Fiat 500L MPW review

We test the all-new Fiat 500L MPW for the first time

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

The 500L MPW works as a family car, with a comfortable ride, a refined cabin and a flexible interior but it’s not perfect. The extra long body seems like a stretch too far for the cute retro-inspired styling so the MPW has now lost the one thing that makes the 500 so popular – its desirability. Yes, it’s good value and it’ll be cheap to run but the Kia Carens looks better and it has the added value of a seven-year warranty, compared to the Fiat’s three-year deal.

If you thought the Fiat 500L was a step too far for the 500 brand, then look away now. This new 500L MPW is based on the same platform but has grown by an extra 20cm, and it’s even available with seven seats.

In the metal it’s obvious where that extra length has come from, and it’s definitely all behind the rear wheels. From a lot of angles you could easily mistake the MPW for a standard 500L but as soon as you see it in profile, it begins to look out of proportion.

• Fiat

There are benefits to those awkward new looks, though, with the most obvious being a new seven-seat option and a larger boot. Fiat bills the MPW as the most compact seven-seater on the market, and it’s definitely a squeeze to get in to the rearmost seats. Even children will feel a bit cooped up back there so it’s probably better to only use them occasionally.

On the plus side, with only five seats in place and moved all the way forwards there’s a 638-litre boot – that’s quite a bit more than the standard 500L’s 400-litre load area. With rear seats moved all the way back for maximum legroom, you still get 560 litres of luggage space and with all seven seats in place there’s 168 litres of room. The good news is all the seats fold and slide with a smooth, easy action, too.

Our car was powered by the 104bhp 1.6-litre MultiJet diesel, though an 84bhp 1.3-litre MultiJet is also available, as is the 900cc TwinAir engine producing 104bhp.

With acceleration from 0-62mph taking 12.2 seconds, the MPW doesn’t ever feel anything more than adequately fast. We’ve got a feeling that anything with less power would begin to feel genuinely slow.

The engine is relatively well isolated from the cabin but any noise that does get in sounds quite rough, especially when you’re accelerating at low speeds.

On the motorway, the MPW feels grown-up, with the engine settling down to near-silence, and an impressive lack of wind noise. It rides pretty well at higher speeds, with a nice cushioning bounce over large bumps. At low speeds it can be more readily caught out by ridges and potholes but it’s very good on the whole.

Fiat hasn’t revealed final pricing for the 500L MPW but did tell us it would command an £800 premium over a 500L for a five-seat version and a £1,600 premium for a seven-seat version. That makes our seven-seater 1.6 Lounge model around £20,500 – or about the same price as a Kia Carens and £1,500 cheaper than an equivalent Ford Grand C-MAX.

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