As you may have noticed, we had a little competition last week in the attempt to determine if there actually is a vehicle uglier than the Pontiac Aztek. The winner was the Fiat Multipla. You may also remember that reader Justin commented, "I don't care if Fiat is an Italian company...this car was designed by someone French. It just has to be." So of course, who leaps to the Multipla's defense? Pierre-Laurent Ribault of Le Blog Auto, which for those of you inarticulate enough to not be able to differentiate between the Romance languages, is French. Pierre-Laurent makes some truly interesting points about the vehicle, but we're leaving the final decision up to you. We love ya, Herr Gropius, but sometimes form following function leads to serious ugliness, though we must admit that the new facelifted Multipla is not currently as ugly as the Aztek. For Ribault's take, read on.
-Davey G. Johnson
I'm writing you this little message about the Fiat Multipla, because I own one that I love, and because there is more to it than its looks. It is rather a case of a "Think Different" car than a "WTF were they thinking" car, like the Aztek. There is no arguing the car is not classically beautiful. Indeed, Fiat gave it a radical nose job last year, after the car failed to seduce the European masses. However, I would maintain that it's a brilliant idea, where form follows function. And I am not alone. Despite being, well, aesthetically challenged, it's piled up rave reviews from the European automotive press since its release.
The basic principle of the car is to put 6 people in 4 meters, without sacrificing the comfort for any of them. The people at Fiat had to think out of the box, and created a car based on a space frame, with 2 rows of 3 identical seats over a completely flat floor. And to let those 6 people feel at ease, they oversized the greenhouse while managing to keep the center of gravity low. As a result, unlike other Minivans, the car is wide and the wheels are at the corners; it handles like a champ (being an Italian car after all)! And, you can take out the rear seats for a picnic, like the old Citroen 2CV. Magnifico!
All that's needed to enjoy it is a little sense of humor, the kind lacking from the drivers of, say, the German euroboxes (the unofficial nemesis of the Multipla is the Opel Zafira, a bland-looking but commercially successful Minivan from GM): the UK owners' club annual meeting is called Ugly Bug Ball.
And lastly, unlike you write in your post, the small children love it. They love Big Bird and Barney, so why wouldn't they ?
Uglier Than the Aztek: Day 4: The Champeen! [Internal]