Which Fiat Stilo (2001-2007) Engine To Avoid?

Stilo is a car inconspicuous in appearance, cheap to buy and not very popular. Although Fiat is not particularly proud of this model, its users are not complaining. Is it a good alternative to competing, sometimes twice as expensive compacts?

Fiat Stilo Characteristics and construction

Fiat Stilo in 2001 had a very difficult task. On the one hand, it replaced the Bravo / Brava model, which was awarded the Car of the Year title. On the other hand, it had to emphasize the high quality of the product, which from then on was to be represented by the Fiat brand.

Unfortunately, this manufacturer has never been lucky when he wanted to produce other cars than he can, i.e. cheap and average. Therefore, the Stilo turned out to be a huge market flop, and Fiat recorded losses on it. However, this does not mean that this model is a bad car.

The car left the factory as a slightly higher-class compact than Bravo and Brava, but devoid of the charm of its predecessor. The car with an expressionless body was to compete in the C segment with German products, above all with rich equipment and good engines.

Unfortunately, it was relatively expensive for its time. The fact that this was a mistake is evidenced by the fact that in 2007 Fiat gave up the name Stilo and returned to Bravo, as well as gave up the concept of a good-class car and returned to a cheap compact with poor equipment. Admittedly, the Bravo was also not very successful, but it was still much better than the Stilo. Now Fiat is taking another step in this direction with the Tipo.

Initially, the Stilo was sold in a 3- and 5-door version with a similar style, but with an extremely different reception. The 3-door version has a low, squat silhouette – it is lower and wider than the 5-door version. It may even like it. However, it is hard to find an amateur of the appearance of the 5-door version, which is tall and devoid of any style.

Could Fiat gaze at the then Golf, while trying to create something similar to the Honda Civic VII? Either way, the Stilo is one of the tallest compact cars ever.

Hardly any compact engine was so spacious back then, especially in the rear. Fiat has equipped the Stilo with a sliding bench that enlarges the 335-liter luggage compartment to 410 liters. In an intermediate position, the luggage compartment of the Stilo holds 370 liters, which is a good figure today.

The high body is, of course, a high interior that can accommodate tall passengers. Of course, the 3-door version is a bit different – tighter, especially in the rear, with a minimum boot capacity of 305 liters.

Even more practical is the station wagon (Multi Wagon), with a different rear apron style compared to hatchbacks. It has a luggage compartment of 510 liters, but the 2,600 mm wheelbase is the same as that of the hatchback. However, it is another 45 mm higher than the 5-door version and in this respect it even surpassed the Peugeot 307 SW.

The interior of the Stilo is designed in German – it is simple and clear. Most of the cars were very well equipped, incl. with electric windows and mirrors, air conditioning, ABS, and even ESP, as well as a set of airbags with curtains.

It was standard, although there were slight deviations. The cabin is also equipped with many practical solutions, including a lot of lockers and handles, as well as tables for passengers, sofas. Especially the Multi Wagon version turned out to be extremely functional. Its feature was the ability to open the rear window (not all versions).

Technically, the Stilo wasn’t a masterpiece. The suspension uses a classic MacPherson strut and a torsion beam, and the drive was transmitted only to the front axle.

Even then, a cross station wagon with ground clearance increased by 20 mm was produced, but only with front-wheel drive. The running gear has a soft feel, making the Stilo mainly suitable for a smooth, comfortable ride. Only the Abarth version has a differently tuned suspension, but it never became the king of hot hatch.

The history of the Fiat Stilo in a nutshell:

  • 2001 – market debut
  • 2003 – debut of the estate version
  • 2004–2005 – new engine
  • 2006 – a slight facelift
  • 2007 – end of production

Read Also: Which Ford Kuga MK1 (2008-2012) Engine To Avoid?

Fiat Stilo Engines

4-cylinder and 5-cylinder engine were assembled in the Stilo. The biggest engine in the range was a 2.4 liter petrol engine with 170 HP, driving the 3-door Abarth version and, less often, the regular Fiat Stilo.

Of course, more “normal” were the 4-cylinder engines with a capacity of 1.2 liters and 80 HP to 1.8 liters and 133 HP. All naturally aspirated.

The range of diesel engines was not particularly extensive, as it consisted of one 1.9-liter engine in numerous power versions: from 80 to 150 HP. Of course, the individual versions of the JTD engine also differed in design, especially the 140- and 150-horsepower variants, which got a 16-valve cylinder head.

Which Fiat Stilo engine to choose?

Rather not a 1.6-liter petrol (103 HP), which has serious problems with the equipment, the ignition system and the timing drive.

The 1.8-liter (133 HP) engine with a valve timing variator is not much better than it, and you have to watch out for it.

Both engines are not very dynamic and fuel-hungry, the bigger one also burns a lot of oil. You can try to drive on LPG, but in the face of numerous, minor faults in the electrics, it is not a very good solution.

If you have to drive gasoline, I recommend a simple and proven 1.4-liter engine, which, despite its 95 HP, accelerates the car quite normally, and convinces with its durability and reliability.

In fact, the same can be said about the 1.2-liter petrol engine with 80 HP, but the dynamics is a bit lacking here.

However, for driving only around the city and not too fast on the road, this engine will also do its job. On the other hand, it ensures low operating costs and works efficiently with gas.

The situation is completely different with diesel engines. Even the weakest diesel 1.9 JTD engine with 80 HP provides decent dynamics and low fuel consumption.

