04 March 2016

BOTTLED IT!: Fiat Multipla

Clever, practical and versatile family car. But then you saw the front...

A PART of me admires the Fiat Multipla.

Its flexible and rather ingenious 3x3 seating layout. Largely thanks to being a car that's as wide as it is long. It is also blessed with oceans of space inside for passengers. Along with a decent sized boot for luggage (or a dog), when fully laden with people on board too. The Multipla is a very practical and versatile family car that's cleverly packaged. There are great concepts and ideas behind the making of Fiat's compact MPV.

Beyond the ideas and concepts, it's the car's design that really lets the Multipla down. Well just look at it! It's absolutely hideous! It's as if the car was designed by a toddler on them Playskool drawing boards. Inside the, the Multipla was equally as bizarre as the outside. The dashboard was full of switches and the central air vents looked like a Doctor Who prop. Oh, and you could have the interior with some very vibrant colours on the upholstery, which would have been used for decorating the classrooms in nurseries or infant schools.

The Italians know a thing or two on designing good looking cars. Fiat themselves, have a history of making some neat and elegant looking motors with the likes of the 500 and 131 Coupe. Then you have the Multipla, which has the grace and elegance of Jabba the Hutt.

Fiat knew too well that the Multipla's controversial looks would get people talking. Well it certainly did, and not always for the right reasons. Putting it mildly, the Multipla's styling - if I'm right to call it styling - was an acquired taste. Fiat dealers even proudly displayed the sticker saying: 'Wait until you see the front' on the rear windows of their Multiplas.

Multipla may not have been beautiful, but had brains behind it.

The Multipla's challenging looks influenced the decision of people choosing not to buy one. Most parents wouldn't want to be seen dead in one on the school run. The most conservative Mums and Dads would hate the idea of their kids being teased at school over the cars they drove. Hence why most would have had a Renault Scenic, Citroen Xsara Picasso or a Vauxhall Zafira.

The more eccentric and extrovert parents at the school gates would probably have had a Multipla. Not caring about their kids' thoughts of the car. Though it wouldn't surprise me if some parents had bought one with intention of embarrassing their offsprings. Kids that were too embarrassed of the Multipla their Mum or Dad drove, would rather walk or get the bus to school. I bet they would if if there were torrential rainfalls outside. Talk about cramping your style.

After the initial criticism it received from its oddball looks, Fiat updated the Multipla in 2004. While many preferred the conventional new nose that it was given made it look bland. Whilst it looked more inoffensive, the Multipla was still a munter.

As hideous the Multipla was. It's a distinctive car that could never be mistaken for anything else. You've got to applaud Fiat for being brave (or stupid) on creating such a bold and quirky family car. Whether you love or loathe the Multipla's looks, it's arguably a much more interesting alternative to the conventional and play-it-safe competition. In the years to come, the Fiat Multipla is one car that will surely become a cult classic.

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