FIAT 500L MPW 7 seat 1.6 MultiJet 105bhp Pop Star.
As a ten year old in the mid 1970’s, I first encountered the British film ‘The Italian Job,’ on a Saturday evening & would have watched it in the main, for the MINI car chases famously portraying the protagonists escape from Turin with the stolen loot of Chinese Gold meant for the Italian car maker FIAT. As I grew older & with each subsequent viewing, I began to understand some of the grown up jokes which pepper the film & it was those surrounding the character Professor Simon Peach, a computer expert employed for disabling the Turin traffic control centre, played by Benny Hill, which still bring the broadest smile. Professor Peach is particularly famous for one line in the film, “Are they big ? I like them big….BIG !” & it is this quote which perhaps best describes FIATS latest 500 model the 500L MPW.
This new 500L MPW is based on the same platform as the 500L, but has grown by an extra 20 cm & is available with seven seats. That extra length is all behind the rear wheels. It still however, retains a sense of fun particularly at the front. 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’s clearly a longer car. Now I took a standard 500L to a car boot sale last year & was amazed by just how much stuff we managed to stuff into it. Well, the 500l MPW is even bigger, offering with it’s five seats 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 that all the seats fold and slide easily into place so if you need that extra boot space, seats ^ & & can be easily folded flat or lifted up gain when required.
My white test car with a black roof, was powered by the 105 bhp 1.6-litre MultiJet diesel, which is by far the most sensible fleet engine option in the range, with an 84bhp 1.3 litre MultiJet & a 900 cc TwinAir producing 104 bhp also available
With acceleration from 0-62mph taking 12 seconds, the MPW gets into top gear slowly, but once there & particularly on the motorway it really shines as the engine noise clearly audible at lower speeds is replaced by near silence at 75 mph with despite it’s size very little wind noise. It rides pretty well at higher speeds & around town despite it’s length, has an excellent cushioning bounce over large bumps.
The whole point of owning a 500 MPW is because it’s practical. Plainly a cute 500 it ain’t but inside the cabin FIAT have worked hard to retain the 500’s funky cabin touches with a metal & plastic dashboard finished in the cars exterior colour giving it both a touch of class as well as a retro feel.
Fuel economy & emissions are also impressive for a 7 seater. FIAT claim a combined 62.8 mpg on the combined cycle, I averaged 47.2 mpg, with emissions of just 117g/km. The on the road price for the 7 seater 1.6 Pop Star is also attractive £18,990 & this includes 16″ alloys, rear parking sensors, air-con, 5″touchscreen with Bluetooth, cruise control, start & stop & six airbags. My test car had added 17″alloys, a bi-colour white roof, fog lights with cornering function, park view camera, dark tinted windows, rear electric windows, an electric sunroof & a DAB/Nav system upgrade for the standard 5″touchscreen with Bluetooth, which pushed the price up to £22,445.
Now that my kids are older & being a non outdoorsy kind of family, the 500L would suit our requirements better than the MPW. However, if I had three kids or mine were younger then the option of the seven seats is an attractive one, although it does carry a £1500 premium over the standard 500L.
If like Professor Peach, you like them big, then the 500L MPW is most definitely up your street.3.5/5.
Price: From £15,795. As tested £22,445.