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Fiat Qubo Reviews

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Thinking trendy but practical small car? Consider Fiat's Qubo, says Jonathan Crouch

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 Qubo sets out to deliver.

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 and Renault's Kangoo 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 in Fiat's Grande 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 car 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 larger Doblo and Multipla compact MPVs for busy families but if you don't need the six or seven-seat options they provide, then you're probably better off with this one.

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 75bhp 1.3-litre diesel or the other option, a 73bhp 1.4-litre petrol, can break the 16-second barrier for the 'sprint' from 0-60mph. Get out on the road however, and the story is a little different - at least if you opt for the diesel we tried. 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. 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.

The Qubo has all the key design elements of a roomy small car nailed down. The wheels are pushed right out to each corner of the vehicle, the bonnet is stubby and the roof is tall. Practical then, but not a recipe for something you'd be proud to be seen in - or is it? The oversized bumpers and wheelarches, the dramatic rear side windows, the bottom edges of which slope steeply upwards towards the rear of the car: with the roofrails and alloys on this plusher version, it makes it all almost SUV-like. You wouldn't be embarrassed to drop the kids off in one of these, though your offspring might be irritated to find that they can't fully open the rear windows. At under four meters from nose to tail, this Fiat may be no bigger than a Fiesta supermini but there's lots of space inside. More headroom, for example, than you could possibly find a use for, plus legroom is ample for four adult-sized passengers. There are a reasonable number of internal storage areas, including a large glovebox, and the hose-clean flooring is sensible on a car like this. Access to the rear is helped by the wide-opening sliding doors on each side of the car and in contrast to many of today's compact supermini-based MPV offerings, the large, square boot is very generous at 650 litres with all the seats in place - or 330-litres under the sturdy parcelshelf. That's the kind of space you'd expect from something much larger. The rear seats split-fold down 60:40 but if you want to get maximum cargo on board, you'll need to remove them completely. This procedure converts the Qubo back into something approaching van form with a huge 2,500-litre capacity, accessible via a low, flat loading lip and full-width tailgate. As an alternative to this, an optional pair of vertically-split, side-opening back doors might better suit those looking for, say, a wheelchair conversion. For the transport of big, long items like, say, an adult bike, the designers have even thought of a front passenger seat that folds into the foot well.

List prices suggest that you'll probably end up paying between £11,000 and £15,000 for your Qubo, with a £1,200 premium for the 1.3-litre diesel model over the 1.4-litre petrol version. About what you'd pay for an ordinary - and by contrast, pretty impractical - supermini. There's an optional Dualogic six-speed semi-automatic gearbox if you go for the diesel. Asking prices for the 73bhp 1.4-litre petrol and the 1.3-litre 75bhp diesel Multijet may be very slightly more than this car's identically-designed stablemate, Citroen's Nemo Multispace, but there's little in it and the Fiat looks much the trendier of the two as well as boasting a slightly more powerful diesel engine. As to your other options, you'll need a few hundred more for a supermini-MPV like a Vauxhall Meriva or a Citroen C3 Picasso - and it won't be quite as practical as the Qubo. Or find another £1,500 or so over this Fiat and go for a very slightly bigger family hatchback-based van-MPV like a Citroen Berlingo Multispace or Fiat's own Doblo - both useful if you need the option of seven seats. Gone are the days when van-based MPV buyers were happy if their purchase had a heater and a glovebox. All Qubo models get a trip computer, power steering, remote central locking, a CD stereo and the Blue&Me communications system which combines Bluetooth connectivity and voice command functions.

Running costs are low, with group 2 insurance and nearly 63mpg on the combined cycle from the diesel version which puts out only 119g/km of CO2, returns that respectively fall to 40.4mpg and 165g/km if you go for the petrol model. If you don't mind someone criticising your driving and want to get as close to these figures as possible, Fiat offer an 'eco:Drive' system. Plug their special USB stick into the car and it collects data relating to your driving style. Then, plug the USB into your home computer for a breakdown of your driving style including marks out of 100 for the level of efficiency achieved. Step by step tutorials can then be viewed to help improve the score next time. Fiat claims that following the advice can lead to an improvement in fuel economy of up to 15 per cent, with a corresponding cut in emissions.

Judged in the metal rather than on paper, this deceptively versatile little car conceals its workmanlike origins very effectively, except in areas where there'll be of benefit to its target budget-minded family audience. Cool by van-based MPV standards and sensibly practical by everyone else's, Fiat's Qubo may not be the car you always dreamed of owning but it may be the one your family actually needs.

Fiat Qubo Videos

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Overview

Fiat urge you to “dare to be different!” with their newly designed Fiat Qubo! This is a stylish and modern looking MPV that is different to all the others. If a multi-purpose vehicle that’s easily adaptable is what you’re looking for then continue reading this hub for the most relevant information about the Fiat Qubo.

Key Fiat Qubo Points

The Fiat Qubo is an amazing MPV that is smart and stylish, as well as this it’s available in three trim types which are Active, My Life and Trekking; all three are only available in a 1.3 litre or 1.4 litre diesel. The Active trim offers all of your usual essentials which include a wide opening tailgate, double sliding side doors, power steering, remote door opening and locking, electric front windows, ABS, EBD and airbags all around. Upgrading to My Life trim will get you Bluetooth, air conditioning and 16” alloy wheels; The Trekking trim gives you a taste of the wild with its roof bar, 15” alloys and traction system making it fully adaptable to your extra-curricular activities!

Why Lease a Fiat Qubo

Are you looking for a car that will be big enough to fit all of your family in, and all of their baggage? What about needing a car big enough to fit a wheelchair in, or a pram? The Fiat Qubo gives you 16 different seating combinations making it an amazingly adaptable car inside. It is a fantastic car that will suit all of your needs and circumstances. The Fiat Qubo is also great to lease because it is super eco-friendly and supports ‘Going Green!’ therefore this means brilliant value for money and fuel efficiency.

Five reasons to lease a Fiat Qubo

  • MPV
  • 16 seating combinations!
  • Green is good! - eco-friendly car
  • 2500 litre boot space
  • Wheel-chair friendly car

Conclusion

In short, the Fiat Qubo would be a great car for you to lease if you need a MPV that has the perks of adaptability and fuel efficiency as well as looking smart on the roads. Check out our photos of this car so you can see it for real!

Resources

As good as we are At All Car Leasing we can’t possibly know everything about the Fiat Qubo, so for further information on the Fiat Qubo why not check out the following resources –

The official Fiat Qubo page

The Fiat Qubo reviews on Parkers

Fiat Qubo owner’s club.