Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016
- Very practical and cheap
- Compact size but spacious interior
- Comfortable and easy to drive
- Not as economical as other Fiats
- The quality of interior materials could be better
When it appeared in 1999, the Multipla was an instant hit with connoisseurs of automotive haute-couture. Eve with the flashy exterior it is a practical and reliable car that makes the most of the MPV abbreviation ‐ multi purpose vehicle. Good both for city driving and a busy family life, this car will rarely disappoint.
Exterior and Interior
Although it looks odd, the Multipla has received several design awards and been a constant fixture at various design exhibitions and museums. The designers tried to break the mould, they took a risk and they succeeded. It is a beautiful car sporting a very daring exterior design. Make sure you get a pre-2004 model because with the 2005 version Fiat decided to play safe and instead of developing the harmonious shape further, they ended up with something that actually looks like the Mulitpla's predecessor. No wonder the updated design failed to impress and they had to scrap the whole project due to an ever-diminishing demand.
The Multipla leaves an impression of an MPV but surprisingly it's based on the hatchback class, Fiat Bravo. Looking like a big car, it is more than an inch shorter than the Bravo. What we have here is a compact yet spacious 6-seater with plenty of luggage space. It has the same utility value as its competitors in the MPV range, but is smaller, lighter and more efficient, making more sense for city driving.
The concept was borrowed from the original 1956 Multipla that was based on the Fiat 600. The original 6-seater micro-van had three rows of seats though. The new generation of designers came up with the great idea of shortening the MPV and swapping 3 rows of normal seats to 2 rows of 3-seaters. It instantly gave them an edge over the French and Japanese alternatives.
The Multipla was offered with three choices of trim levels: Eleganza, Dynamic Plus and Dynamic Family. All models are pretty well equipped but the Eleganza is positioned as the top model also including alloy wheels and extra airbags.
Performance and Economy
Both 1.6-litre engines produce 103BHP, which is more than enough for a mid-size car like Multipla. The difference between the two petrol engines is that one of them, called the Bipower SX ‐ is a dual fuel engine also happily taking autogas as fuel. If neither petrol nor autogas is your thing, the very reliable 1.9-litre diesel will make a good choice. It produces 115BHP and propels the car to 60mph in 12 seconds. The Multipla is equally fit for city driving and fun on highway.
The Multipla is probably the cheapest MPV both to buy and maintain. The petrol version is managing 33mpg while the diesel will provide 43.5mpg. You're unlikely to save money on car insurance because this car is placed in groups 17 ‐ 19.
Like to Drive
It is a very pleasant and soft car. Normally you'd expect a car of this size be all over the place, however, there's very little roll in the corners and the suspension is soft enough. It is in fact one of the most comfortable cars Fiat has ever produced. Drivers shouldn't be afraid of the 3 seats in the front row. At width of 6'2" and with the gear lever pushed up near the steering wheel, there's plenty of space and you will not feel cramped for shoulder space.
Faults and Repairs
The Multiplas rarely go badly wrong. For extra reliability you should go with the 1.9-litre diesel that has a proven track-record of consistency, even after 100,000 miles on the clock. Mainly due to the weird position of the gear lever, there might be slight issues with the gear shift mechanism. The interior is mainly finished in a dubious-quality plastic. Some parts are bound to start rattling or even coming off after time although its not hard to fix.