- Enough room for passengers and luggage
- Great choice for a diesel car
- Despite the sporty image of the 3-door version, is not fun to drive
- It is lacking finesse and style
- Depreciates very quickly
If a car is not a status symbol for you, the Stilo is actually quite a good choice. It's not the most exciting car in the world and its design is somewhat confusing. The Stilo is trying to be two different things at once. The 3-door hatchback version was created to appeal to a younger and sportier customer, while the Multivagon was aimed at families who can appreciate a practical car. It wasn't an ideal match in any case, so, despite enjoying an early success having sold 350,000 cars in the first two years, it was removed from the Fiat line-up after less than 6 years on the books. At the beginning it co-existed with the Bravo/Brava and Marea models making it even more confusing for the customer. It is, however, a much better car overall compared to the Marea.
Exterior and Interior
The Stilo hatchback comes in three different body versions ‐ 3-door and 5-door hatchbacks and a 5-door estate. There's a significant difference between the 3-door and 5-door models. The former are trying to be sporty by offering a stiffer ride. They also have less space inside, although both the 3-door and 5-door models should be capable of accommodating 5 adults. The problem with the 3-door models is that regardless of the sportier suspension, they don't really feel sporty enough to catch the attention of younger customers. The bulky sides of the car usually put off customers who are looking for a beautiful car.
The interior design can be described as busy. A great level of sophistication was created to go with its pseudo-sporty look. As a result, it's quite difficult to find the controls when you need them.
The 5-door models, especially the Multivagon are family-friendly and practical. An entirely different suspension makes for a placid and pleasant ride. The cars are roomy and comfortable, the driver's position cannot be faulted too. With folded seats it has a luggage space holding up to 1500 litres of luggage. Add the convenient low boot entry (especially after the 2003 redesign) and you have a perfect work-horse for active families.
The car has got a sound body and was awarded 4 stars at the EuroNCAP safety tests.
Performance and Economy
The Punto doesn't even weigh a ton while the Stilo is a 1.7-ton whopper. With the 1.2-litre engine it feels just like a pedal car, you just want to get out and give it a push. The Abarth modification is a treat but it is thirsty and expensive to insure.
The 1.9-litre diesel is the most sensible choice for this type of car. The diesel Multivagon can manage 61mpg on the highway and 37mpg in the city. You cannot even wish for more from a car that is bigger and roomier than a Volkswagen Golf.
If you're looking for a cheaper petrol Stilo, choose from one of the 1.4 or 1.6-litre engines. You cannot really justify buying a 1.8-litre version because for the few extra "horses" you're left with a higher fuel bill. If the Stilo looks like a sports car to you, go straight for the 2.4-litre Abarth version. It's a forceful engine and you're bound to like it.
Like to Drive
For a car that's trying to be sporty, there's not enough steering finesse or controlled cornering to match the image. It's just a very average car with a very average handling. The Multivagon if used as prescribed, will make a good family car because you don't expect too much of it anyway. Just remember not to take it too fast around sharp corners
Faults and Repairs
It suffers from the usual Fiat faults ‐ the smaller engines are overheating and the suspension will start making noise after some 40 ‐ 50,000 miles. One thing to keep an eye on is the gearbox ‐ listen for unhealthy sounds when buying a used Fiat Stilo.