New Fiat Linea spotlight – detailed insight

The New Fiat Linea has managed to take an already classy product and make it even more desirable. There are quite a few subtle changes to the New Fiat Linea that make it more stylish and more convenient than before while retaining all the good qualities that the car already had.

Let’s take a look at what the new 2014 New Fiat Linea offers.

Looks and Design

Exteriors

The changes to the exterior have made the car look a lot more contemporary with respect to the competition, although it still retains the elegant lines of the older car as the changes are limited. The front gets a new two-slat rectangular chrome-lined grille that looks bold and replaces the retro-look of the older car. The bumper is all new and has a chrome crease line running across it which complements the grille, running into the new fog lamp housing that now contains round fog lamp units.

In profile you will notice the new 14-spoke 16-inch alloys that look very sporty on the car. The chunky 205/55 R16 tyres suit the car’s size very well and it looks proportionate. The other change is to the outside rear view mirrors, which now get smart LED turn signal indicators. The original location of the turn signals on the fenders now has the Multijet / T-Jet badges in them.

There is no change to the actual body shell of the car, but because of the new front and rear bumpers the length has increased about 36 mm to 4,596 mm overall, while the wheelbase remains at 2,603 mm, and of course the best ground clearance in its segment at 185 mm (190 mm on the Emotion T-Jet variant).

At the rear, the most significant change to the New Fiat Linea is in the position of the number plate, which now moves to the boot lid. The rear bumper is all new, with a smart chrome strip running its length. It houses four parking sensors just below the strip and a matte-black lower cladding which adds a sporty touch. The top-end T-Jet variant also gets a boot spoiler. The tail-lamps are carried over, but look much better in the new design, and this is also one of the few cars in the segment to offer rear fog lamps.

This is one of the few cars to also feature an underbody engine shield, which helps protect it from stones and scrapes on bad roads.

Interiors

Step into the New Fiat Linea and you’ll immediately notice the new dashboard design. Not only is the design new, but it also gets a nice soft-touch plastic material in a two-tone colour scheme (beige and black). The AC vents get a new design — round vents at the corners and rectangular vents in the centre — above which is a nifty storage box with a sturdy lid. The glove box has a soft-opening mechanism, with a light inside. The ambient lighting is now amber in colour, for the climate control system, the infotainment system and the backlighting of the instrument panel.

The centre console has also changed slightly, with a smaller arm rest making way for a bottle holder just above the rear AC vents. The New Linea also has floor-level AC vents located under the seats in addition to the vent in the centre. Just ahead of the gear lever is a single cup holder and a slot for the Aux-in and USB ports. This is one of the few cars to also sport a dead pedal, which makes it convenient to rest your feet on on long trips. Other nifty storage boxes include a pull-out tray on the dash to the right of the driver and under the small armrest.

Comfort and features

The New Linea gets a few additional features now. It was always a feature-rich car. Intelligent cruise control is a notable addition, operated by a stalk just below the headlamp stalk. Cruise control functions at any speed above 30 kmph, and in any gear except first and reverse. Twist it to turn it on, push it upward to set or increase speed and downward to decrease speed, press the “RES” button to resume.

It also gets audio-only reverse parking sensors. The loudness of the beeper can be adjusted using the car settings menu. This is one of the few cars to have a very detailed car systems settings menu, using a car-area network, where different systems talk to each other. The multi-information display located in between the speedometer and the tachometer throws up a variety of alerts and warnings, and displays a range of information including outside temperature, two sets of instant fuel consumption, two sets of readings for average fuel consumption, average speed, range, odometer, two tripmeters, speed warnings (which can be set using the settings menu), settings for the door locks, individual door open warnings, hand brake, cruise control warning, settings for the passenger airbag, etc. It also displays any faults the car may have, such as with the engine or brake pads.

The MID also acts as the display for the Blue&Me Bluetooth phone system that allows up to five different phones to be paired with the car. The New Linea features voice commands that allow a user to make and receive calls, and it can read out text messages from a paired phone. All these settings can be adjusted using the settings and +/- buttons on the dashboard to the right of the steering, next to the front / rear fog lamps and headlamp levelling buttons.

