Fiat Multipla 2022 review

The Multipla is a practical six-seat MPV sold between 1998 and 2010

£3,781
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1
Out of 5

Pros

  • Rare six-seat layout
  • Very practical
  • Cheap to buy

Cons

  • Low-quality interior
  • Ugly looks
  • Not the most reliable
Model review

Fiat is known for producing some quite wacky and weird models over the years, but few have stood out more than Multipla. Launched in 1998 – and using the name from the 600 Multipla of the 1950s – this model was based on the Bravo and Brava of the time, and was shorter but wider than its rivals. 

The key advantage of this width was the fact it could seat six adults, but rather than adopt the usual three rows, it instead had three seats up front and three in the back – a formula that remains rare to this day on all but vans. 

Featuring a bubble-like shape, the original Multipla was a bit of an ugly duckling, with its bizarre bubbles at the bottom of the windscreen making it stand out from pretty much any car on sale, if not necessarily for positive reasons.

Latest model

The Multipla received a mid-life facelift in 2004, which, essentially, made it lose all its weird charm but undoubtedly smartened up its odd appearance. Losing those weird rolls at the bottom of the windscreen, the new model boasted more standard equipment and introduced optional extras like satellite navigation and Bluetooth – commonplace features today, but very advanced at the time. 

Though the Multipla sold in large numbers in Fiat’s Italian homeland, sales elsewhere – including the UK – were quite small. It remained in production until 2010, when it was axed. Fiat’s line-up was absent of MPVs for some years, though the introduction of the 500L in 2013 changed that. 

Value for money

the revised Fiat Multipla’s launch in 2004, prices started from just over £13,000 and increased to £16,500 for a top-spec model. It was superb value for money, and considering standard equipment included electric windows, electric folding mirrors and an electric driver’s seat. 

As the Multipla hasn’t been on sale for more than a decade, your only option now is a used model, and if you’re looking for a practical people carrier on a budget, this Fiat is a great option. Prices for usable examples start from as little as £1,000, which gets you a terrific amount of car for your money, with even the best examples costing no more than £4,000. Due to the Multipla’s practical interior and width, it’s a popular choice to convert into a wheelchair accessible vehicle, with around half of the examples you’ll see for sale converted like this. 

Looks and image

The Multipla most certainly isn’t a looker, particularly the earlier cars. In fact, it’s quite regularly named as one of the ugliest cars ever built, though that’s undoubtedly part of its charm – if you see it that way. The facelifted 2004 model did tone things down, but with its boxy design and huge amount of glass – which does make it look like a greenhouse with wheels – there’s no way of hiding its practical intentions. 

The interior is also a bit different too – even putting aside the six-seat layout for a minute. The dials are not in the usual place ahead of the driver, but instead in the centre of the dashboard, just above the climate controls. The gearstick, to free up space for that central seat, is also positioned within the dashboard, while the textured fabric dashboard is another oddity. 

Unsurprisingly the Multipla isn’t what you’d call fun to drive, but is a surprisingly decent steer, as it doesn’t handle too badly and is comfortable enough – the diesel especially also delivers a decent amount of performance. Just be aware that the Multipla is as wide as a large SUV, which can make it quite difficult to drive through width restrictors or into tight multi-storey car parks. 

Space and practicality

Undoubtedly the Multipla’s best asset is its practicality. With six full-size seats, it can seat adults with plenty of comfort – even in the front. The seats also individually fold, while the middle chair has cup holders and a tray once folded. 

While the 430-litre boot doesn’t sound impressively large, it’s a decent-sized, versatile area, while with the rear seats folded it unlocks a vast 1,900 litres of room, which is capable of rivalling some vans. 

Engines

Two main engines are available on the Multipla – one petrol and one diesel. 

The petrol is the weaker of the pair; a 1.6-litre unit that puts out a somewhat measly 103bhp, and is paired with a five-speed manual gearbox. With a 0-60mph time of 12.5 seconds, you won’t be getting anywhere particularly quickly, particularly if the car is fully-loaded. 

Moving over to the diesel, the engine is a 1.9-litre turbocharged unit that too features a five-speed manual gearbox. It produces 115bhp, and though its 12-second 0-60mph time might not make it seem that much quicker than the petrol, it offers plenty more torque so it’s less effort to get up to speed. 

Running costs

If you want to keep your running costs down, the diesel version is the model to go for. Fiat claims it can return 44.1mpg, while also emitting 170g/km CO2 emissions. As for the petrol, Fiat claims just 32.8mpg, while 205g/km CO2 emissions aren’t anything impressive. On the plus side, insurance groups for the Multipla seem very reasonable for the size of the vehicle.

Things to look out for

Fiats don’t have the best reputation for reliability, so there are plenty of things to look out for. Though the engines are quite solidly built, you should look out for it sounding rough on tickover, which could point towards an issue with the fuel system. If the exhaust is blowing, it might require a full replacement, which could prove expensive. 

As many Multiplas will have been family cars, you should look to make sure all trim is still intact and that the seats fold as they’re meant to – many of these Fiats will not have had the easiest of lives. 

Rivals

The number of dedicated six-seaters on the market is quite limited, with the Multipla’s closest rivals in this respect including the Honda FR-V (which has the same seating layout), while the Toyota Picnic and Mercedes R-Class each adopt a ‘2+2+2’ layout. 

Other more conventional seven-seaters include the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso, Renault Grand Scenic and Volkswagen Touran

Depreciation

Depreciation is nothing to worry about on the Multipla as prices have already hit rock bottom, with models fluctuating between £1,000 and £4,000 depending on mileage, history and condition. 

Trims explained

Three main trim levels were offered on the Multipla – Dynamic, Dynamic Plus and Eleganza. Equipment highlights and prices are as follows.

Dynamic –

As standard the Mutlipla comes with a decent amount of equipment, including a six-speaker radio CD player, remote locking, an immobiliser and electric windows with one-touch functionality. You also get six seats as standard, electric folding and heated door mirrors and an electric driver’s seat.

From £1,000

Dynamic Plus –

If you can find a Dynamic Plus model, these bring climate control, side airbags, front fog lights and an alarm.

From £1,200 (used)

Eleganza –

At the top of the range, the Eleganza features parking sensors, smarter 15-inch alloy wheels and electric rear windows. It also features a leather steering wheel with mounted audio controls, window airbags and body coloured side rubbing strips.

FV

Summary

  1. Funky MPV sold between 1998 and 2010
  2. Striking design was replaced by more ordinary design in 2004
  3. Six-seat interior layout is made up of a ‘3+3’ arrangement
  4. Hugely practical interior
  5. Good standard equipment
  6. Interior is a bit low-rent
  7. Not the most reliable of choices
  8. Very affordable to buy though
  9. Diesel engines are efficient and deliver decent performance
  10. An oddball MPV that’s worth considering if you can find one