We bought the Brava after 15 years and 230k miles with Golf IIs: we looked at VWs and others in the VAG stable, but they were way too expensive. This example was 13 months old, had 7k on the clock and was £6895 from the local dealer - new, they are around £9500.
Engine - we chose the 80 SX to benefit from the VED threshhold and low insurance group (6) - despite this the engine produces 82 bhp max. Be this as it may, you need to have 4k on the rev counter to get anything out of this engine.
Gearbox - nice and slick, not as slick as the Golf's with G50, but give it time... Funny ratios, mph per 1000 are 4.5, 8.3, 13.3, 18, 21: bit of a hole between 2 and 3, and the 5th gear could be a bit taller for economy cruising.
Ride - a bit choppy - not as refined as, say, a Peugeot 306, a SEAT Leon or a Renault Megane. No worse than the Golf II!
Handling - fine - sharp enough for what I want, no nasty surprises yet!
Comfort: OUGHT to be very good, and first impressions favourable - ergonomically designed at Loughborough University etc etc., but I have to say that despite this and the adjustability in 3 planes and an adjustable steering wheel, I am getting a very stiff right arm and shoulders after just 20 minutes driving. I guess it's a question of experimentation, but I never had this trouble in the Golf, even when its seat was not adjusted optimally because of having to take piles of children's stuff to uni. Anyone out there got any ideas? (Does FIAT UK read this stuff?).
Economy - fine - 40+mpg easily attainable, probably more when the engine has loosened up a bit.
Goodies - regrettable there are not more e.g. remote central locking, courtesy light delay, just because it is the little engine.
Radio instructions quite incomprehensible, a shame when FIAT have put so much effort into devising a sophisticated piece of kit.
Visibility - takes getting used to, but it only takes a test drive to find out whether the car is easy to see out of. There has to be some trade off for Brava's stunning good looks.
Dealer service - so far so good. My neighbour has had FIATs for the past 20 years from the dealer where we got ours, and has been very well satisfied. We had a problem with a sticking seat belt and it was dealt with without quibble.
Generally, very early days yet. It seems it would be a good idea to change the cambelt religiously at 40k/miles, but I don't know if others' experience of snapping belt apples to the FIRE engine.