I am happy to report that my love of small turbocharged petrol engines has only been augmented since I took charge of our Fiat Linea 125S long termer. Although I was initially sceptical about its compact engine having to lug the Linea’s heft, I’ve grown to appreciate the motor’s everyday potential.
Most of my kilometres are covered around town and the 125S’ 1.4-litre turbo four-cylinder is perfect for the job. Despite its moderate capacity, the 125bhp unit is gutsy and responsive above 2,000rpm. But what really impresses is the lack of significant engine noise most of the time. It’s only when you floor it hard do you notice it getting loud and even then it doesn’t get strained.
Having driven the Linea 125S for nearly 3,000km in a variety of conditions (mostly urban duties), I have come to grips with a few of its flairs and odd quirks. Here’s how they stack up.
The 125S is all about its engine and in the larger scheme of things; it’s for those who wouldn’t mind trading off some efficiency for daily driving thrills. Every time you bury the throttle pedal you are greeted by this strong surge at around 2000rpm mark that pulls this heavy car forward in a rush of mild torque steer and grin-inducing acceleration. While I do feel the gearing is too long, its actually for the sake of maximising fuel economy. Speaking of which, the constant 8-plus kmpl that I am getting is not bad given that most of it comes from a jam-packed commute.
Media systems in mainstream cars have evolved big time, especially when it comes to connectivity options and touch display. The 125S, however, has a relatively old-school infotainment system which uses a small display and is nowhere as comprehensive as the segment best. The sound quality is average at best and phone connectivity isn’t seamless either – there have been brief moments wherein the system has stopped streaming music and I have had to reconnect my phone to fix it.
Another minor niggle with this cabin is its lack of usable storage spaces. There’s only one cup holder below the centre console and it is placed really close to the gear lever – I always end up nudging whatever’s in there when shifting from second to third. What’s more, the tiny storage bin under the front armrest is practically useless and only good enough for a set of keys or alike.
Rear seat comfort
These minor gripes haven’t dimmed my overall view of the Linea 125S, though. It’s still an excellent fast family sedan with a hugely comfortable rear seat. Thanks to its immense length, the rear legroom is great and the bench itself has plenty of contours to keep my parents comfortable over long journeys. It will be interesting to see how the 125S copes with the 2000km-plus summer road trip that I’ve planned, but up until now it’s been a great acquaintance to my daily commute and weekend jaunts.
Variant – 125S
Odometer reading – 8,350km
Positives of the report – Rear seat space, relentless performance
Negatives of the report – Cabin ergonomics
Fuel Efficiency – 9.50kmpl
Pictures by Kapil Angane