The beautiful Fiat Linea

Fiat LineaItalian women are beautiful. There is something remarkably different about the way the gorgeous ladies from the land of the Roman Empire carry themselves. With the choicest of attire, the best of perfumes and immaculate attention to every single detail, the Italian damsels easily seduce men into believing that they are God�s finest creations on earth. Call it grace or sophistication, guys easily fall for them. I just did too albeit for the four-wheeled variety.

I first got to lay my hands (pun not intended) on the FIAT Linea two months ago. For me, it has been love at first sight. I appreciate curves and the Linea has them in abundance in all the right places. This lust worthy car has elegant proportions with a curved rear window and a stubby boot lid. It can shame most of the other midsized cars when it comes to size and has a massive road presence as well. In fact, the Linea forces you into taking the longer route back home just to see people turning their heads in appreciation.

Italians are known to pay attention to details and this is abundantly evident in case of the Linea. Take for instance the lamps, both front and rear, or the beautiful multi-spoke alloy wheels. It seems the designers back in Italy were sketching a car meant for a much expensive segment. See a Linea zip past you at good speeds and its stance will easily shame cars from segments above it. Though first launched in Turkey way back in September 2007, the Linea�s looks are still very much fresh and by far the classiest in this segment.

Behind the wheel, the rich dual-tone black and beige interiors welcome you. The leather wrapped steering wheel with audio and other controls imparts an expensive feel. Ditto for the multi-functional speedometer console that has a wealth of information on display. The silver finished central console, however, could have done with a better quality. The switches for the climate control and the audio system have a soft touch and work well. The space on the inside isn�t class leading but it can effortlessly accommodate four full sized adults and their weekend luggage too � the 500 litre boot being the best in class. Other neat touches like rear aircon vents, an armrest with cup holders for the rear passengers and most importantly, Microsoft�s Blue&Me technology further enhance buyer appeal. To some it may be a gimmick but spend a few days with it and you will love it.

The seating position, though a little on the lower side, is great. The steering wheel responds well to your inputs and everything seems to work in tandem to keep you happy till you stomp the acceleration. Even on paper, a 1.4-litre petrol engine for a car that weighs 1240kg seems underpowered. Be it the cubic capacity, the power or the torque, the Linea loses out to the competition in every department. Outright performance is not its forte as the car takes almost 14sec for the 0-100km/h sprint. However, if you are going to be chauffeured around, there will always be a smile on your face. Out on the road, it�s clear that the engineers have tuned the chassis for comfort. The ride is superb and the suspension dealt with the rutted tarmac of our test route with ease. If you love cars that handle well, this FIAT will delight you. The Linea�s wide tyres lend a planted feel, and no matter how much you push the car, it responds back enthusiastically without stepping out of line. We only wish it had an additional twenty odd horses under the hood!

The Linea�s petrol range starts at just under Rs 6 lakh (ex-showroom). This alone makes it a fantastic buy. But there is much more to this car as mentioned above. I love this car and would wholeheartedly recommend it to whosoever has a similar budget. The only catch is FIAT�s after sales support. Joining hands with an Indian manufacturer isn�t enough and in order to do justice to the kind of cars FIAT wants to sell (the Grande Punto is almost here), they really need to pull up their socks when it comes to customer service. Despite its slightly underpowered engine, the Linea petrol deserves to be a potential buyer�s number one choice in the Rs 6-7 lakh bracket. Admiration is definitely guaranteed, and that is exactly what the heading of this article means in Italian.

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