Despite the lack of work culture, it is recommended due to its simple structure and durability. For a modern diesel engine, it is not particularly difficult and expensive to repair.

It has first generation Common Rail injection and a simple fixed geometry turbocharger. Unfortunately, it also has a dual mass flywheel, so the potential expense when replacing the clutch is considerable.

The differences between the 80 HP and 100 HP versions are slight. From an operational point of view, it is the same engine.

Only the 115 HP engine got a variable geometry turbocharger, which improved the work culture when accelerating from low revs.

This engine also has a significantly higher torque (255–275 Nm). It is a very efficient source of propulsion, which ensures good dynamics.

The above engine are highly appreciated for their durability and low operating costs, but they are not without their drawbacks. They have problems with the EGR system and the flow meter.

There are problems with the power supply (fuel pressure regulator), and replacing the timing belt is better not to drag over 100,000. km.

However, the injection and boost system are durable and the dual mass flywheel can be replaced with a fixed wheel and other type of clutch.

The problem is that these simple engine are usually quite worn out, and in spite of everything the purchase of diesel is burdened with a considerable risk, but it is still worth it.

None of the engines will burn more than 6 liters of diesel per 100 km. At the same time, no petrol truck will go below this limit.

The second generation engines, marked as JTD Multijet, are slightly different. The simplest and at the same time the most popular was the 120 HP version, generating 280 Nm.

It has an 8-valve cylinder head, but also a second-generation CR injection and a turbocharger with variable geometry.

This did not translate into lower durability or higher failure rate of the injection system and turbocharger, but the engine also did not gain much performance. The Stilo powered by this engine is just as dynamic as the 115 hp version.

Another design is the 16-valve JTD Multijet engines with 140 and 150 HP. The first has 305 Nm of torque, the second 320 Nm. These are very powerful engines that can easily match the dynamics of even the petrol Abarth version, and consume 2-3 times less fuel in everyday use.

Here, unfortunately, not very successful intake manifold flaps appear, which can break off, although it does not happen that they fall into the engine.

The repair costs several hundred dolars, and since this is a known problem of the JTD Multijet 16-valve engines, there is no problem with finding the right specialist or spare parts.

To sum up, although diesel engines are potentially more expensive to repair, they win over petrol engines in terms of performance. They are more dynamic and consume less fuel.

Gasoline engines can be troublesome in terms of equipment faults (especially 1.6 and 1.8), while smaller ones have power shortages.

If there is something to recommend, it’s basically just a 1.4 engine for smooth driving (optional 1.2), and it’s best to choose diesel. Simply put – if you do not want diesel, it is best to choose another car, for example Bravo II.

It is difficult to honestly recommend the 170-horsepower 2.4-liter gasoline. It is fuel-consuming, not failure-free and generally generates high maintenance costs.

Many repairs will be more expensive due to the five cylinders. In addition, it was often combined with the problematic Selespeed semi-automatic gearbox, which only exacerbates the expenses.

What’s Problems Of Fiat Stilo?

  1. Generally, apart from the drive, the Stilo is not a particularly emergency model. It does not corrode and keeps the interior quality set by the manufacturer well. The rich equipment of the car does not break down, although the airbag (plug under the seat) may be disconnected.
  2. The suspension is simple, but not cheap to service. The torsion beam is not completely maintenance-free. After the course of 50-100 thousand km you need to replace the bushings on which it hangs. They can creak and after some time they catch slack, which should not be the case with the average car handling. Parts are inexpensive, but repair can cost several hundred dollars.
  3. Front wishbones are relatively cheap (about $45), but the pins alone cannot be replaced. Of course, the stabilizer links give up, but these are just trifles. Worse, the springs in the front suspension break. The braking system is durable. The electric power steering gear is not expensive – the cost of a regenerated one is not more than $220.

Fiat Stilo Operating costs, prices and availability of spare parts

Contrary to appearances, the car is not very problematic, and above all, it does not generate high operating costs, provided that we choose versions 1.2, 1.4 or 1.9 JTD. Its failure rate is average and its durability is quite good.

The car is easy to repair and the prices of parts can be ridiculously low. It’s easier to buy a tidy Stilo than most other compact cars. It was not a popular model, so like Citroën, it was chosen by individualists.

Fiat Stilo Market situation

The supply of used cars is not particularly large, but it is sufficient to look for something calmly. Petrol versions have a slight advantage on the market over diesel engines. There are definitely more hatchbacks than station wagons. The prices are really low.

The cheapest cars can be bought for pennies, specifically for $670 to $1120. Even 10-year-old cars are sold for $1790 to $2240, although nicer model are estimated at $2460 to $2900. End of production or best-maintained cars cost no more than $3360.

Is it worth to Buying Fiat Stilo?

It depends. Generally, you have to be a Fiat lover or look for a cheap, modern car to choose this model. If you need a spacious, very cheap car with a weak gasoline or diesel engine (weak or powerful) then the Stilo is for you. You will not pay a lot for it, and with a little care, the car will take a long time.

In general, after a few years of operation, you can be positive compared to other models, even if you visit the mechanic more often than others.

The Stilo is not a car for someone who needs a reliable car, but for everyday driving, for short distances, it is just right.

Is the Fiat Stilo a better car than the competing Golf MK4, for which you have to pay more? If we only evaluate the interior of the 5-door version, which may be crucial for some, then definitely yes.

5/5 - (25 votes)

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