1996 Fiat Brava 1.8L petrol EFI from Australia and New Zealand


Good town car, with looks only a mother could love


Suspension was shot when I bought it, but didn't realise it. The shocks were basically pointless and it would hit the stops on large bumps. I test drove it on good roads, and it didn't show through.

Sunroof was a bit temperamental (probably from the light rusting of the guide rails), so I just kept it shut.

Nothing else apart from that. So all in all, a pretty good buy.

General Comments:

I bought it because I saw it cheap and knew it would hold re-sale value when I sold it on. It served its purpose in that sense.

Good car, had it for a while. I found it quite alright in the wet, as I traveled across Arthur's Pass during a torrential rainstorm more than once.

The manual transmission was geared well for around town use and top gear was okay for highway cruising, but it did leave you wanting another gear in there.

Nice town runabout I would say; pretty frugal on the dino juice too.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th February, 2015

1996 Fiat Brava S 1.4 from UK and Ireland


Weird looking piece of junk


The car suffered from a failed timing belt pulley. The engine had to be rebuilt as a result, costing me over £800.

The rear wiper stopped working some time ago. I have not bothered getting it fixed.

The ignition switch feels like it is worn. The same happened to my Punto. The key has to be turned carefully - it doesn't seem to 'connect' if the key is turned too far.

The car had a nasty oil leak, but can't remember exactly what caused it.

Malfunctioning rear lights were caused by a bad earth connection.

The door-handles look as though they are disintegrating.

There's something not quite right about the general running of the engine. It doesn't idle properly from a cold start and can be a little rough at other times too (light throttle openings at steady speeds). The new sensor a garage fitted didn't cure the problem properly.

It isn't dangerous though, as the car accelerates firmly when required to. It also passes the emission test easily and delivers the expected MPG. I've decided to leave it alone for the time being, as I'm used to it. I know exactly how to drive around the car's consistent and very predictable rough behaviour.

General Comments:

In my opinion, the Brava gives the driver a very poor view out; the car is difficult to see out of in all directions. Real care has to be taken at junctions, roundabouts and around pedestrians.

The bulbous shape combines with poor visibility to make parking quite difficult. Many Bravas seem to have parking knocks.

I find the dipped headlights poor in contrast with main beam, which is the best I've known. The contrast is the annoying thing.

The car's performance is acceptable enough, although it isn't particularly fast. I am quite a gentle driver so I find it quite adequate.

I am more than satisfied with the car's cornering ability. It is quite confidence inspiring.

I don't like the car much in a straight line, however. It seems sensitive to wind and the steering, though sharp with plenty of 'feel', doesn't seem very firmly centred.

The driver's sun visor is worse than useless! It has a sloping shape. It blocks the view of the rear-view mirror once positioned down far enough to stop the sun.

The can-holder deserves a special mention. Basically it doesn't. Not when the car is moving anyway. Perhaps Fiat was trying to tell us something about passive safety and about driving with unsecured objects in the car.

The Brava must hold the record for possessing the most brake-light bulbs. My Christmas tree is less generously lit!

I must say that Fiat now do a respectable job of rust-proofing their cars. I remember seeing a Strada which had holes in it at just 4-years old.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 30th April, 2006