At £12,995 for an entry-level car with air-con, remote locking, DAB and Bluetooth, the Tipo undercuts most rivals of its ilk.

Even if you (correctly) dismiss the inefficient entry-level petrol, the road duty-dodging 1.3 Multijet at £14,995 is likely to pique the interest of anyone looking for a practical, cheap-to-run prospect.

Nic Cackett

Nic Cackett

Road tester
High-end Tipo should fair well against lower-end examples of Vauxhall and Seat — but only for the first few years

Most C-segment buyers in markets such as ours tend to eschew bargains in favour of a bit more design and brand appeal, but the more desirable the Tipo gets, the more it falters.

Mid-range Easy Plus trim adds the 5.0in Uconnect system, 16in alloys, front fogs, rear parking sensors and cruise control. With the 1.6-litre diesel (which returned a decent 49.1mpg average in True MPG testing), its £16,995 price is still a decent saving over an equivalent Astra or Focus.

Lounge trim, which is the closest to delivering a level of interior quality consistent with its rivals, is £17,995. With sat-nav, 17in wheels and climate control, it is better kitted out than most if its peers at the same price.

We would be inclined for the Easy trim and add 16in alloys, rear parking sensors and a full-size spare wheel, but also be prepared to haggle with the aim of getting the Tipo close to the £14,000 mark.

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Contract hire deals aren’t so quite so competitive. Our sources suggest a mid-spec car with the 1.6 Multijet engine would cost £37 a month more than an equivalent Astra.

It’s also worth noting that minus the £500 Safety pack option, the Tipo only scores three stars in NCAP’s crash tests, or four stars with it. Most other rivals score five.

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