Fiat recently launched a stripped-down cheaper version of its mid-size sedan, calling it the Fiat Linea Classic and pitting it directly not just against entry-level compact sedans such as the Maruti Dzire and the Honda Amaze, but also trying to attract buyers of popular premium hatchbacks such as the Maruti Swift, Hyundai i20, Volkswagen Polo and perhaps also getting some of Fiat’s own Punto customers to consider the larger car. Fiat’s own advertising is targetting buyers of premium hatchbacks, and hence this comparison.
Priced at Rs. 5.99 lakh ex-showroom for the petrol Linea and Rs. 6.95 lakh and Rs. 7.51 for the two diesel variants, the Fiat Linea Classic does seem like a tempting choice, and has been attracting a lot of queries. Is it really a much better value-for-money car compared to premium hatchbacks? Here’s a quick head-to-head with four premium hatchbacks. Also see: Fiat Linea Classic launched at Rs. 5.99 lakh
Fiat Linea Classic vs Maruti Swift
Fiat Linea Classic’s overall length: 4560 mm. Maruti Swift’s overall length: 3850 mm. That’s nearly 70 centimetres more car for Rs. 22,000 more. The Maruti Swift ZXI petrol is priced at Rs. 5.77 lakh ex-showroom Delhi, while the Fiat Linea Classic petrol is priced at Rs. 5.99 lakh. The Maruti Swift has a 1.2 litre petrol engine that puts out 86 bhp of power and 114 Nm of torque, with a kerb weight of 1010 Kg, giving it a fairly good power to weight ratio of just under 86 bhp per ton. The Swift also features automatic climate control, electric mirrors, two airbags and ABS – all features that the Fiat Linea Classic does not have. But what the Fiat Linea Classic has plenty of is space – more than enough for five adults and small touches like AC vents for the rear passengers, make it comfortable. The 1.4 litre petrol engine puts out 88 bhp of power and 115 Nm of torque, but with a fairly heavy kerb weight of 1180 Kg, it is at a disadvantage.
The diesel Fiat Linea Classic too compares well price-wise with the Swift diesel. The Swift ZDI is priced at Rs. 6.88 lakh, just about Rs. 7000 lower than the Linea Classic. Both have equal power from the same engine – the 1.3 multijet sourced from Fiat, putting out 74 bhp of power. While this is adequate for the Swift, it’s slightly underpowered for the Linea.
Therefore, if you are a person who loves driving and needs features, especially safety features, the Swift would still be a better choice. Of course, the Linea is better if you want space – and also that feeling of security that comes with a larger, solidly-built car. It also has a huge 500 litre boot compared to just 210 litres for the Swift. See: Maruti Swift diesel road test report
Fiat Linea Classic vs Hyundai i20
Now the Hyundai i20 is known for its plethora of features. Without even getting into the nitty gritty its suffice to say the Hyundai i20 mid-variant and top-end models have more features than the Fiat Linea Classic. But the thing is the Hyundai i20 Asta petrol is nearly Rs. 42,00o more expensive than the Fiat Linea Classic, and the mid-variant Sportz is priced almost similar at 5.95 lakh. The Fiat Linea Classic again plays its trump card of space – where it has significantly more than the i20 and build, where it feels more solidly built than the i20.
However, it lacks features – no ABS, no airbags, only manual AC, and manually adjustable mirrors, no front fog lamps or defogger. All these features are there in the i20 top-end, including full keyless entry, reverse camera, sensors and push-button ignition. But if you want a bigger car, which just looks like it’s much more expensive, the Fiat Linea Classic still makes sense. One could also opt for the Classic Plus diesel at Rs. 7.51 lakh and get things like alloy wheels added to the package – and it would still be cheaper than the i20, which is priced at Rs. 7.64 lakh ex-showroom for the top-end diesel. See: Hyundai i20 road test and review
Fiat Linea Classic vs Volkswagen Polo
The Volkswagen Polo is a pretty premium offering, now with the two new variants – the Polo GT TSI and the Polo GT TDI also joining the line up, taking the price of the Polo above Rs. 8 lakh ex-showroom for both these models. Both cars – the Fiat Linea Classic and the Volkswagen Polo look good. But it boils down to the choice of how much space a buyer needs. The Fiat Linea Classic has plenty more space to offer, and is relatively cheaper as well. The regular Volkswagen Polo petrol Highline is priced at Rs. 5.97 lakh ex-showroom, but the GT TSI is at Rs. 7.99 lakh – of course, you get an automatic transmission and a powerful turbo-petrol engine putting out 105 bhp of power for Rs. 2 lakh extra! And if you look at the diesels, the Fiat Linea Classic and regular Polo Highline diesel are evenly matched on power, but the Linea is heavier. See: Volkswagen Polo video review
Fiat Linea Classic vs Fiat Punto
Now is Fiat shooting itself in the foot with the Fiat Linea Classic? The Fiat Punto Emotion 1.3 diesel is available for Rs. 7 lakh ex-showroom, about the same price as the Fiat Linea Classic. The Fiat Punto 1.4 Emotion petrol is priced at Rs. 6.81 lakh – way more than the Fiat Linea Classic petrol 1.4. Why would anyone want the Punto petrol now? It’s not selling that well anyway. Unless, of course, you really want the Bluetooth infotainment system, airbags, alloys, ABS and other gizmos. The Linea Classic diesel is available at about the same price as the Fiat Punto diesel, but obviously offers far more space – a bigger boot and more interior space. Of course, it’s a choice of space vs safety and convenience features – ABS, airbags, electric mirrors, climate control and Bluetooth infotainment are all features present in the Punto Emotion, while the Linea Classic only offers more real estate with basically the same engine choices.
Also see: 2012 Fiat Linea Dynamic 1.4 petrol video review