2014 Fiat 500L MPW review

  • Longer and more practical version of 500L
  • Compact MPV available with five or seven seats
  • On sale now, priced from £15,795

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First there was the Fiat 500 city car, then last year came the Fiat 500L MPV – and now there's the Fiat 500L MPW.

The MPW (for Multi Purpose Wagon) is the latest model to extend the range, squeezing an extra row of seats into the existing wheelbase by extending the body behind the rear axle.

Engine options remain unchanged, meaning 1.4 and turbocharged 0.9-litre petrols, as well as 1.3 and 1.6 diesels.

Fiat is hoping the 500L MPW will strike a chord with families wanting MPV practicality in a less van-like package.

What’s the 2014 Fiat 500L MPW like inside?

The stylish, practical cabin treatment of the 500L continues into the MPW, and that is no bad thing. The dashboard is identical, with a touch-screen stereo, CD player and Bluetooth as standard.

The chunky steering wheel incorporates audio and phone controls, and all major dashboard switches and buttons are logically laid out and easily reached.

The seats are comfortable - although driver's seat lumbar adjustment and a front armrest are optional extras. The former is a worthwhile investment.

The middle-row bench slides for a little extra practicality, and offers good head- and legroom, but the rearmost pair of seats are suitable for only children – and add an extra £700 to the price.

You can have the MPW with just five seats and a massive boot, but most will opt for the pair of occasional seats, which fold flat into the boot floor and are easy to raise and lower. 

With all seven seats in place, boot space is limited to 168 litres, but with 493 litres behind the middle row, the MPW offers similar load space to rivals such as the Kia Carens.

What’s the 2014 Fiat 500L MPW like to drive?

With suspension and running gear remaining virtually unchanged, it's no surprise that the driving experience is very similar to the standard Fiat 500L's.

We drove the 103bhp 1.6 diesel engine, which feels decidedly flat below 1700rpm, and you’ll want to change up well before 4000rpm; acceleration tails off rapidly at higher revs.

This engine is also very noisy – it clatters away at tickover and drones away loudly at a steady cruise. There's plenty of road and wind noise on the motorway, too.

Ride quality is better, with minimal thumping through the cabin at low speeds. Unfortunately, things aren’t so pleasant on country roads, where the 500’s body bounces around over dips and crests.

The steering isn't as sharp as that in the best rivals, but does offer reassuring weight and can be made lighter at the touch of a button – useful when parking in tight spaces.

Should I buy one?

If you like your family car to come with a dash of style, the 500L MPW has much to commend it.

However, the MPW (with the seven-seat option) commands a £1500 premium over the standard 500L, so it’s not a cheap car and there are some very complete seven-seat rivals in the same price arena.

The Kia Carens, for example, is more practical, better to drive and much more refined. It should also cost you less to buy, thanks to more generous dealer discounts.

What Car? says...


Rivals:

Citroen Grand C4 Picasso
Kia Carens

Specification
Engine size 1.6-litre diesel
Price from £18,990
Power 103bhp
Torque 214b ft
0-62mph 12.2 seconds
Top speed 112mph
Fuel economy 62.7mpg
CO2 117g/km

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