Fiat 500L MPW
The Fiat 500L MPW is the largest member of the Fiat 500 family and the only one that is available with seven seats.
The Fiat 500L MPW – or multi purpose wagon – is based on the same platform as the Fiat 500L but it’s about 30 cm longer, with almost all of that length going behind the rear axle. As a result Fiat has managed to increase boot space from around 410 litres in the 500L to nearly 650 litres in the 500L MPW. Opting for seven seats will cost you around £800 but for some families it’ll be worth the extra outlay – just remember they’re only really for small children. The MPW is available with all of the frugal engines of the standard 500L, including the two-cylinder 900cc TwinAir engine.
Our choice: 500L MPW 1.6 Multijet Lounge
We don't yet have a video review of the Fiat 500L MPW, but check out our sister site Carbuyer.co.uk's video on the Fiat 500L.
Where the Fiat 500L was relatively successful in transferring the 500 city car’s looks in to a larger package, the longer 500L MPW looks a little awkward. Look at it in profile and the wheels look far too small and the back looks a little out of proportion. Things are far more promising in the cabin, where fit and finish is pretty good and the design is far more stylish. PopStar models get a body-coloured insert on the dashboard, while more upmarket Lounge variants get a nice soft-touch leather insert.
The MPW is available with the same range of engines as the 500L, so from launch that means a 1.3-litre diesel, a 1.6-litre diesel and an 900cc TwinAir engine. So far, we’ve only driven the 1.6-litre Multijet diesel but based on our experiences in other Fiats, it’s likely to be the pick of the range. It’s got 104bhp – though a 118bhp version is on the way – and feels as though it has adequate performance. Engines with as little as 79bhp are available but they’ll probably feel very slow. Accelerate hard around town and the engine does sound a bit rough but as soon as you get up to motorway speeds the MPW feels like a very grown-up cruiser. The engine can no longer be heard, the ride seems to smooth out the bumps really well and there’s barely any wind noise in the cabin. Admittedly, it’s not the most thrilling seven-seater you can buy – a Ford Grand C-MAX is about the best – but it is capable and composed in the bends.
The engines and platform of the 500L MPW have been used across a host of other Fiat models like the 500, Panda and Punto, so should prove to be just as reliable as they have been in those cars. Fiat doesn’t generally perform too well in customer satisfaction surveys, though, so you may not quite get the service you’re expecting. Euro NCAP hasn’t crash tested the 500L MPW yet, but the standard 500L received the maximum five stars. That’s down to its generous safety equipment as standard, which includes driver, passenger, side and window airbags. ABS and traction control are both included and you can even specify an automatic city braking system that can detect and hopefully avoid a potential collision.
The Fiat 500L MPW dimensions are about 30cm longer than the standard Fiat 500L and it comes with the option of a seven-seat layout in the cabin. It’ll cost you around £800 extra, and gets you two temporary seats that fold out of the boot floor. Small children will be fine with the amount of space on offer but for anyone else it’ll be a real struggle to squeeze in. On the plus side, with only five seats in place and with each moved as far forward as it will go, there’s a huge 638-litre boot. Push them as far back as they’ll go for maximium legroom and you get a 560-litre load area. If you do have all seven seats in place the amount of boot space goes down to 168 litres. The good news for families is that all of this sliding and folding of seats is incredibly smooth and easy.
The engines with the lowest running costs are the ones we’d most likely recommend you avoid. The 1.3-litre diesel, for example, boasts 67.2mpg but will feel underpowered. For the best blend of performance and low running costs go for the 1.6-litre Multijet, which feels relatively punchy and can also return 62.7mpg. The option of a 900cc TwinAir petrol engine is available, offering the best refinement of the lot and economy of 58.8mpg. In the real world, though, we’ve found it extremely difficult to even get close to that figure.