Fiat Linea received a more powerful variant to its range ‘125 S’, delivering upgraded power akin to its name. Based on the regular Linea, it sources power from the 1.4 litre T-jet petrol engine calibrated to produce 123bhp of power as against the 87bhp developed by the regular petrol variant. Other than this, the sedan comes in two more variants powered by the 1.4 litre petrol and 1.3 litre Advanced Multijet diesel engine. Aesthetically, it looks largely similar to the standard model, sporting additional features.
Rivalling the likes of Hyundai Verna and Honda City in the C segment, Linea gets a new 123bhp 1.4 litre T-Jet petrol engine making it the most powerful sedan in the segment. The diesel range draws power from the 1.3 litre Multijet engine pumping out 90bhp and petrol variants plonk a 1.4 litre Fire petrol engine making 87bhp. All these engines are mated to the five-speed manual transmission missing out on the auto-box. On the feature front, Linea sports a new 5-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Map my India navigation, Bluetooth, USB and AUX connectivity. It also comes with goodies including rear view camera, dual stage driver airbags, rear disc brakes and ambient lighting.
EXTERIOR AND LOOK ;
This soon to be launched vehicle features exclusive cosmetics such as blackened roof, outside mirrors and alloy wheels. We can also see exclusive badging of the variant on its boot-lid.Moving on with the existing version of Linea, it looks more like a budget car. Although it received facelift in 2014, the Linea failed to garner attention, thanks to its sobered front facia.Its headlight cluster bears a dual barrel design featuring conventional lamps. The manufacturer should have offered projector headlamps instead of dual parabola headlamps. Most other rivals of Linea including the likes of Ciaz and Verna come with projector headlamps.The redesigned radiator grille has dated design with extensive chrome treatment to its surround strip. There are two horizontal strips in it garnished with glossy black. The company’s emblem is positioned in the center of grille.
Its front bumper is the only thing that could attract you. It looks drastically different from its predecessor and has bigger air vents and a premium design rendering a class look to the car. Unlike other sedans, there is an extensive use of chrome that adds to the sophistication.The side profile of the car has a similar design to that of its predecessor or perhaps, it looks precisely the same as its earlier version. Even the design of alloy wheels remains the same. Its base and mid-range variants get 15-inch steel rims, while the range topper Emotion gets 16-inch alloy wheels.As we all know, Fiat has displayed the performance version of its family sedan, the Linea 125s at the Auto Expo 2016. This car is seen with black alloy wheels and red disc brake calipers exuding the sense of sportiness.
The rear profile of the car has a contemporary look like every other C segment sedan. We can see a great amount of chrome on the boot-lid and bumper as well. The taillight cluster too has chrome underlining that makes for a rich appeal.This contemporary sedan measures 4596mm in length, 1730mm in its width and stands at a height of 1487mm. It also has a long wheelbase of 2603mm, but Ciaz has the longest wheelbase in this class with 2650mm.Linea is more like a classy looking sedan without much of modern design traits. However, its build quality, fit and finish is something better than other conventional sedans of today.
INTERIOR AND COMFORT ;
The cabin of the Fiat Linea 125 S though is a tad different than what you are used to seeing so far. While the general layout is the same, the age-old music system has been replaced with a fantastic 5-inch touchscreen system that supports navigation as well. Our top-end trim had leather seats, climate control, auto headlamps and wipers, a rear sun blind, all four auto down power windows with auto up for the driver, a rear AC vent and cruise control. The auto wipers though were a tad glitchy. It worked for the first day I had the car with me. For the next two days, even if it was pouring, the wipers didn’t work unless manually activated. Once you do this and revert to the auto setting, they will work just fine. Strange.
But what is worthy of mentioning is the music system. Ignore the ‘small screen’ for this segment and you will notice a crisp unit and good speakers. In many cars, the Bluetooth calling experience requires you to turn up the volume. The Fiat, however, was loud and crisp and sometime even required me to turn down the volume when not surrounded by honking traffic. It really is a good effort from Fiat’s end.
The front seats are supportive and kept me comfortable during the entire course of the test. The rear seat with a centre armrest in place is a tad cramped, especially for someone taller like me on the headroom front. Anis, who is 5’6″, could sit comfortably though (as evident from the photos). The 500-litre boot space is big enough. Speaking of which, Fiat could have added more useable storage spaces. In this digital age, there wasn’t any place to keep my smartphone and wallet. The glovebox is also small and can barely hold a few papers. The slim door pockets too can’t hold one-litre water bottles. Build quality is decent, but the glovebox closing action feels flimsy.
ENGINE AND GEARBOX ;
Fiat offers Linea with two engine options a 1.4-litre FIRE petrol power mill and a 1.3-litre multijet diesel power mill. Both engines have been placed transversely under the hood and use a 5-speed manual transmission to deliver power to front wheels. The petrol versions of the car are powered by a 1.4-litre FIRE petrol engine that displaces 1368cc to deliver power worth 91PS against a peak torque of 115Nm. A lag may be felt at higher speed as the engine can manage to pull the 1240kgs kerb weight of the car at lower speeds only. But that doesn’t mean it is slow, the car speedily accelerates from 0-100kmph speed in just 16 seconds and attains a top speed of 165kmph. The diesel version of the car, on the contrary, is powered by a 1.3-litre 16 valve engine whose power and performance is enhanced by Multijet and Dual OverHead Camshafts (DOHC). The DOHC and Multijet not only enhances the efficiency of this engine but also help in improving its performance. The engine smoothly manages to delivers power worth 86PS along a maximum torque of 203Nm. The Variable Geometry Turbocharger (VGT) supports the engine’s performance and helps it in gliding from rest to 100kmph speed within 15 seconds. The diesel version of Fiat Linea carries ability to attain a maximum speed of 170kmph.
Out of the two fuel options offered with this sedan it is its diesel version that makes it especially proud in terms of mileage. Fiat Linea delivers an ARAI rated fuel efficiency of 20kmpl with its diesel engine. The fuel tank of the car bears a capacity to store 45-litres of fuel in one go which means with the diesel version you can easily travel a distance of 900kms in one go. The petrol version on the other hand delivers mileage of 15kmpl as certified by ARAI. The range of distance that can be covered via this version with a full tank is 675kms, not bad considering its cost and
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.
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.
Safety standards of this sedan are at par with other best-selling sedans. Thatâ€™s because of its sturdy build quality and features it has. Even the base versions in the line-up gets automatic door locking facility, fire prevention system and an engine immobilizer with rolling code. Also, they have features like double crank prevention system and central door locking. The mid range and the top-spec variants get all-four disc braking mechanism as standard (T-Jet petrol version only). In addition to these, they also have dual stage driver airbag with early crash sensor and a front passenger airbag as well.
The Linea was always a good sedan, with decent engines, a solid build quality and lots of Italian flair. Those qualities have carried over to the 125 S, and additionally, now there’s more power, resulting in an even better driving experience, and the oh-so-in-demand touchscreen. Add to this, a competitive price of Rs 10.46 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). However, recommending one is a tricky affair, because all Fiat cars are ultimately let down by a harrowing ownership experience. The sales and after-sales service infrastructure for Fiat cars are not the best, which is a caveat to bear in mind.