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Recharged with energy

Fiat used an engine overhaul as an excuse to ramp up the Linea’s performance and make its interiors better.

autos Updated: Nov 10, 2010 17:07 IST
Ouseph Chacko
Ouseph Chacko
Hindustan Times

The Linea’s 89 bhp engine felt hugely underpowered. Fiat had to bring it to a level where it stood a chance to succeed. In comes the 23 bhp turbocharger boost on the same engine.

New power
The 1.4-litre petrol motor with the turbocharger bolted onto it develops 112 bhp and 21.1 kgm of torque. The European spec T-Jet makes a claimed 120 bhp but Fiat has detuned the Indian engines to 112 bhp due to fuel quality and efficiency.

The 21.1 kgm of torque peaks at 2200 rpm, when the turbo is working hard, but you can feel the surge as early as 2000 rpm. This abundance of torque and strong mid-range performance are what separate this motor from normally aspirated engines.

Flat out to a hundred takes just 11.05 seconds. In terms of driveability, the T-Jet aces over its rivals. Keep the engine in its mid-range and that constant wave of torque, as the turbo does its magic, makes the drive effortless. The engine, though, isn’t as free-revving and feels strained over 5500 rpm on its way to the 6400 rpm redline.

In the wrong gear in city traffic, the engine will catch you napping due to the noticeable turbo-lag. You have to be in the right gear to keep the power on tap. The T-Jet laps up miles in a relaxed manner, and the engine runs at a lazy 2000 rpm in fifth gear when it is doing 80 kph. Overtaking is just a small dab on the accelerator, and then the speeds you can do on the highway are mind-boggling.

The surge in power hasn’t much affected efficiency. Fiat has not just worked on the engine but also given the T-Jet an all-round package. Bigger 16-inch wheels, wider tyres, disc brakes all around and a higher ground clearance. Also retained is Linea’s weighted steering, good body control and grip levels. The ride is absorbent, well damped and refined. It behaves better than cars many times its Rs 8.99 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) price.

Fiat has also spruced up the insides. There’s ample space and the cabin’s rough plastics have been replaced by softer textures and smooth edges. Leather seats have been added to the existing kit which includes Bluetooth connectivity, airbags, ABS, power mirrors, rear air-con vent, climate control and remote locking.

The air-conditioning system has also been improved, with a new compressor, bigger fan and a new shroud in the engine bay. Linea’s punchy engine may not have the smoothness of a Honda but it makes up by offering effortless performance. It’s more expensive than the practical diesel Multijet Linea. But the fun factor and driving experience is what this car is about.

Fuel economy
The T-Jet gave us a respectable fuel efficiency of 10.3 kpl in the city and 15.4 kpl on the highway.

Price: Rs 8.99 lakh (Ex-showroom Delhi)

Length: 4560 mm
Width: 1730 mm
Height: 1487 mm
Wheelbase: 2603 mm
Boot volume: 500 litres
Ground clearance: 170 mm
Kerb weight: 1230 kg
Engine: 4 cyls in-line, 1368cc, turbo-petrol
Installation: Front, transverse
Power: 112 bhp at 5000 rpm
Torque: 21.1 kgm at 2200 rpm
Power to weight: 91.05 bhp per tonne
Gearbox: 5-speed manual
Economy Test City: 10.3 kpl
Highway: 15.4 kpl
Average: 12.8 kpl
Tank size: 45 litres
Tank range: 580 kilometres
Front brakes: Ventilated discs
Rear brakes: Solid discs
Anti-lock: Yes
Tyres: 205/55 R16

First Published: Nov 10, 2010 15:22 IST