A guide to Fiat cars (Part 2)

In the second part of our guide to Fiat cars, we take a look at the rest of the cars in the Italian manufacturers range.

Alongside the outstanding and often industry-leading small city cars and superminis, Fiat also offers a number of options for downsizers looking to reduce fuel and tax costs but retain practicality and versatility.

Many of Fiat’s larger cars are based around van variants, and as such feature a box-like rear end ideal for storing huge amounts of luggage. However, Fiat also offers quirky, eye-catching styling as well, making it one of the more desirable manufacturers in the segment.

We also take a look at what the future has in store for Fiat, including a look at some of the new engine technology cars the manufacturer has revealed in recent months.

Fiat Qubo

The Qubo is an extremely clever mini-MPV which, as the name suggests, features a boxy exterior disguised with some ingenious styling.

The result is it looks great – not an easy task with boxy MPVs. The compact dimensions are ideal for city driving and, more importantly, city parking.

Although people may be put off by its van origins, there is no hint of this in the drive. It handles like a small car, and the suspension irons out any uneven road surfaces with ease.

The most popular model, the diesel version, is more expensive but still very competitive compared to less practical rivals.

Meanwhile, inside the Qubo has a high build quality and good levels of equipment and safety is assured through twin front and side airbags and ESC as an option.

A Fiat Qubo can be bought for little more than £10,000 – and you won’t find this sort of practicality matched to the driving dynamics elsewhere for that price.

Fiat Doblo

Fiat’s practical people carrier has been dubbed the cheapest seven-seat car in the UK, but with unique styling and immense practicality, it certainly doesn’t look or feel cheap.

It features sliding doors for easy entry and exit, and despite the bulky looks handles reasonably well.

The suspension in particular soaks up everything UK roads have to throw at it, and all models are fitted with Electronic Stability Control to improve cornering.

As with all Fiat models, the engines are refined, frugal and efficient, so running costs won’t be too high.

If you’re looking for a practical people carrier and are bored of the usual suspects, the Fiat Doblo is a capable alternative at a fraction of the price – entry-level models start at around £12,500.

Fiat Multipla

Innovation lies at the heart of Fiat’s Multipla, much criticised on its initial launch for the inelegant front end. This has been fixed with a mid-life facelift, and now the Multipla sits as a practical, affordable and alternative choice in the MPV segment.

Unlike most of its rivals, the Multipla uses a clever 3+3 seating configuration, giving each passenger plenty of room and leaving a large luggage capacity which can be increased to a cavernous 1900 litres with the three rear seats removed.

Passengers will also enjoy the open air feel of the cabin due to the large rear and side windows and high seating position.

The Fiat Multipla has been around for a while now, but it has aged well, and the low prices are real bonus.

The diesel engines are frugal enough, and the quirky styling is appealing and practical in equal measure. Expect to pay around £18,000 for an entry-level model.

Fiat Sedici

Fiat’s only SUV offering has been on the periphery of the mainstream for a number of years now, but its low price and its 4×4 capability pushes it above other budget SUVs.

It also benefits from a bit of Italian flair in its styling, and this can be further enhanced with extra kit on range-topping models.

The Fiat Sedici manages to thrive where other SUVs don’t; it is a capable and composed on-road SUV but can handle rugged off-road terrain as well.

It may not possess the huge amount of space rivals may do, but it benefits from the smaller dimensions with its poise and refinement.

New models

The Fiat 500 its convertible sibling, the 500C are bound to continue to spawn an avalanche of special editions over the next year.

Already there have been special edition models such as the BlackJack 500, 500 and 500C Pink, 500byDIESEL and the Ferrari edition 500, and more are sure to follow.

An estate version of the Fiat 500 is also reportedly ready for production in 2011, while an all-electric Fiat 500 is currently being tested in the US.

New technology

Fiat’s smaller cars such as the Panda and 500 could soon be available with unique two-cylinder engines.

It has been many years since cars used engines as small as a two-cylinder unit, but Fiat’s innovative MultiAir technology has led to the manufacturer designing the TwinAir two-cylinder unit capable of powering a small car such as the 500 city car.

The result will be ultra-low emissions – possibly even making it a challenger to small diesel and hybrid engines in terms of CO2 emissions and fuel consumption.