Mini’s, MPV’s, coupes and SUV’s. We all know what they are, what they are supposed to do and who they are aimed at. Reviewers have written countless articles on each category and how all the competing makes and models compare; which is the most economical, delivers the sportiest drive and is most reliable. This makes it easy for the consumer to identify a couple of cars that meet their criterion which they can then test drive.
Increasingly car manufacturers are releasing models that do not fit neatly into any of these categories. These in-betweeners deliver a unique package of features and performance; however because they are not easy to categorise and compare they can be overlooked. This would be a mistake because there are some very interesting new models on the market which are better at meeting the needs of the modern consumer than traditional car groupings.
Fiat has really focused on making smaller cars really well. They are probably the true child of the Mini; practicality and value for money are the primary design criterion. The result is distinctive and quirky designs, economical engines, and incredibly intelligent use of space. All this is delivered for very low prices.
As specialists they have recognised that not every person wants the same small car; a city living singleton will not want the same from their car as a young family or a sport mad couple. They have produced the three Fiat 500L MPVs and the Fiat Qubo Mini MPV. The MPV classification seems to have been tacked on to the names to make sure they are not overlooked by buyers but none of these cars are really comparable to the traditional MPV. A traditional MPV has to seat more than 5 people and only one of the Fiats does this. These cars do something different and they do it better than other MPVs.
The Fiat Qubo Mini MPV is basically a van with rear seats. The handling and ride has been adjusted and the interior souped-up to make it pleasant for passengers. With the seats the boot space is 330l but if you remove the rear seats this increases to 2500l. Combine this with the wide opening boot door and you really can use it as a van. There are up to 16 different combinations of seat positions. What other car is there out there that can be used for your business during the day, a house move, to shift a fridge or transport a sofa, and then comfortably transport you, the kids, Rover and the cases for your weekend away? All this comes with an economical engine and a starting price of only £13,500. The cons are the van like exterior and lack of poke but this model has no pretentions about being a pretty boy. It is focused on offering incredible flexibility and economy.
Fiat has also designed a small range of three cars specifically targeted at families – the Fiat 500L range of MPVs. The cars in the range are;
- 500L – This is a mini that can transport five adults and has a usable boot. It has excellent visibility, manoeuvrability and a fun, stylish interior. So this will make a safe and credible car for a commute or city drive but there is room in the back for a couple of colleagues or the kids and their hamster cage.
- 500L Trekking – This model is designed to be more exciting to drive and look sporty. It achieves both whilst still having an incredibly versatile and large capacity back seat and boot space.
- 500L MPW – This model offers 5 seats with 493l of boot or you can pull the back seats forward and get a couple more small people in the boot. It feels like a large family car with a comfortable interior but you can transport 5 kids to a party, have a large dog or pick up a family from the airport when you need to.