Car group tests

Fiat 500L: Safest small MPV

Small on the outside and big on the inside – the Fiat 500L is a surprisingly practical small car, but space and user-friendliness are no use if you don’t feel safe putting your family inside.

Small on the outside and big on the inside – the Fiat 500L is a surprisingly practical small car, but space and user-friendliness are no use if you don’t feel safe putting your family inside. Euro NCAP reckons you won’t have any fears, though, as it was jointly named the safest Small MPV tested in 2012 with the Ford B-MAX.

Fiat specialises in small cars and its years of experience show, with a strong design that resists impacts well and lots of safety kit fitted as standard. The 1.4-litre petrol model subjected to the rigorous NCAP testing regime isn’t our pick of the range, but it is the cheapest. We prefer the charismatic 900cc TwinAir petrol model, although you won’t get near its claimed fuel consumption of 60.1mpg in normal driving, or the more costly but economical 1.3 MultiJet diesel.

Whichever engine you choose, the 500L looks good, has a stylish interior and provides lots of space – a 400-litre boot and enough space for five adults inside. We just wish it was as fun to drive as it is safe.

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