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Fiat Linea 125S First Drive

What is it?

Fiat Linea 125S First Drive

The Fiat Linea 125S is the more powerful and sportier version of the Italian carmaker's standard sedan. Thanks to the retuned T-Jet engine, the 125S has now become the most powerful car in the mid-size sedan segment in India. We got very excited looking at the 125S displayed at the Auto Expo, which looked hot thanks to the blacked-out roof and black wheels. Sadly, this production version doesn't sport any of these exciting changes and rather sticks to the safe old design. So how will my neighbours know that I am driving the more powerful version of the Linea? The only telltale sign is the bold ‘125S’ badge on the boot. Despite its age (eight years to be precise) the Linea is still an elegant looking car. It went under the knife in 2014 with new bumpers, grille, chrome treatment and a redesigned boot.

Fiat Linea 125S First Drive

How is it on the inside?

Fiat Linea 125S First Drive

On the inside you get the same refreshed interior of the 2014 Linea and the only addition is an intuitive five-inch touch screen system. Although the screen is on the smaller side, it is a high res unit and the piano black finish surround looks really nice. The dashboard itself has a nice flow to it and all controls fall to hand easily. The dull white and grey dual tone colour theme is livened up by the dim orange ambient lighting on the dashboard. Quality in some sections is exceptional and you get nice soft touch plastics for the dash top. But as you go lower down you will find some hard plastics and there are some ill-fitting panels too. But overall fit and finish is more than acceptable and is a huge jump over the original Linea.

Fiat Linea 125S First Drive

Although the dashboard is ergonomic the same can’t be said of the driving position. Like before the pedals are still a bit off-set, the steering is placed too high and close to the driver and the front seats lack enough thigh support. On the positive side they are well contoured and back support is good too. At the rear, space is just about enough but the bench itself is comfy with good thigh support and a well-judged backrest angle. But headroom is in short supply and even people with average height will find it a bit cramped. The car still boasts of a humongous 500 litre boot that can accommodate your weekend luggage easily. But a larger opening and a lower loading lip could have make it more practical.

Fiat Linea 125S First Drive

As far as equipment is concerned the Linea comes with a long list of features. The touchscreen infotainment system comes with a radio, Bluetooth connectivity, AUX, USB and you also get a navigation system. You also get unique bits like rain sensing wipers and automatic headlamps which add to the feel good factor. On the downside the Linea doesn’t get a rear camera, but thankfully the car comes equipped with parking sensors.

Fiat Linea 125S First Drive

How does it drive?

Fiat Linea 125S First Drive

The Linea 125S’s 1.4-litre T-Jet turbo petrol engine pumps out 123bhp of power and 208Nm of torque, as compared to the 114bhp in the old car. The 9bhp hike in power is prominent at low revs. Where the old car had lots of lag below 2000rpm, the updated engine has a more linear power delivery and it feels more free revving than before too. Don’t get us wrong, there is still lag at low revs but unlike before you don’t have to constantly shift to get the most out of this engine. Which is a good thing as the gear shifts are imprecise and you need a second push to slot in the gear properly. Even the clutch is on the heavier side and the long pedal travel doesn’t help matters either. But it’s on the highway where this motor comes in its own and the strong midrange really thrusts this sedan forward. This makes overtaking just a tap of the right foot away and the Linea 125S is genuinely a great long distance car.  

Fiat Linea 125S First Drive

Now to the aspect the Linea has always shone in. Despite raising the ground clearance to an SUV rivalling 190mm, this Fiat is still one of the finest in terms of both ride and handling. The steering which feels a bit heavy at low speeds, comes alive as you go faster and it provides good feedback and it weighs up consistently too. The car does roll quite a bit when you corner hard but never to the point of feeling nervous or out of its comfort zone and the wide 205 section tyres provide loads of grip too. If the handling is good then the ride is even better. You do feel some firmness at lower speeds but is well judged and the Linea absorbs the biggest of potholes with aplomb. The high 190mm ground clearance combined with the long travel suspension makes it perfect for our ever broken and rutted roads. Straight-line stability is exceptional too and this combined with the potent engine makes it a potent long distance tool. The brakes though feel wooden and a more progressive brake feel would have been welcomed.

Fiat Linea 125S First Drive

Should I buy one?

Fiat Linea 125S First Drive

Will the Linea appeal to a car enthusiast? Absolutely yes. It’s got a willing motor that is refined and combined with its sorted dynamics you get a sedan which is apt for every driving condition and need. Sure at Rs 10.63 lakh it is on the expensive side and Fiat’s after-sales and service network is sparse, but for the money you get a sedan which stands out from the other boring sedan crowd and is sure to put a smile on your face every time you are behind the wheel.

Fiat Linea 125S First Drive

Where does it fit in?

The Fiat Linea 125S competes with the regular petrol-powered mid-size sedans like the Honda City (119PS) and the Hyundai Verna (123PS). Both of these use naturally-aspirated engines with variable-valve technology and fall in the price bracket of Rs 10-11 lakh.

Fiat Linea 125S First Drive

Pictures by Kapil Angane

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Fiat Linea Price In Popular Cities

CityOn-Road Prices
Mumbai₹ 8.34 Lakhs onwards
Hyderabad₹ 8.32 Lakhs onwards
Bangalore₹ 8.64 Lakhs onwards
Chennai₹ 8.29 Lakhs onwards
New Delhi₹ 8.11 Lakhs onwards
Kolkata₹ 8.25 Lakhs onwards
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