Fiat Multipla

Here’s an MPV designed by a committee that was surprisingly successful, despite looking like a camel. Indeed, that’s now part of the appeal, especially in ‘challenging’ Mk1 guise.

If you need any convincing of its merits, its 3+3 seating is very clever. In a conventional MPV, you can wave the boot goodbye. Not so with the Fiat Multipla, in which three abreast front and rear suddenly seems like the most sensible seating plan ever devised. The sliding rear seats are light and easy to remove, so the packaging permutations are almost endless.

This is a utility vehicle in the original 600 Multipla mould, and remember: as a Multipla owner, you will be on the inside looking out. All the better to appreciate the clever details, such as a central front seat that folds forward when empty to make a table or armrest. Not only all that, but also the Multipla’s stumpy footprint is useful for parking, even if it is wider than a Boeing 747.

The 1.9-litre common-rail diesel engine delivers around 30% better economy than the 1.6-litre petrol, with an average consumption figure of just over 44mpg. The 1.9-litre diesel makes more sense if you do lots of miles, but the petrol is cheaper to fix and run.

The Multipla is of course a Fiat, and that does mean there are some niggling issues when it comes to its electrics, such as the windows, central locking and immobiliser. Otherwise, beware rotten exhausts, rotting bodywork, smoking tired engines, knocking front suspension arms and obstructive gearboxes.

Many a Multipla has been used as a taxi, so we know it can deal with big miles, given timely maintenance.

Making it look duller in a 2004 revamp didn’t boost sales, but these cars are likely to be less rusty. It’s your last chance to buy a decent camel.

Ones we found