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Fiat Bravo 2.0 MultiJet 165 Sport vs. Citroen DS3 DSport e-HDi 115hp Airdream

Fiat Bravo

Fiat Bravo 2.0 MultiJet 165 Sport 

- £19,605

Is Fiat a cool brand? The 500, Punto and Bravo feel a little bit feminine for me and if not for the Abarth machines out there, every Fiat would be a bit of a pussy cat too. That's not good news when the majority of your line up are hatchbacks, and the biggest thing that sells a hatchback is excitement merged with practicability.

The new Renault Clio is a great hatchback. So too is the new Fiesta. Even the Citroen DS3 is a good car.

But all of those hatchbacks have a hot version to them, a model to which all other models look up to. So what's the Bravo got going for it?

Well this model, the 2.0 Multijet 165 Sport, is the pick of the range. Fiat have always been very good at diesel engines and the one powering this Bravo is testament to that. 165 bhp and 266 lb /ft make this car good for a top speed of 130 mph and a 0 - 60 time of 8.2 seconds. Out in the real world, it feels much faster than this, with the Bravo's in gear times proving almost as quick as a Golf GTD's.

Being diesel it's economical too; a combined cycle of 55.4 mpg is achievable and out on the motorway you could hit 60 mpg. Boot space is also excellent and you get a whole 365 litres of it in the 165 Sport. Inside, things are pretty good. The new Bravo was released in 2007 and so it isn't new at all. As such, the interior quality is not on par with the current class leaders. It's a comfortable place to be, though, with a good driving position and plenty of rear leg room.

Out on the road the Bravo is composed and relatively agile. Show it a few corners, though, and you can see this is not a hot hatch. Power delivery whilst acceptable in normal conditions is not linear and changing gear happens all too often. As such the Bravo is best kept on the motorway, where that 2.0 diesel engine can breath and deliver solid fuel economy.

The Fiat Bravo 2.0 MultiJet 165 Sport is a quick 2.0 diesel hatchback that should live on the motorway. It's styling is not on par with others in its class and it is not at all sporty, despite the name given to it. You'd have more fun with a smaller car with a smaller diesel engine, I reckon, such as the Citroen DS3 DSport e-HDi 115hp Airdream.

Citroen DS3

Citroen DS3 DSport e-HDi 115hp Airdream 

- £17,610

Take one look at the Fiat Bravo next to a Citroen DS3 and it's clear to see which car is the nicest to look at. The DS3 is just a different class in design, and this model the Citroen DS3 DSport e-HDi 115hp Airdream is my pick of the range. As standard the car comes with stylish LED daytime lights and the front grill, called a double chevron, is a perfect balance of aggression and style.

It's powered by a 1.6-litre diesel engine that produces 115 bhp and 199 lb /ft of torque, which makes it on paper nowhere near as powerful as the Bravo above. Out in the real world though the DS3 is a far more fun car to drive, with the power delivery being much more linear and rewarding. That's partly down to the 95 kg less weight the DS3 has to lug around versus the Bravo, and also because of its smaller frame.

Inside the DS3 is a mixture of style and quality. The dashboard is a soft touch plastic and all around the center console is a glossy black plastic. The steering wheel and gear knob are equally stylish, a mixture of leather and metal. There are some scratchy plastic bits, though, such as the lower dashboard and the glove box.

The seating position in the DS3 is very good with the seats offering support alongside comfort and the metal pedals help to complete the stylish design.

Out on the road the DS3 is a fun place to be. The interior is lively and with this engine set up it's perfectly powerful enough too. Although you won't be winning any drag races with a 1.6-litre diesel, in-gear this little puppy will surprise its petrol counterparts and leave them within a cloud of smoke.

In Airdream spec alloy wheels, climate control, cruise control, leather seats, rear parking sensors and Bluetooth all come as standard. It's a very well equipped car this, and a damn sight better deal than any Fiat Bravo money can buy.

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