It replaced the Bravo/Brava ranges when it went on sale in 2002 (and from early 2003, the Marea Weekend with the Stilo Multiwagon) with understated looks, generous amounts of equipment and a build to banish the old clichés about Fiat reliability. The three-door car is overtly sporty and even comes in 170bhp Abarth or GT form. The five-door version is more family-orientated, with better rear access and legroom.
Basic specification Active comes with integral fog lights and body coloured bumpers. Dynamic adds air conditioning, front and rear armrests, 16-inch alloy wheels; five-door Dynamic models also feature integrated child seats. The range-topping Abarth adds Fiat’s CONNECT satellite navigation and information system, as well as rain, light and parking sensors.
Driving and performance
The soft suspension set-up suits gentle motoring. It steers well and parks easily, but there’s a bit too much bodyroll. Three-door is stiffer, more sporty and has a more agile feel. Roadholding is good and the ride is comfortable.
The driver’s seat is highly adjustable. The five-door has good access to the back seats. Quality plastics give an upmarket feel. Hidden box behind the dash is clever. Boot is a decent size and is easy to access.
The 1.2 is too small for this class of car and can really struggle. 1.4 makes life a bit easier while the1.6 sounds good and is easy to get along with. The 1.8 is quick, 2.4 provides plenty of power and the 1.9 JTD is impressive engine – powerful, economical.
No Euro NCAP rating, but all have anti-lock brakes, traction control, EBD and emergency brake assist and a rigid bodyshell. Security is deadlocks, remote central locking and an immobiliser.
On the forecourt
Stilo 1.9 JTD
Refined, punchy, economical
Massive load area
0303-0404: £1,100-£1,600 premium over three/five door
An easy to live with petrol unit
Ones to avoid
Too weak; large amount of nearly-new models are sold through car supermarkets
Stilo 2.4 Abarth GT
Buyers wary of running costs
In the workshop
ECU failure isn’t uncommon and gearboxes need to be checked for smooth operation.
Parkers' Buyers Lines
“Three-door looks fantastic, but the five-door looks like a black cab.”
“Not a car that initially stands out from the crowd, but I have received some very positive comments about it”
“I bought mine as a pre-reg and saved a fortune.”