The Bravo and Brava Mark 1 were replacements for Fiat's successful but ageing Tipo model. The cars came with all new engines, the base model using a 1.4 L 12-valve engine producing 80 bhp. Three other petrol engines were available: the 103 bhp 1.6 L 16-valve; the 113 bhp 1.8 L 16-valve engine and the top of the range 2.0 L 20-valve R5 unit used in the HGT model, which produced 147 bhp and which could take the car to a maximum speed of 130mph (210km/h). Two turbodiesel engines were also available: both were 1.9 L four cylinder units, one producing 75 bhp and the other making 100 bhp. Bravo/Brava was voted European Car of the Year on its launch.
In 1996 the Bravo/Brava chassis spawned saloon and estate versions, badged Fiat Marea, which won praise for its large boot. Another car based on the Bravo/Brava underpinnings was launched in 1998: the curious looking Fiat Multipla, a six-seater mini MPV.
The Bravo/Brava received a mild makeover in 1999 but there were few real changes except the replacement of the 1.4 12-valve engine with a 1.2 16-valve engine from the smaller Fiat Punto and a restyling of the dashboard. The 1.9 turbodiesel was also phased out in favour of 1.9 JTD diesel units, to give even better economy and refinement.
The Bravo/Brava was discontinued in Europe in late 2001, and replaced by the all-new Fiat Stilo, which was ultimately a sales flop in most countries where it was sold.
Engines in Brazil
The FIAT Brava was produced until 2003 in Brazil for the home market and export, but in the former the engines available were:
- Brava SX 1.6 16v (106 bhp)
- Brava ELX 1.6 16v (106 bhp)
- Brava HGT 1.8 16v (132 bhp) (the same engine used in the Brazilian Fiat Marea SX model, initially declared as having 127 bhp to avoid higher taxation)