Fiat Linea T-Jet Plus road test

The Fiat Linea T-Jet Plus combines plenty of luxury features and power at a price that’s quite attractive. Here’s a full road test of the Fiat Linea T-Jet 1.4.

 

Rolled out in early 2009, the Fiat Linea was meant to be the Italian marquee’s comeback vehicle in India. Its gorgeous styling set our hearts on fire, but not so much the sales charts.

Following reports and feedback about the mid-sized sedan’s slightly underpowered engine, Fiat decided to give it a fresh pair of wings—a 114 PS turbocharged petrol mill—and suffixed T-Jet to its moniker. That’s up 24 PS from the regular 1.4 litre FIRE engine, and has a segment-leading 21.1 kgm of torque.

fiat linea t-jet road test photo
Photo: Fiat Linea road test

DWSAuto road-tested the Fiat Linea T-Jet to find out if the new wings will help the sedan fly off showroom shelves. Also, does the new turbocharged powerplant give the Linea enough firepower to look rival Honda City in the eye? Read on for our full-review of the LInea T-Jet.

The looks…

fiat linea road test pic
Photo: Linea T-Jet looks the same as the regular Linea

Before the actual road test, let’s take a good look at the styling of the car here. The Fiat Linea continues to be a great looker in its T-Jet avatar. From the massive, split grille to the neatly incorporated tail lamps, the Linea is a pleasure to view from any angle. The design being still fresh, Fiat decided not to fiddle around too much with the exterior. Subtle changes include bigger 16-inch alloy wheels shod with fatter tyres, a chrome-tipped exhaust that adds a dash of sport, and a T-Jet logo on the boot lid.

linea road test interior pic
Photo: Fiat Linea interior

Inside, too, not much has changed though there are subtle improvements to the quality, which can be instantly felt and is comparable to a higher segment car. Plastics feel soft to touch and of a considerably higher grade. Chrome inserts on the two-tone dashboard and wide leather seats are business-class stuff. The large windscreen of the Linea offers sweeping views ahead and makes the interior appear roomy; but it’s set too far back, making it hard to judge the front in stop-and-go traffic during our road test.

fiat linea t-jet interior picture
Photo: The T-Jet's cockpit

Oddly, the steering is set too close to the driver and can be adjusted only for rake and not reach. One can push the seat further back to resolve the issue. The air-conditioning of the Linea T-Jet, too, has received a boost thanks to a new compressor; cool air is now evenly distributed across the cabin.

Fiat’s Blue&Me system picked up our commands even when we tried to fool it with Punjabi and Malayali accents!

Fiat’s proprietary Blue & Me technology allows you to sync phones for taking calls, listening to music or even read out new messages via Bluetooth. It’s fantastically intuitive and is surprisingly good at recognizing Indian accents. It even picked up our commands when we tried to fool the system with Punjabi and Malayali accents!

However, there are reports of the message reader not being compatible with a lot of new high-end phones, though it worked fine with our Samsung Wave. The USB port is placed deep inside the dashboard—done keeping in mind the cabin aesthetics—and almost went unnoticed.

Other safety and luxury features of the Linea T-Jet include ABS, dual airbags, rear air-con vent, power mirrors, steering mounted controls, audio remote and remote locking.

 

Fiat Linea T-Jet: The engine…

 

fiat linea t-jet engine photo
Photo: The Linea T-Jet's engine

We’re familiar with diesel turbo motors but the Fiat Linea T-Jet is the first car in its segment to sport a turbocharged petrol engine. And we must admit, the fast engine response did take us by surprise, the first time we slotted the car in gear. The T-Jet flew off the tarmac with a fair bit of wheelspin, perhaps, indicative of the amount of turbo power under the hood.

fiat linea t-jet photo gallery
That’s not to say the T-Jet is a drag racer. In fact, it’s more of a long-distance runner keeping up a steady, controlled pace, but nothing overtly infuriating. Once the turbo is engaged, somewhere around the 2,000 rpm mark, things begin to get exciting. But there is no drama involved: power delivery is linear across the rev band and the T-Jet carries on gaining speed with a willowy poise.The ride…The driving position is very comfortable for the Fiat Linea driver, with the large glass area offering good all-round visibility, though the A-pillars are forward set. The small quarter glasses help around corners, while the electric outside rear view mirrors placed on the door offer excellent rear vision. There is a nice dead pedal to rest the left foot on long drives. During our road test, we found that steering response is pretty sharp, and the car turns in pretty quickly.Inside, too, the T-Jet's cabin is exceptionally quiet. The ride quality is smooth but if you’re driving around town, the longer nose somewhat rids the car of its suppleness. The gearbox is slick though it does feel notchy occasionally, especially when quickly shifting from second gear to third and back. Bigger wheels of the LInea T-Jet have enhanced ground clearance by 5mm to 170mm, which in effect helps the T-Jet glide over bumps with ease. Disc brakes on all four wheels (a segment-first) improve stopping power, and the response is noticeably sharper.The Fiat Linea T-Jet and the T-Jet Plus (the one with 16” alloys) come with automatic climate control as standard, and it did a good job of cooling the interiors quickly and maintaining a comfortable 22 degrees inside the cabin.The dual headlamps on the Linea have a fantastic spread of light, and the high beam has a pretty long throw, making highway drives at night quite easy to handle. And the boot can swallow a huge amount of luggage. The rear seats also flip down allowing larger objects to also be stored halfway into the cabin (or you could also turn it into a nice flat double bed, as we did briefly). The boot area is also illuminated.Photo: Comfy rear seats and useful armrest

