1986 Fiat Uno 60S five door 1.1 petrol from UK and Ireland

Summary:

Quality all rounder with one fatal flaw

Faults:

Absolutely nothing - just had weird gear ratios.

General Comments:

Good points - roomy 5 door supermini that was usual FIAT small car top design. Cheap to run and look after, and despite claims, nothing ever even looked like it was going to come off in your hand.

The only issue I had with the car was incredibly weird gearing - presumably to increase economy, but once upon a slight motorway incline into a strong wind, would see me down in third gear trying to maintain progress in the inside lane.

Other than that it was a great car; it just made some aspects of driving it really hard to live with.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th May, 2014

1986 Fiat Uno 60S 1.1 petrol from UK and Ireland

Summary:

Neat, spacious, economical and surprisingly reliable if looked after

Faults:

Water pump cracked and leaking at 12 years old

Shockers worn out at 12 years / 66000 miles

Rust at bottom of front doors and front suspension lower wishbones - replaced whole front subframe with one from a write-off

Loss of engine compression due to bore wear, giving loss of power - lots of short journeys caused engine wear.

General Comments:

Lasted well over 13 years with very few mechanical problems

Surprisingly little rust considering stored outside all it's life in wet South Wales

Performance lacking from 1.1 engine, but possibly due to bore wear - when I got car it was 12 years old

Harsh ride

Spacious for size - Could get my bikes in back, and I'm 6ft 6in

Poor fuel economy initially - seemed to be due to vacuum in fuel system - drilling hole in filler cap sorted it

Cute styling - still looks neat; More chic than later model

Innovative & ergonomic control pods each side of instrument cluster - not fitted to later model

Easy engine access for servicing, etc.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 15th April, 2003

10th Sep 2006, 07:17

Re the fuel problem, Fiat did a modification by running a breather pipe from the filler neck.

1986 Fiat Uno 45 1.0 FIRE from UK and Ireland

Summary:

Cheap, fun, versatile hatchback that's great to drive

Faults:

Car was bought in 1998, and I was something like the 11th owner in 12 years. Previous owners had NOT looked after the car.

Clutch failed at around 85000, possibly the original so it comes under normal wear and tear.

Alternator packed up at 80000 miles, replaced with one from a breakers.

Distributor replaced twice, though the first time it wasn't the distributor that was at fault!

Had some carburetor problems, and managed to go through three carbs. To be fair, all the replacement carburetors were second hand, and the problem was solved after a strip down, clean and rebuild with an overhaul kit.

Replaced fuel pump twice, though it wasn't at fault. Turned out to be a leaking carburettor gasket and stuck heat valve in the air-cleaner that cause carburettor icing in cold weather.

Exhaust system rusted through at around 80000 miles, replaced (including down-pipe) with new system for only £45. Bought at trade price and fitted myself.

Drive shaft gaiter went around 90000 miles. Cleaned, repacked with grease and fitted with new gaiter. Carried on happily after that.

Timing belt replaced at 100000 miles - routine maintenance.

Door bottoms rusted badly (3 door version), as did the front wings. However, the rest of the car was rust free, and at 13 years old it had never needed any welding. Structurally, FIAT had done an excellent job with Uno rustproofing.

Initially, my Uno came with wind up windows that didn't. Flimsy mechanism sounded like a football rattle when used while the window stayed put! Problem was solved by fitting electric windows from a a 70S, easily done and adapted into the Uno's wiring loom. Oh, and while I was at it I fitted tinted glass all round from a higher spec model.

Interior was cheap and felt flimsy. One switch pod was broken when I bought the car, but replaced with a second hand unit. However, in my hands nothing in the interior broke and the styling oozed character. A bit eccentric, but fun and held together well despite feeling like it would fall to bits. It was still holding together at 15 years old...

General Comments:

Deservedly awarded car of the year when it came out.

My car was an 1986 model, one of the first to use the 1.0 litre FIRE engine. And what a cracking engine it is too. A little buzzy and noisy, but wind it up and watch it fly. I came to the Uno after a 2.0 litre Ford, and thought I would really suffer with the reduction in performance. But the Uno surprised me, very nippy and able to hold it's own. Would happily sit at 80mph on the motorway, and nearly cracked 100mph once. Not bad from a 1.0 litre.

Handling was great, though a little bouncy. Was brilliant fun on twisty roads where the engine could be revved, and the steering was light and positive. However, use 155 section tyres as 135's were woefully inadequate for grip.

Interior, despite feeling cheap held together and was incredibly versatile. Split folding rear seats, cavernous boot and was suprisingly able to carry four people and luggage in comfort. Even better was the design that allowed the rear seats to be completely folded forward allowing a huge flat load area. I managed to get a Honda CB400N motorbike into the back, as well as washing machines, furniture, drunken friends etc.

Dashboard was an excellent bit of styling. Looked weird with the switch pods, but worked well. Especially the higher spec models with rev counter, which I fitted to my basic 45. Face-lifted Uno's lost all the character of the earlier interiors.

One of the biggest assets of Uno 45 ownership was the minimal cost of running it. Petrol was sipped at between 45 and 55 mpg making it a cheap car to run.

Parts were also cheap, and plentiful from breakers.

It was also easy to work on, at least the 1.0 FIRE engine variant.

But most of all, the car was FUN to drive and despite it's faults one couldn't help, but smile when behind the wheel.

It was replaced with a Citroen AX GT, a fine car, but somehow didn't have the character of the Uno. In fact, I really missed the Uno as it really won me over. Maybe I should have gone for a Uno 75SX, or even better, the Turbo!

To some up though, the Uno 45 1.0 is a super little car. Buy it, forget what petrol pumps look like and save a fortune by driving a simple, well designed, versatile little hatchback. Get a good one and wear a big smile on your face!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th March, 2003

15th May 2003, 00:55

Just wanted to add that after a couple of years of Citroen AX GT ownership, I finally got fed up with the poor French build quality and horrendous parts prices. I'd also worked abroad for about a year and spent most of my money traveling, so I could no longer afford to drive the little French beasty.

There was only one answer, and that was another Fiat Uno! I sniffed around on Ebay and found a little cracker. It's a 1986 45 S 3 door model (it has a sunroof and a five speed box!), 62,000 miles and apart from the doors, of which I replaced the passenger side for an immaculate one, there is no rust on it at all.

The best thing is that it only cost me £46 - and it came with half a tank of petrol and 4 months tax!!! Needs an MOT shortly though, but I have no reason to see it failing on anything drastic.

I've not had it long enough to write a review, but can say that it's just as good as my first Uno 45, if not better. The five speed box makes one heck of a difference to motorway cruising, and makes the already frugal economy even more miserly.

All my original comments apply, though due to it's low mileage I've had no problems so far in nearly 2000 miles.

It's fun, frugal, cheap to run and I am happy with it. Looks good in Ferrari red too, though doesn't quite have the performace of it's more exotic stablemate (!) I am sorely tempted by the Uno Turbo though...

If you can find an old Uno in sound condition then snap it up. They really do not make cars like it anymore, more's the pity.

31st Mar 2004, 06:11

Great review. Loved it. Get the 1.4 turbo. It's a totally fantastic car.

16th Nov 2014, 15:26

I couldn't agree more - the 80's Uno with the FIRE engine and preferably the 5 speed box is just unbeatable as transport - quick, frugal, reliable and cheap are just 4 of its excellent points. Add roomy and fun; well what can I say.

Glad you found another - I think if I could I would, but sadly now by 2014 they are almost all gone - a victim of their own value for money in the end - cheaper to get another one than fix the one you had!!!