2012 Fiat Linea First Drive
2012 Fiat Linea – Introduction:
Days before the beginning of Auto Expo 2012, Fiat India refreshed both their major market players, the Lines and the Punto. The changes are however more of cosmetic and the engine remains the same in both vehicles. Let us run through the Linea first.
2012 Fiat Linea Exteriors:
This not an outright model change, hence exteriors have not been touched except for the new Oceanic Blue shade which I should say, looks part and the increased ground clearance of 185mm up by 15mm from 170mm before. The Linea looked great even before and it is still an eye candy.
2012 Fiat Linea Interiors:
The interior trim in the Linea has been spruced up a bit. The interiors are brighter now in both form and quality. What is new is the feature of all four power windows with Auto Down and Delay feature. The car is as much comfortable as it was previously and some issues regarding the quality of interiors have been sorted now. Though, some issues still persist. The door pockets for example are too small to keep anything but 2-3 sheets of paper. There is a blank space over the central console that looks awkward considering the fact that the already “traffic jammed” speedometer gets the multi function display unit that could have been easily placed here. The same issue regarding the slight displaced steering wheel relative to the driver’s seat, which at the first place seems quite annoying. Then, another issue with the steering wheel is the lack of travel for tilt adjustment. Even at the lowest possible level, it feels that the steering is mounted quite high. Though the seats are height adjustable, but finding a comfortable position to hold the wheel was tough for me. Everything else including the quality of interior plastic quality has been addressed to and the Linea becomes a better car now than before.
2012 Fiat Linea Features:
The car has definitely improved in this department. What comes standard across the range now is an integrated CD/MP3 & FM Player, automatic door locks, electrically adjustable ORVMs, remote keyless entry and follow me home headlamps which is a segment first. It feels good to see such features being incorporated in lower variants too and this shows Fiat’s dedication towards customer satisfaction. To further add, now even the diesel top end gets Premium Leather upholstery and chrome inserts, then there is Auto Climate Control , front and rear armrest with glovebox, three rear headrests, collapsible rear sun protection curtain, rear air-con vents and spacious 500 L boot to say the least.
2012 Fiat Linea Ride and Handling, Engine and Gearbox:
The Linea’s ride quality is good, as was before, and the increased ride height hasn’t had any ill effect. The car runs smoothly over potholes and sound insulated over rough patches.
The engine as per Fiat has been retuned to give better fuel efficiency. The engine seems a little unrefined and lethargic to pick up speed. In fact the major culprit here looks like the gearbox which is a mushy unit in the Linea. It isn’t slick and gear shifts are notchy. Slotting into 5th gear was quite cumbersome. Same goes for the clutch travel. Its way too much and this issue should have been addressed now. At times the diesel engine fails to pick revs and disappoints to say the least.
2012 Fiat Linea First Drive conclusion:
The Linea is a good car overall. Now even the lower variants get some bells & whistles along which is a nice strategy from Fiat. Some issues still persist but the Linea is a great car to be chauffeur driven around. Only the final revised prices will reveal how far does the car propose itself in the widening C Segment sphere now.
2012 Fiat Linea First Drive Pictures:
Source: Fiat Linea