Fiat Linea T-Jet: First Drive
In its latest avatar, the Fiat Linea T-Jet offers a larger slice of excitement with a world renowned powerplant. Dilip Desai takes the car for a quick spin to see if it has bettered itself
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It could be conveniently said that the Fiat Linea was the first step in the reformation and resurgence of the Italian marque which has had a presence in India for a few decades now. While the Palio was still a car that had a more real world appeal, the model available in India was slightly dated, and nowhere close to the design and style oomph that the Italians have been known to incite amongst car lovers. With the Linea, the company looked to change its image, and to some extent the C-segment sedan game in India – and it would not be inaccurate if we were to say that Fiat managed to do that to an agreeable extent. More heartening than anything was the fact that a properly Italian compact sedan, with the same drop dead gorgeous looks with which it graces streets in Europe, was available to be used and enjoyed by Indian car lovers.
There was a small bit of a problem though. While the widespread opinion amongst car lovers and automotive journalists around the country seemed to be that the engines that were being offered in the car were lacking power, the same powerplants seemed to work just fine on Tata and Maruti Suzuki cars. We traced the problem to gearboxes with ratios inappropriate for Indian driving conditions – they just didn’t work well in cohorts with the engines. The cars were still in line with the tenet that India prefers small, frugal engines, but for a vehicle that had inherently great underpinnings and suspension which imparted it with impressive handling and ride quality, the engine-gearbox combinations were game spoilers to a small extent. The shortcoming though is about to solve itself after a year and a half of the car being around, with the entry of the turbocharged, direct injection 1.4-litre T-Jet engine.
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