Legroom in the rear seat is generous, with decent under thigh support and perfectly angled backrests. The center armrest sports a couple of nice cup holders too.

So how does the Fiat Linea T-Jet stack up against the new Honda City, which still is the more powerful of the two, with a 1.5-litre i-VTEC engine that belts out 118 bhp. In the comfort department, it’s at par or perhaps even a little better. But the City is still the peppier of the two. The Linea is no slouch either, getting up to 100 kmph in an impressive 11.5 seconds.

The mileage…

 

fiat linea t-jet miscellanneous photos
Photos clockwise from top left: The centre console, vanity mirror, open arm-rest and power window switches

Ok, we have to admit, we were not particularly frugal in our driving style while road-testing the Linea. Yes, it’s a car that tempts you to blip your right foot to feel that surge of torque again and again. Yet, with all that spirited driving, the car showed a decent 10.2 kmpl average consumption on the multi-information display.

 

What to expect…

This is a car that lives up to its tagline – admiration guaranteed – and will draw admiring gazes wherever it goes. With the Linea T-Jet, Fiat has fixed whatever issues the existing Linea had and then some more. If you’re looking at a car that’s stylish, is fun to drive, and has an equipment list that desires to please, the Linea T-Jet is worth considering. Priced at Rs 8.99 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi), the T-Jet Plus offers more value than the Honda City “V” trim, which doesn’t even have a CD player and climate control. The Linea is loaded and is pretty much one of the best all-round luxury cars you could pick up on the right side of Rs. 10 lakh, now that Tata is handling Fiat’s sales and service.

Fiat Linea T-Jet technical specifications

 

Price: Rs. 8.99 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi)

Fiat Linea T-Jet 1.4 Specifications
Engine 1.4 litre, tubocharged, DOHC, 16 valve
Fuel Petrol
Displacement 1368 cc
Power 114 PS @ 5000 rpm
Torque 207 Nm @ 2200 rpm
Gearbox 5-speed manual
Suspension front Independent, coil spring, stabilizer bar
Suspension rear Torsion beam, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Brakes front Ventilated disc
Brakes rear Discs
Tyres 195/60 R15 or 205/55 R16 (alloys)
Length 4560 mm
Width 1730 mm
Height 1487 mm
Wheelbase 2603 mm
Kerb weight 1230 kg
Ground clearance 165 mm / 170 mm
Boot capacity 500 litres
Fuel tank capacity 45 litres
Turning radius 5.55 m

Standard features of Fiat Linea T-Jet

Double Crank Protection System, Driver Seat Belt Warning, Immobilizer With Rolling code, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with EBD, 3- Point ELR Seat Belts with Pretensioners & Load Limiter, Dual Stage Front Driver & Passenger Airbag, Tilt Steering, Internal roof light with dimming effect, All four Power Windows with Auto Down Function, Boot Lamp, Follow Me Home Headlamps, Remote tailgate open (electric), Rear Defogger with timer, Illuminated Vanity Mirror both sides, Rear Roof Light, External Temperature display, Map reading lights, Electrically Adjustable Outside Rear View Mirrors, Remote Foldable Key with boot release, Driver Seat height Adjust, Keyless Entry, Rear AC Vents, Rear armrest with glove box & cup holders, Collapsible Rear Sun Curtain, Automatic Climate Control, Integrated CD / MP3 & FM Player, with Bluetooth and USB Port, Steering Mounted Audio, Bluetooth Controls, Rear Dual Fog lamps, Front Fog Lamps, Chrome Door Handles, Body-side Molding, Alloy Wheel 16″ (T-Jet Plus), Steel Roof Antenna, Chrome Exhaust Tip, Leather Upholstery (T-Jet Plus), Sunglass holder,  Leather wrapped steering wheel & gear knob, Seat pockets.