Bravo - Brava
sporting fiats club Sunday, October 22, 2017

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Under-rated and Undervalued

Bravo Intro

Bravo is the model most representative of the changes in Fiats ranges during the mid nineties. The mark 1 uses the running gear from the Tipo it replaced, and managed to put a little Italian zest into an area of the market stacked out with the boring Astras and Fords. Its looks and interior styling made for a fresh change.

While the mark 2 was given a new engine range, and a lot more Italian curves. Us Brits tend to like Fiats a lot more when they do their 'curvy' cars...

However the more performance minded SFC memebers could note that the standard models, although equiped with larger capacity engines, did not try to keep up with the fastest in the market.

Both under the bonnet and inside, the range is a little cramped for room. This makes for a nimbler and lighter car in comparison with its Tipo predecessor, while the mark 2 is very Pug 306 like in its styling.

So very Italian, slightly confusing in its attempt to use the same body and name to target both the 5 door family Brava and the sportier 3 door Bravo. And blessed with the same mix of good quality mechanical components with mickey m electrics.

History

UK launched was in 1995, and the Bravo/Brava then gained the coveted "Car of the Year" award the following year. The three door version - the Bravo - and five door Brava were intended for the sporty and family markets.... and (unlike the Tipo) the three door Bravo is the stiffer of the two chassis. Being a driving club - we'll focus on the three door here.

In the mark 1, the Bravo looks more aggressive, with its curved rear haunches triple rear light stack that mask the fact that they are not three piece lights. Its engine range shares a lot with the Tipo under the skin, even though the new car's rigidity and weight provide clear driving advantages. The Bravo was launched with a choice of a 1.4 multivalve engine, a 1.6 engine that was re-engineered from the old Tipo unit, plus two new engines: the four cylinder 1.8 with variable valve timing (recently introduced in the Barchetta) and the 2.0 five cylinder unit from the Fiat Coupe.

Initially Fiat were not going to bring the latter engined version to the UK because of the conversion cost. But after extensive re-engineering for right hand drive, this version was introduced here as the HGT, in 1997.
The Bravo also featured the latest safety equipment, including revised seats, and interior ergonomics, Fiat's fuel cut-off inertia switch. Bodywork was galvanised which by this time was standard practise for Fiat. In the mark 1 and more so the mark 2 the Bravo also spearheaded Fiat's stylistic branding for 1990s. It was cars like this and the Coupe that drove manufacturers like Ford to respond with their Focus replacement ot the Escort.

Bravo - First Generation Round-up
The entry-level was the S model, available with 1.4 engine and is recognisable by having black bumpers. It also had 2-speaker stereo, power steering, and central locking.

The SX model came in above the S with a choice of either 1.4 or 1.6 engines. Had the equipment of the S plus colour-coded bumpers, electric windows, electric windows, 6 speaker RDS stereo with CD control.

The HLX (or GT in Europe) had the 130bhp 1.8 engine added alloy wheels, sports interior, heated seats etc into the equation. Recognisable by front foglights.

Finaly in 1997, the HGT model was added to the range with the 2.0 five cylinder engine, which added electric door mirrors, ABS and optional leather trim. .

Bravo - Second Generation Round-up
In 1998 the Bravo was given a major makeover, with its body shape and major components changed. The 1.4 engine was replaced by the new 1242cc 16 valve unit that had proved such a success in the Punto Sporting.

Tthe 'S' level of refinement was deleted from the line up, and the SX made the new entry level. The SX had similar equipment levels to before, but with air conditioning as an optional extra.

The HLXs and HGTs now had remote central locking and alarm, with air-con as standard on the 1.8 & HGT. All Bravos now had the option of passenger and side airbags.

Model Review

Model

Engine & Badge

Max Power
(bhp)
Top Speed
(mph)

Acceleration
(0-60)

Economy
(mpg)

Bravo/ Brava Mark 1
1.4 - S, SX
80
106
13.9
32
1.6 - SX
102
113
11.1
36
1.8 - HLX & GT (in EU)
113
121
9.9
33
1.9 TD - 75
75
102
15.2
42
1.9 TD - 100
100
113
10.9
44
2.0 - HGT
147
129
8.4
29
Bravo/ Brava Mark 2
1.2 - 80 16v
80
107
13.1
40
1.6 - 100 16v
100
113
10.7
36
1.8 - 115 16v
114
121
9.7
34
1.9 JTD - 100
100
114
10.8
44
1.9 JTD - 105
105
112
10.4
50
2.0 - 155 20v
155
132
7.9
30