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Fiat Qubo

HIP TO BE SQUARE? (some text hidden)

By Jonathan Crouch

Thinking trendy but practical small car? Consider Fiat's Qubo, says Jonathan Crouch. Here, we check out the improved version.

Ten Second Reviewword count: 75

No doubt about it: functional budget-minded family motoring is best served by one of those van-based mini-MPVs. For many though, something like this is too square and boring to run as an only car. So what if someone made it smaller and cheaper so you could run one as a second or third car alongside something nicer. And what if they made it trendier too? That's what Fiat's improved little Qubo sets out to deliver.

Backgroundword count: 233

Is the van-based mini-MPV ready to become cool? It sounds unlikely but if any vehicle can pull such a thing off, perhaps it's this one, Fiat's Qubo. Not only does it look trendier than a car of this kind has any right to but it's also smaller than you might expect. Compact but versatile little cars based on vans have been around for some time but haven't previously been delivered to us this small. Whereas familiar names in this sector like Citroen's Berlingo Multispace are family hatchback-Focus or Astra-sized, this one is no bigger than a Fiesta supermini yet still offers nearly as much space. It may even be slightly unfair to call it 'van-based'. Yes, you could see it as a Fiat Fiorino van with windows and seats but that vehicle in turn is based on a Fiat Punto supermini. So let's stop trying to label this car and instead see it for what it is. A very compact four-to-five-seater family runabout that's small and nippy enough to twirl you round the tightest underground supermarket carpark, yet large enough to use on the average family holiday - a pretty tough brief to fulfil if you think about it. Fiat has also created a larger Doblo compact MPV for busy families, but if you don't need the greater space or the seven-seat option it provides, then you're probably better off with this one.

Driving Experienceword count: 347

No doubt about it: functional budget-minded family motoring is best served by one of those van-based mini-MPVs. For many though, something like this is too square and boring to run as an only car. So what if someone made it smaller and cheaper so you could run one as a second or third car alongside something nicer. And what if they made it trendier too? That's what Fiat's improved little Qubo sets out to deliver. You don't tend to approach a drive in any MPV, let alone one related to a van, with much enthusiasm and on paper, such pessimism seems justified here. Hopes of even moderately nippy performance from the Qubo will be immediately dashed as soon as you learn that neither the 80bhp 1.3-litre diesel or the other option, a 77bhp 1.4-litre petrol, can break the 16-second barrier for the 'sprint' from 0-62mph. Get out on the road however, and the story is a little different - at least if you opt for the diesel. With 190Nm of torque, there's plenty of pulling power to waft you about without having to row the car along with the gearlever on the kind of urban trips you're likely to want this Fiat to perform. Quite simply, it's as fast as it needs to be. If you do want to go faster, there's a 95bhp diesel variant at the top of the range. True, there's a distinctly van-like driving position - but that also means you sit quite high and get a good view of the road. You feel comfortable too thanks to a wheel that adjusts in and out as well as up and down, plus a height-adjustable seat on this plush version. On the move, the unyielding van suspension has been softened for passenger use, though not enough to exacerbate the kind of bodyroll that all high-ish sided cars suffer from to some extent. This one compensates with mild, relaxing road manners, plenty of grip and reasonable refinement. All round visibility is brilliant, so it's easy to park with a tight turning circle and accurate steering.

To see the full road test text contact us on 0330 0020 227

Pictures (high res disabled)

Statistics (subset of data only)

Min

Max

0-62 mph (s):

12.2

16.5

Boot capacity min (litres):

330

Boot capacity max (litres):

2500

Combined mpg:

42.8

68.9

CO2 (g/km):

107

152

Extra urban mpg:

50.4

78.5

... and 9 other stats available

Scoring (subset of scores)

Category: MPV People Carriers

Performance
50%
Handling
50%
Comfort
60%
Space
50%
Styling, Build, Value, Equipment, Depreciation, Handling, Insurance and Total scores are available with our full data feed.

This is an excerpt from our full review.
To access the full content library please contact us on 0330 0020 227 or click here

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