The infotainment system features CD, MP3, Aux-in, FM radio and USB functionality with a four-speaker and two tweeter system. Above the infotainment system is a set of tiny buttons, one of which operates the boot (electronic boot release). The key also has another button to open the boot.

The driver’s seat in the Emotion and Dynamic variants is height adjustable. The steering on all variants gets a tilt-adjustment feature. The T-Jet top-end variants also get floor lighting and illuminated door sills. The front seats also get height adjustable seat belts.

In terms of safety features, the New Linea get dual stage driver and passenger airbags in the Dynamic and Emotion variants. These variants also get ABS equipped brakes (the Active T-Jet variant also gets ABS, as the T-Jet petrol variants have all four disc brakes).

One of the key safety features in the New Linea is the crash safety protocol – the car automatically unlocks all doors and turns on the cabin lights in the event of a crash, if the inertia fuel cut-off switch (a safety device located under the glove box) is triggered.

The front door pads get map pockets and bottle holders that can store 1-litre bottles. The driver’s side door console also gets controls for the power adjustable outside rear-view mirrors, and auto-down power windows (driver’s side gets auto-up as well).

The sun shades also get two vanity mirrors on either side which are illuminated – a thoughtful touch. The interior lights have a soft theatre-dimming function to them.

The rear seat of the New Fiat Linea features a drop-down arm rest that has a storage box built into it and two cup-holders that slide out from it. The rear parcel shelf in the Emotion variant also gets a roller sun-curtain as standard.

The Emotion variants all get leather upholstery as standard too, while the Dynamic and Active get fabric seats.

The boot lid of the New Linea feels really hefty and is held up by two gas struts. The boot itself is spacious and can swallow up to 500 litres of luggage.

Performance and handling

The New Linea comes with two engine choices – the T-Jet petrol, which will please enthusiasts looking for a fast sedan and the multijet diesel, which will cater to those looking for a fuel-efficient long-distance cruiser.
The T-jet has a 1,368 cc, four-cylinder, DOHC, 16-valve, turbo-charged petrol engine that puts out 114 PS of power at 5,000 rpm and 207 Nm of torque at 2,200 rpm. It’s the way that this engine delivers its torque that is thrilling. As the rev builds, you get a surge of torque that helps in instant acceleration for overtaking; or simply to have fun. The engine is paired with a five-speed manual transmission with a smooth shift action.

The multijet diesel models come with a 1,248 cc, four cylinder, DOHC, 16-valve, common-rail diesel engine that puts out 93 PS of power at 4,000 rpm and 209 Nm of torque at 2,000 rpm. This motor is a mile muncher and can cruise at three-digit speeds all day long without tiring. It is also an incredibly fuel-efficient motor. This too is mated to a five-speed manual transmission.

The New Linea is one of the most refined cars in its segment. Sound damping and NVH levels are excellent and there is very little engine noise or road noise that can be heard inside the cabin. Attention to detail like cladding under the boot lid and bonnet, thick door seals and good carpeting keep it very plush inside.

The petrol motor is anyway quite silent and with the diesel motor too, you won’t feel any vibrations inside the cabin. The hydraulic-assisted power steering is well-weighted and offers a good feel of the road. It also gives the driver a feeling of confidence around corners by providing good feedback from the road. The car has pretty sharp brakes, which feel reassuring.

The New Linea has a pretty robust suspension, with independent helical coil springs in front and torsion beam with coil springs at the rear, which is slightly on the stiffer side and helps in bad road conditions. It also provides good ride quality at high speeds, keeping the car very stable.

Fuel efficiency

The New Fiat Linea multijet diesel is a very fuel-efficient sedan. It has an ARAI certified fuel efficiency of 20.4 kmpl, and drivers are known to get more than this on long highway trips. The T-Jet petrol variant has a fuel efficiency of 15.7 kmpl, which is now easily achievable consistently because of the addition of cruise control.

Overall

The New Fiat Linea is a plush, luxurious mid-size sedan that will please enthusiasts and mile-munchers alike. It is also a good-looking, classy sedan that gives owners a sense of luxury, but at a very competitive price tag.