The international jury panel of Autobest – an independent organisation created in 2001 – voted FIAT Tipo "Autobest 2016". The accomplishment reasserts the model's vocation as a functional car which maximises value for money, this being a crucial concept in the FIAT functional family. The car is packed with what customers genuinely appreciate, with a simple range and a transparent commercial offer.

A jury of 26 motoring journalists representing 26 European countries and covering 91% of the continent's total population awarded 1492points to the car for thirteen different parameters, including design, comfort, running cost-effectiveness, driveability, price, service network, spare parts distribution, versatility and buy-back value. In brief, a car must be the best buy for most European customers in order to win.

This year, the new FIAT Tipo came first ahead of the other four finalists: the new Opel Astra, the new Hyundai Tucson, the Honda CRV and the Mazda CX-3. For the jury, FIAT Tipo is an outstanding product with all the ingredients needed to satisfy an average customer of Europe: design, engines, perceived quality, comfort, versatility and excellent price-to-quality ratio.

With the new Tipo's extraordinary accomplishment, no fewer than three FIAT models have won the coveted accolade, a record among the brands assessed by Autobest: the first was Panda (2003) and the second was Linea (2008). The award ceremony will take place next February in Milan. This will be the first gala after the jury was expanded to include eleven new members representing Austria, Belgium, France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

Sales kicked off very successfully this month in Italy – remarkably, over one thousand contracts were sealed during the first dealership weekend event. FIAT Tipo will be launched in other countries by next spring in a total of 40 markets across the EMEA region.

It will be available at launch, in the UK, in hatchback and estate versions. A saloon version has not yet been confirmed for the UK.

“I am very much looking forward to the introduction of this excellent C-segment model next year,” says Sebastiano Fedrigo, head of brand, FIAT UK. “Beautifully styled and built to the highest standards, the car will bring a new dimension to FIAT’s model line-up and will, I am sure, attract a lot of interest from our customer in the UK.”

In detail, the new car combines a large load capacity (520 litres) with compact overall dimensions (it is 4.54 metres long, 1.79 metres wide and 1.49 metres high). The 2.64 metre wheelbase emphasises its excellent internal comfort. All this is enhanced by Italian design, inside and out, which makes the car unique in its segment.

The new car fits a reliable suspension layout for very accurate driving, brilliant road-holding and outstanding passenger comfort: independent wheels McPherson on the front axle and interconnected wheels torque beam on the rear. The two layouts are optimised to reduce weight and contribute in this way to improving the car's fuel-efficiency.

In true FIAT style, the new Tipo is packed with plenty of clever solutions that make life better for everyone on-board. Like the remarkably rich standard equipment and the availability of the Uconnect TM system with a 5" colour touchscreen display, hands-free Bluetooth system, audio streaming, text reader and voice recognition, AUX and USB ports with iPod integration, controls on the steering wheel and, on demand, rear parking camera and the new TomTom 3D Touch navigation system.

The car's name – Tipo – sported on the badge is a celebrated designation that FIAT has used many times during its over one century of history. One of the models to carry the coveted name was the car of which nearly two million were made from 1988 to 1995 and which was awarded "Car of the Year 1989" also because of its versatile use, large interior space and compact exterior dimensions. The same winning features are found on the new Tipo, a practical, functional model which in perfect FIAT tradition ensures the best equipment-to-price ratio, this being the real value of any industrial product.

The new FIAT Tipo was designed in Italy by Centro Stile FIAT, developed in Turkey together with Tofaş R&D, which is one of FCA's largest research and development centres, and made in the Tofaşplant in Bursa –one of the world's best automotive factories which has received a World Class Manufacturing Gold Medal.