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- Jul 11, 2019
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The Oxford dictionary defines the word ‘Aspiration’ as ‘a hope or ambition of achieving something’. In simpler words, aspiration is what one needs to feel, when he or she needs to put in a tad bit more effort, to get a tad bit more out of their daily lives than they are used to. The Fiat Linea has been sold in India for a few years now, and on a personal level, it is the epitome of aspiration for a car that costs under the Rs.10 Lakh mark. But, with Fiat’s rocky history and a relatively expensive price tag, the Linea has always been out of bounds to most people who are looking for a sensible buy. Now though, there is a solution.
Fiat it seems, has taken a cue out of Ford’s playbook and have launched a ‘cut price’ version of the Linea to appeal to the price conscious Indian market. As per some Fiat officials we spoke to recently, they decided to go the way of chopping the car’s price by removing some of the features in the car rather than invest the time and money to make a sub-4 meter Linea. And thank God for that as it would have ruined the best thing about the Linea: the jawdropingly beautiful sculpted body screams Italiana. With inspiration taken from other brands that Fiat currently owns, the Linea is a perfect blend of everything that the likes of Maserati and Alfa Romeo offer but in a smaller affordable package.
As we mentioned, we are glad about how Fiat has left the exterior almost untouched on the Linea Classic with the exception of a few features. At first glance, the Linea Classic looks like a regular Linea. There are no cues that suggest the missing bits and pieces. But maybe it is due to the fact that the only missing bits on the Linea Classic on the exterior front are the Alloy Wheels and the Fog Lamps. The Linea Classic still feels more expensive than it actually is. With a large satin silver grille flanked by two large dual-barreled headlamps, the Maserati references are quite obvious.
Although the only hint of chrome on the Fiat Linea Classic is the large Fiat logo indented into the radiator grille and a thin chrome surround that envelopes the grille, the Linea still looks just as regal and mature as anything else in it’s segment. As we mentioned, the beautiful multispoke alloy wheels have been replaced by a set of 15 inch steel wheels adoring well-crafted wheel covers however, the Classic Plus variant does get the alloy wheels from the older Linea as standard spec. From the sides too, the Linea is just as before with it’s large proportions accentuated elegantly by the use of well-placed creases and muscular wheel arches making it look classy, especially in the right color.
The interior is where the Linea starts to show a bit of age. The Linea Classic comes with a grey dashboard combined with beige accent pieces and seats. Although the dashboard looks pretty similar to the likes of the Linea T-Jet, there are a lot of features that have gone missing from the Linea Classic. For starters, the Classic gets a conventional knob type air-conditioning setup as compared to the climate control offered in the higher spec cars. The Classic Plus though does get the option of a Climate Control air conditioning system. The infotainment system also seems to have lost out in a big way in order to reduce costs.
The ‘Blue and Me’ Bluetooth is the first thing that seems to have got the boot along with the provision for a USB or AUX input. In today’s day and age where the concept of using a CD is getting old-fashioned, the lack of a USB slot will definitely hurt the Linea Classic. The electronically adjusted rear view mirrors too have been ditched for a set of manually adjusted ones. This though seems to have been done in a bit of a hurry as the adjustment knobs are oddly placed. The Fiat Linea Classic has also lost out on steering mounted controls and gets a slightly reworked instrument binnacle.
The seats too seem to have been reworked and are not as comfortable as we remember them being. On the plus side, the Linea does have a lot of space as compared to the rest of the offerings in a similar price range. The large dimensions of the Fiat Linea Classic become clearer when you pop open the boot. Ali Baba would feel right at home here.
Engine, Transmission and Performance
The biggest change in the new Fiat Linea Classic is the less powerful engine. The Fiat Linea Classic is powered by the same 1.3 Litre Multijet Diesel the featured on the old Linea with one big difference. The Linea Classic’s 1.3 Multijet features the fixed geometry turbo as compared to the older car’s Variable Geometry Turbo (VGT), which means power is down from 90PS to 75PS. Although that is a 17 percent drop in power, the Linea manages to go about it’s business without much to complain. The lack of power is obvious though when the Linea is taken on the open highway, especially at slower speeds and lower gears. Once the Linea does get moving though, the high torque diesel motor provides enough power to appease any conventional Indian driver. Although we haven’t driven the Petrol powered Linea Classic yet, the power plant that powers it remains unchanged with 88PS.
We do have a bit to complain about the slightly spongy feel of the clutch and transmission overall. The clutch pedal throw most certainly needs some more optimization to make the Linea a little easier to drive. The gear shift too feels a little rubbery and is far from being accurate. The gear ratios too need a serious rethink. While first and second gears are extremely short making the powerband almost negligible, the Linea does settle down well from the third gear onwards making the Linea a very good highway cruiser.
Ride And Handling
The Linea was possibly one of the best balances between ride and handling in recent times and the new Fiat Linea Classic is no exception. The Linea boasts superb ride quality and is almost totally unaffected by the quality of the roads we have come to expect in India. Both low and high-speed comfort is equally good and it is this balance that makes the Linea so good to drive. Yes, the Linea does have a slightly firm suspension and you can feel a slight thud once in a while traversing over a pothole at speed but it can be forgiven for the way the Linea Classic handles the twisty bits.
The Linea Classic is so well set up that the level of grip you get out of the Linea Classic border on incredible even while running on the smaller 15 inch wheels. Where one can expect other cars to wash off speed heading into a corner, the Linea grips endlessly. This is where the lack of power is more than obvious and where the likes of the Linea T-Jet score so well on drive pleasure. The increase of ground clearance too hasn’t taken a toll on the Linea’s drive characteristics. The Linea Classic’s hydraulic steering too hasn’t been altered which means the Linea’s impeccable overall handling package remains just as well as it was. The steering response is accurate and begs to be pulled up by the scruff of its neck and thrown around the bends. Lane changing too is accurate and the Fiat Linea Classic feels extremely planted at higher speeds too. The brakes too are extremely reactive and thankfully, Fiat has not negated important things like ABS. Although the Linea is essentially a few years old now, it can still run rings around cars almost twice its price range in terms of ride and handling finesse.
We cannot say this enough but the Linea Classic is beautiful. Possibly one of the most beautiful saloons India will see for a long long time to come considering recent trends in design. The Linea Classic also handles exceptionally well. Infact, it is better than all it’s similarly priced rivals here too. It is a tad low on power compared to it’s predecessors and is definitely far less equipped that its rivals. Going up against the likes of the Honda Amaze and the Swift Dzire might certainly be something that Fiat never intended to do but by placing the new Linea Classic in a similar price bracket they have done just that.
On the whole, the Linea is an excellent value for money package if you are looking for a larger car that doesn’t cost as much as one would imagine. We also think that the new Fiat Linea Classic will do extremely well with the fleet operator segment and hotel owners looking to add a bit of class to their range. And with Fiat gearing up in a big way with over 100 showrooms by the end of this year, we foresee a drastic change in the way the general public perceive Fiats in general.
Recommended Variant : Linea POWER UP 1.3 EMOTION
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