New Fiat Multipla - handling Design | Part Two

New Fiat Multipla

Fiat Multipla

In addition to a radical interior design solution offering the ultimate in flexible practicality, one of Fiat Auto’s key design objectives for the Multipla was to produce a mid-range MPV that would handle as well as an equivalent saloon. As a result, in a class of competitors which often tend to be larger-bodied versions of existing hatchbacks whose suspension is inevitably compromised by existing dynamics, the purpose-built, spaceframe chassis, wide track and comparatively long wheelbase of the new Fiat Multipla combine with independent MacPherson strut front and trailing arm rear suspension to offer superior high speed stability, class leading roadholding, and handling of a tenacity more usually associated with a sporty hatchback.

Design

While retaining all its highly praised interior design features, the new Fiat Multipla has undergone significant exterior styling changes.

A brand new front end featuring large, jewel-bright headlamps, an understated, chrome highlighted grille and a deep, purposeful air dam beneath an integral, colour coded bumper reinforces the new Multipla’s exceptionally wide stance (1870 mm) and makes the new car instantly recognisable as the latest addition to the Fiat family.

In profile, the high roofline (8" taller than a conventional saloon) emphasises the Multipla’s extensive glazing which makes up 50% of the vehicle’s sides, providing exceptional visibility as well as creating a light and spacious interior.

The near vertical sides of the new Multipla fulfil three important functions; window seat passengers are afforded maximum head and shoulder room, solar gain is reduced to a minimum when the car is parked in hot sunlight for prolonged periods, and the doors may be opened without rainwater dripping onto the seats.

The car’s waistline is slightly tilted towards the front, improving visibility of the road immediately around the car. The large door mirrors are unique in being split into two, covering not only the driver’s blind spots, but also the kerb adjacent to the rear wheels to facilitate parking. Both mirrors may be folded flat electrically in order to gain increased access to narrow spaces.

The practical, black plastic door handle surrounds which guard against damage when the doors are opened have been retained, whilst door mouldings and side rubbing strips are now colour coded to match the bodywork.

At the rear, the new Multipla features revised light clusters and a colour coded bumper framing the large, curvaceous, top hinged rear cargo door which opens on gas-filled struts to a loadspace benefiting from a particularly wide door aperture, low sill height and fully flat floor throughout.

The new Fiat Multipla is available in a choice of nine exterior colours, including three new shades: Batik Orange, Crystal Green and Lagoon Blue.

continues... | Part Three
Published 3 September 2004 Melanie Carter

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