Rare alternative hot hatch that's huge fun
Rev counter died
Gear linkage became excessively "baggy"
Driveshaft oil seal leaked.
My uncle had this car from new, and was looking to change it, and when I changed jobs last year and had to hand my company Focus back, we did a deal and I took it off his hands.
A rare car, the Sedicivalvole is the "hot" Tipo, packing a 2.0 16v (hence its name) engine with 148 bhp, a full Recaro interior and a tasteful bodykit. It's plenty quick enough too - 0-60 somewhere between 7.5 and 8 seconds and about 130 top whack. My Focus (2.0 with a supposed 130 bhp) was nowhere near as quick. Blame modern kerbweights. The 16v Tipo received good reviews from the motoring press at the time who rated it as a worthy contender in the hot hatch arena.
The car handles sharply and has lovely steering. This particular example has the optional Recaro interior which has quite the most comfortable and supportive seats I've experienced. Dash plastics are poor as you would expect from an 80's designed Fiat, but it's actually surprisingly well put together. The car has been very well looked after to be fair, but it's also been used, and has stood up well.
Good as my Focus was, I just find modern cars with their EU silenced exhausts, half a ton of crash regulation kit and gutless emission compliant engines completely anodyne and dull. Hence when I chopped in the company car, I didn't want to join the legions of robots signing their lives away on finance agreements for cars which haemmorhage money faster than a local authority at year end, and which unless you're spending £20k+ are boring to drive.
Hence my interest in this Fiat which, by comparison is rorty, sharp and has a few rough edges. If you were being purely analytical, the Focus (or any of its modern rivals) are far better cars, but if you factor in driver involvement, fun and acoustics, old cars win every time. And the late 80's to early 90's was the golden era of the hot hatch. And the total cost of the car was less than the first few hours depreciation on a new Focus or equivalent.
Yes there have been problems, but as someone not averse to getting my hands dirty, costs have been reasonable. The rev counter died and was simply a loose multiplug on the back of the instrument panel. An hour and zero cost to rectify. The gear linkage needed some new parts and cost me £40 plus a couple of hours, and the driveshaft oil seal I couldn't be bothered with, and my local small garage handled for the princely sum of £100 all in. It starts first time, hasn't let me down, and the galvanised bodywork still looks good.
If you fancy something a bit different that's a grin a minute to drive, but still perfectly useable, hunt down a Tipo 16v.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 13th May, 2004