23 February 2004

Fiat’s quirky Multipla has gone all conventional. The facelifted model, launched at the Geneva show, goes on sale in July with this totally new nose treatment.

Out goes the weird light arrangement, with eight individual lights at three different levels, the deep beltline below the windscreen and the near-flat bonnet.

Instead, the Multipla gets Fiat’s latest corporate grille, blander one-piece lights, a sloping bonnet, a new front bumper and revised air intakes. At the back, new tail lights and bumper distinguish new from old.

The styling changes mean the Multipla no longer meets the original target of building a six-seat MPV with an overall length of under four metres. The old model scraped in by 5mm; the facelifted version now stretches to 4090mm.

Fiat blames the controversial styling for the model’s modest sales impact. Last year, Fiat produced just 21,742 Multiplas, against Renault’s 300,000 Scénics. Which makes the decision not to add the 140bhp 1.9 JTD engine to the range even more surprising.

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