Despite being very Italian in nature, Fiat still find its cars struggle hard to sell in numbers against the Maruti and Hyundai in India. Fiat sells a lot of its 1.3L Multijet diesel engine to various brands, that it seems almost every diesel car running in India are being deployed with the same. Selling that same Linea since 2009, a round of applause must be raised for Fiat for not carving out significant change during those past five years. Available in three engine options, 89bhp naturally aspirated 1.4L petrol, 112bhp 1.4L turbo-petrol (T-Jet) and the very favourite 1.3L Multijet diesel of 92bhp; turning down the petrol versions, we asked Fiat to send us a 1.3L Multijet diesel powered new 2014 Linea facelift for a test drive. And mentioned here are the first hand details we drawn on it when laid our hands on a one fine day.
On the front, it is a very much sophisticated and very Italian car on every bit. It got all the boxes ticked right by deploying chrome stark everywhere. The front grille received dual slats in chrome, while on the downside fog lamps and that whole lip spoiler, inclusive of air dam, from one end to another is done with that metal-kind shinning flair. However, it was easily remarkable the 2014 model is all new, and is Linea too. Must say, the black inserts on the backdrop of chrome structures is working impeccably, can be only thought by Italians.
Moving inside, the cabin is completely revamped. It is refreshed and feels airy, not because the windows are enlarged, but the fabric and colour scheme used are adding value to it. Beige and black colored dashboard, nifty audio system, finer plastic grains, new console are the things to talk about. Yet the digits on the coveted floating hooded new dials may fall tough to read when on zest, but in still image they do feel super. Those bonks-type oozed out dial enclosure to speedo is the perfect fit. And the most remarkable change that this new car got is the ambient lighting, which makes its customers feels special during night. The model that we were driving was the Emotion variant of Linea facelift, where its seat fabric is meant to be matched to the leather quality, which it doesn’t. The covering on steering and gear knob feels true leather, but not on the other components of car. Front passenger gets an armrest and some cubby holes all around. The space chink that was one the top of dashboard is of more utility, which can be used for keeping sunglasses and other tit-bits on the go.
The bottle holder and mid-size door pockets are of great utility for front row too. The knee room wasn’t that generous to the tall person like me. Meanwhile, on the rear, the seats were bolstered with great comfort. Leg room and thigh support find interests with short-heighted, instead of the long ones. Central armrest with cup holders completes the pinnacle. The rear AC vents doesn’t seem making an exception to the ongoing trend. Needed not to forget, the door panels were carried over but the quality feels better. The last and the least not-so-liked feature of the 2014 Linea inside cabin remain the regular ‘power-windows’. They are not anti-pinch, so children on the drive shall be taken care of while rolling the windows up. The top end variant also gets a sun-down cover for rear wind-shield.
On rear bench, there too are number of cosmetic changes. Major one is the change in number plate fixture. Earlier it was marked on the bumper, now shifted to the boot lid. The rear bumpers inclusive of front bumpers are revamped. With that minute tweaking Fiat managed to slap a one more chrome strip on the rear bumper, in addition to the side chrome skirts, for an additional price-value proposition factor. The boot lid too gets a complete makeover. The boldly encrypted LINEA over number plate enclosure is found making more promises than the brand itself. And if we aren’t wrong then the tail lamp cluster too are new, as it was fitted with one more diode which was touted for the highway driving. It remains sharp all the time, and warns other drivers like that of the fog lamps. Boot space is quite generous, but what we noticed is the Fiat sedan received hydraulic suspension for the opening of tail gate.
On the safety front, the Linea isn’t a safety-vault cocooned car, but it has enough of it to delight an average Joe. ABS with EBD, passenger and driver airbag, reverse parking sensor, and more importantly the safety-belt alarm are the ones to be named in the list.
Drive and handling experience remains tried and tested of Linea throughout the time for 1.3L Multijet. Though, already the brand made no changes in the drivetrain, so hitting the mark and attending the curve walks in through that same old road-sticky manner. There is a turbo lag till 2000rpm, but even after that the boost doesn’t comes out as what it is been expected of. Steering gives a bulky feel, but the good old good suspension eases up bumps-jumps. The potholed-filled tarmacs don’t bother either, because the ground clearance is also notched to 190mm. So, if by mistake u hit a speed-breaker at the speed of 45kmph, like what we had done accidentally, it would only grace a hitch and not the screeched or dents. Rain-sensing wipers and automatic headlamps appear of an important aide, while the top player in the list remains that “Cruise Control”, which is the first in segment. 2014 Linea facelift is done with front discs and rear drum, except the one variant T-Jet that gets discs on all four. We tried to hit all the best on it, but couldn’t find it manageable to drift it on roads, due to lack of power despite bestowed with the Turbo. But when rolled it out on the dirt, drifting was a child’s play. Now seriously, the city driving made keep shifting between the cogs, so to upkeep with the inner roads one needs to keep his temper control in composition with the gearbox. Even the open-stretches and highways feels to be better outdone by others, because of the lack of sixth gear; if added would have pumped in better power and improved fuel-economy.
Overall, the 2014 Fiat Linea is a good product for the money value. Oodles of chrome, much integrated sophistication, end number of features and Italian style on every deigned cue are the things to talk about. Hence, the turbo lag is making it to stay behind the rivals, but an added feature of Cruise Control manages to sail it swiftly. Modern technicalities and a good music system with all the needful embellished, this car doesn’t needs an additional attention after the showroom. All is done and said, the 2014 Linea is a good job and the carmaker had changed the world of its sedan at a very minimal cost. We love Italians because of their outstanding design than others, which make them to stand separate even in the crowd of a thousand. Hope so, the development on the after-sales service of Fiat must improve sales numbers, likewise the increasing number of its dealerships.