Motorists wanting a sensible family car at a reasonable price should have a look at the Fiat Tipo. It’s £5,000 cheaper than a VW Golf a pretty good runner.

So why don’t we hear more about this Italian number. I guess it doesn’t get the marketing spend it deserves. It might be a little bit ordinary but it is really comfortable, well built and easy to drive.

The original Tipo arrived on the motoring scene 30 years ago when it replaced the Fiat Ritmo/Strada. The original was replaced by the Bravo/Brava range in 1995, which in turn was replaced by the Stilo in 2001. Fiat then launched a new the Bravo, while the Tipo name came back a couple of years ago.

It’s similar in size to a Ford Focus and while the engine range isn’t broad or particularly advanced and the car is a little bit drab but it’s a smart choice on the money front.

An update this year saw the introduction of new trims, while the engine range was also revised. The model line-up now comprises Easy, Easy Plus and Lounge trims like before, but there's a new flagship in the guise of the S-Design model, while the Elite version is a variant on Easy Plus that is geared towards business users.

There are three petrol and two diesel engine choices and I drove the nicely powered turbocharged 1.4 petrol with 120PS and there is an auto, a 1.6-litre with 110PS.

Acceleration was 0-62mph under 10 seconds and the top speed is 124mph. The combined miles per gallon is almost 50 which is pretty good in anyone’s language.

And the price? £15,500, which is excellent. But prices actually start at £14,000.

The most expensive Tipo is still below the £20,000 barrier, while the Station Wagon model has a £1,000 premium over the hatchback.

The basic diesel is a 1.3-litre with 95PS with emissions at 99g/km, while official economy is 76.3mpg – so that’s the frugal one.

While the Tipo is fairly unremarkable on the road and you won’t get few, if any, glances of appreciation it is both quiet and comfortable.

It’s great for bimbling about, with nicely weighted steering and predictable handling. Suspension is fine and the car can accommodate five adults with no problem. But then how often do five adults go off together on a drive?

The driving position and visibility are both good and there’s bags of space in the cabin for all your gear and there’s a USB port for charging phones and other electronic devices.

The boot has a generous 440-litre capacity, but it has a raised load lip that makes loading and unloading heavy or bulky items difficult. The rear seats split and fold, but not completely flat.

The entry-level model comes with essentials including air conditioning, DAB radio, Bluetooth, plus USB and aux inputs. Mid-spec Easy Plus models gain a very small colour touchscreen, rear electric windows, parking sensors, alloy wheels and cruise control, while top trim models get auto lights, auto wipers, climate control, reversing camera and navigation.

The S-Design adds a sportier look, with 18-inch wheels, xenon lights and Fiat's latest U-Connect touchscreen infotainment system.

The Fiat Tipo was given a four-star Euro NCAP rating for the safety and the car comes with an industry-standard three-year warranty, which is similar to rivals.