Fiat believes its Qubo is going to be bought by tanned young surf dudes. That’s unlikely. But it can’t detract from a well-sorted and functional five-seater that’s well suited to today’s urban environment.

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Although the same Grande Punto underpinnings form the base for the Fiorino van, that and the Qubo were developed by different teams within Fiat. This makes the Qubo very car-like to drive, supporting the firm’s aspirations for this supermini-MPV to rival the Renault Modus and Skoda Roomster.

The car’s Budget price tag becomes obvious once you’re inside. The dash is simple but functional and standard kit on the base Active model is kept to a minimum. The Blue&Me hands free music and information system and aircon comes as standard on the more upmarket Dynamic.

Surprisingly for a modern supermini-MPV there’s nothing especially clever about the seats. But while they neither disappear nor slide they echo the rest of the car by being perfectly practical. A folding and lowering front passenger Seat is an option while the rear seats collapse forward into the footwell and lift out altogether if you require the full 2500 litres of load space.

It’s an impressive amount of room for a car whose total length is a shade under four metres. And the cabin feels equally spacious for its human cargo thanks to the low window line. The driving position is adjustable and comfortable and there’s room for one six footer to sit behind another.

On the road it’s quiet and the ride supple. Although both 1.3 turbo diesel and 1.4 petrol engines feel gutless, the diesel will please company car owners with emissions of 119g/km of CO2. And whoever’s paying for the car will welcome prices that start at just under £10,000 when it goes on sale this January.

Fiat Qubo 1.3 Mjet Dynamic
P11D price £10,999*
Model price range £9,995-12,995*
Fuel consumption 62.7mpg
CO2 (tax) 119g/km (13%)
BIK 20/40% per month £23/£46*
Service interval 18,750mls
Insurance group 6*
Warranty 3yrs/60,000mls
Boot space min/max 330-2500 litres
Engine size/power 1248cc/75PS
Top speed/0-60mph 97mph/16.5secs
On sale January 2009