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New Fiat Linea: Mind blowing looks, amazingly powerful

December 18, 2013 09:34 IST

New Fiat Linea: Mind blowing looks, amazingly powerful

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Arup Das

It is noisy, the gear box has a mind of its own but then it has a heck of a pacy engine. We are talking about the second coming of the Fiat Linea T-Jet.

The first set of questions directed towards me was: "Is Fiat still launching new cars? Why even get into the details? Who buys a Fiat?"

Unfortunately, all these are valid queries. Sure Fiat's cars are solidly built, packed with features and are even good looking but with servicing a disaster, and with limited sales network (its earlier tie-up with Tata Motors was nightmarish for the company), many are sceptical about the Italian car maker's future in India.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Fiat

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New Fiat Linea: Mind blowing looks, amazingly powerful

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In 2009, the gorgeous Linea was launched in the country, and much was expected from the sedan as it came with many class-leading features.

But history repeated itself and the curse of Fiat (do Uno, Palio, Siena ring a bell?) refused to be expiated.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Fiat

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New Fiat Linea: Mind blowing looks, amazingly powerful

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In 2010, the company decided it was time to take a gamble and go the sporty way. So was unveiled the turbo-charged Linea T-Jet.

It was a bold move as everyone loved "the idea" of a fast sedan that could double up as a practical everyday mule.

But as we all know, timing is everything and this is where Fiat shot at its own feet - the demand then was, and still is, for powerful diesel saloons, not a petrol-propelled vehicle. The sales promises proved a mirage.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Fiat
Tags: Linea , Fiat

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New Fiat Linea: Mind blowing looks, amazingly powerful

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With perspectives changing three years down the line, and carmakers not shying from launching petrol engines, Fiat has given a new lease of life to the Linea T-Jet.

Is it a new and improved car? Did the old T-Jet need any serious changes? Or was it just the market's mindset which needed to be changed?

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Photographs: Courtesy, Fiat
Tags: Linea , Fiat

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New Fiat Linea: Mind blowing looks, amazingly powerful

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The 1.4-litre engine of the new Fiat is fairly old-school because it is audible and lacks the finesse which we are used to in modern cars.

Is it annoying? Not really, since the music can drown out the noise.

Once touted as the most affordable sedan, the sub Rs 10-lakh turbo-charged sedan dampens enthusiasm with its docile pick up.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Fiat
Tags: Fiat , Linea

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New Fiat Linea: Mind blowing looks, amazingly powerful

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As the speedometer needle moves up, you can feel more of the engine noise rather than the pace increasing. But when you are at 1,500-2,000 rpm, the turbo kicks in and transforms the Linea into a mean machine.

The lag sorely tests your patience levels, but some time later, the free-flowing power lets you coast at 120 kmph if traffic permits.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Fiat
Tags: Linea

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New Fiat Linea: Mind blowing looks, amazingly powerful

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The Linea's Mr Hyde side can be frustrating as the tallish gear ratios and the high revving engine make driving a bit of challenge during rush hour. The mid-range power band is where the car is the happiest.

The Linea has always been a looker and the new avatar's looks haven't been meddled with. It is a big car and its majestic dimensions allow enough legroom space for everyone.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Fiat

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New Fiat Linea: Mind blowing looks, amazingly powerful

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But if you are tall then the sloping C-pillar and the roof line can somewhat cramp your headroom space.

It is advisable to have only two rear passengers as the middle space can be uncomfortable with an arm rest.

The top-of-the-line T-Jet variant, Emotion, comes fully loaded with amenities like ABS, dual airbags, climate control, multi-information display, Bluetooth connectivity (Blue & Me), rear AC vents, follow-me-home headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlamps and anything else you can think of for this segment.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Fiat
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New Fiat Linea: Mind blowing looks, amazingly powerful

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The previous T-Jet model was great in handling, but had the tendency to scrape the floor.

Fiat has increased the car's ground clearance, which is a practical decision, but this has led to ungainly proportions.

The fallout: the handling edge has been blunted. The Linea, however, continues to provide a smooth ride quality.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Fiat
Tags: Linea , Fiat

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New Fiat Linea: Mind blowing looks, amazingly powerful

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The new T-Jet is not just about speed, flashy 16-inch alloys and impressive looks. It also returns an impressive fuel average of 15.7 kmpl - a welcome relief in the era of tight wallets.

Of course, if you plan to go all leaden-footed, the fuel economy will not bring a smile on your face.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Fiat
Tags: Linea

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New Fiat Linea: Mind blowing looks, amazingly powerful

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What needs a serious upgrade in the T-Jet is the cabin design and the quality of the plastics. The diffident gear stick too gets a thumbs down.

It is a great car if you want to talk with the wind but we advise you to get to know you Fiat service manager better as he or she may be the actual difference between an excellent experience and a challenging one.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Fiat
Tags: Fiat , Linea

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New Fiat Linea’s specifications

Engine: 1368cc 16 valve petrol

Power: 114 PS @ 5000 rpm

Torque: 207 Nm @ 2200 rpm

Mileage: 15.7 kmpl (SIAM fuel economy consumer information)

Price: Rs 894,000 (Ex-showroom, Delhi)


Photographs: Courtesy, Fiat

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