From January 2008 issue

List price when tested: £15,695
Kerbweight: 1435kg
85% match: 1220kg
Max towing weight: 1300kg
Towball limit: 60kg

IF THERE’S A better looking small hatch than the Fiat Bravo, we’d love to see it. Inside and out the Bravo makes most hatchbacks seem dull and uninspiring. However, be more rational about the Fiat and it’s some way behind the likes of the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf.

The cabin may be well made and rests easy on the eye, but there’s not as much as space as in many rivals, specifically in the back. A six-foot passenger will be cramped behind a six-foot driver. There’s enough luggage space for the weekly shop, but the high load lip means lifting heavy items into the boot is more back-straining than it ought to be.

Strong performance

If the Fiat isn’t as practical as some rivals, it gives nothing away when it comes to performance. The 1.9-litre diesel engine is excellent, strong enough to pull the Bravo and a Bailey Ranger 460/2 from 30-60mph in 10.7 seconds. That’s very swift, and means you can overtake with confidence.

The Fiat also performed well in our lane-change test, with the caravan obediently following the car. However, at high speeds on the public road the Bravo needed a few steering corrections to hold a straight and steady course. It’s certainly not unstable, but doesn’t have the glued-to-the-road feel of a Focus or Golf.

Leave the caravan behind and the Fiat’s sporty looks might lead you to expect an entertaining drive. However, while there’s nothing wrong with Bravo’s acceleration, the steering feels vague, the gearbox is clunky and the ride is fidgety.

On the other hand, the Fiat is keenly priced, well equipped and fuel economy is excellent.

We say
Towing: 3/5
Solo: 3/5
Practicality: 3/5
Buying & owning: 4/5

Verdict: 3/5. Great styling but the Bravo isn’t quite as good as it looks.

Find out more about this car at

Braking 30-0mph: 10.3m