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Fiat Qubo

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Introductionword count: 19

Fiat's Qubo isn't an obvious choice for a growing family, but it's a very good one, thinks June Neary

Will It Suit Me?word count: 188

Every now and again, most families need a bit more space. What most families don't want at all times is a seven-seat MPV or 4x4 with poor fuel economy. Something that's a tight fit for underground car parks and inner city bays. What they really need is a capacious, light and easy to drive car that seats four or five, and is great at carrying kids through the week and the supermarket shopping at weekends. Plus it must be able to carry family and luggage on weekend trips, long haul holidays or to the airport prior to the family fly-away. Step forward the oddly named Qubo (a sort of Italian version of Cube). There is a reason so many car makers are turning out cuboid cars - like the Renault Kangoo, Vauxhall Meriva, Skoda Roomster, Citroen Berlingo Multispace and Fiat's own Doblo. A square box on wheels can carry an awful lot of people, shopping and luggage. If you don't fancy the downsides of permanently having to drive something bigger than you need just because you require additional capacity now and then, the Qubo could be for you.

Practicalitiesword count: 299

Car snobs will always put down cars like the Qubo and say that they're just vans with windows. The criticism is debatable at best, given the attention car makers now pay to designing and manufacturing such vehicles. On the other hand, there is a reason why van drivers like their LCVs so much. The shape means they can carry big loads. Plus their drivers sit up high and can see way down the road. The same is true of the Qubo, with an upright seating position that gives you a better view of what is happening ahead than most cars. It also has a carrying capacity that belies its exterior dimensions - think four wheeled Tardis. Though the Qubo is about the same size outside as a Fiesta (around four metres long), the roof gives headroom enough for even the tallest and there is legroom for four adults, let alone kids. There are lots of little cubbyholes and, praise be, for anyone who knows the joy of getting things like leaking milk containers, dropped yoghurt, melted chocolate or welly-boot mud out of pristine car interiors, there is hose-clean flooring. Wide sliding doors on both sides make access easy and with all the seats in place, the large boot (square of course to maximise the area) gives you 650 litres of space. The rear seats split-fold down 60:40 but can be taken out if you want to lug something bigger. With the seats out, you get a genuine van void of 2,500-litres, all with a low, flat loading lip and full-width tailgate to make loading and unloading a doddle. Awkward loads are also swallowed without complaint. Want to transport an adult's pushbike with taking the wheels off it? No problem, as the front passenger seat folds into the foot well.

Behind the Wheelword count: 170

If you looking for spirited, sporty driving, then you had best look elsewhere. The Qubo's 75bhp 1.3-litre diesel or 73bhp 1.4-litre petrol units will go from a standing start to 60mph in around 16 seconds. But when was the last time you needed to sprint away from the traffic lights to get to the supermarket? In the real world, the Qubo, especially with the 190Nm of torque available with the diesel, gives plenty of pulling power to haul a car-full, makes for an easy driving style without endless gear changes and keeps up with traffic. Getting comfortable is a cinch as the steering wheel adjusts in/out, plus up/down and there is even a height-adjustable seat on higher spec versions. Go into corners a bit briskly and you will get some bodyroll but overall, the Qubo delivers mild, relaxing road manners, plenty of grip and reasonable refinement. Crucially, visibility all-round is brilliant which makes for safer motoring. The Qubo is also easy to park, and accurate steering makes for good manoeuvrability.

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Pictures (high res disabled)

Statistics (subset of data only)



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Scoring (subset of scores)

Category: MPV People Carriers

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