Fiat Qubo

The Essentials

  • Price from £11,485
  • What Car? says: 3 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 68.9mpg
  • What is it? It looks a bit unusual, but the Qubo is a genuinely useful mini-MPV that's pretty good to drive, too.

Great

  • Its compact but offers lots of space for four and their luggage
  • A smooth ride means its decent to drive
  • Even entry-level cars are well equipped.

Gripes

  • It's lacking in some safety kit.
  • The tailgage is big and heavy.
  • The rear windows don't open fully.
  • Drive

    Not all that exciting, but has a smooth ride and decent grip

  • Inside

    Masses of space and very durable, if unattractive, materials

  • Safety

    The Qubo's biggest downfall - no curtain airbags, and stability control will cost extra.

  • Reliability

    Feels hardy, but Fiat's reliability record is poor

  • Space

    Masses of space for such a small car

  • Standard and extras

    Climate control, Bluetooth and MP3 socket are standard

  • What's it like to drive?

    There's a petrol engine and a diesel, but the latter is the only sensible choice: it's not exactly quick but it's stronger and easier to drive than the petrol, and in town it feels pluckier than the figures suggests. However, it will still struggle with heavy loads and it's a bit short of oomph at motorway speeds.
    Since it's based on a van, you might expect the Qubo to feel like one, but in fact the suspension soaks up bumps pretty well. The body tends to lean in bends, but there's plenty of grip and the steering is responsive. The Qubo is surprisingly quiet, too: even wind noise is barely audible despite the car's blunt front end, while the diesel engine stays smooth and pretty quiet even if you have to rev it. Sharper bumps can sometimes thud through the suspension, however, and the gearshift feels slack and imprecise.

  • What's it like inside?

    You can adjust the height and reach of the steering wheel on all models, but the base model misses out on height adjustment for the driver's seat. Even so, the overall driving position in all models is high so you get a good view of the road. The dash layout is usefully simple, while the choice of materials focuses on the durable rather than the beautiful.
    The Qubo has an impressive amount of space for such a small car. There's masses of headroom and more than enough legroom in any seat. Access to the rear seats is easy, thanks to the sliding doors. The boot is huge, and you can fold down the rear seats or remove them completely for van-like accommodation. Bear in mind, though, that the big tailgate is heavy and needs space to open and close.
    Entry-level Active trim includes climate control, electric windows, steering-wheel stereo controls and Bluetooth. Dynamic includes electric door mirrors and alloy wheels, while the Trekking model gets 4x4 styling.

  • How reliable is it?

    The Qubo feels solid and built to last. Fiat isn't known for its mechanical reliability, however, and the brand finished 19th out of 36 manufacturers in What Car?'s 2012 Reliability Survey.
    All Qubos comes with twin front and side airbags, but curtain airbags aren't included and stability control is available only as a cost option. As for security kit, only deadlocks are fitted as standard.

  • Should I buy one?

    The Qubo is quite cheap but we'd recommend spending the extra on the diesel version as it's better to drive and returns 62.8mpg compared with the petrol's 42.2mpg. Resale values are fairly decent for the class.