The funky, oddball looking Fiat Qubo is an interesting concept for moms to ponder over. It’s practical, very spacious and in MultiJet diesel form, a pretty decent runabout. Qubo is priced well too, coming in under the R200k mark and sees competitors such as Nissan Livina and the Toyota Avanza as rivals.
It looks a bit like a van from the outside and suffers from a massive under bite of a front bumper – a gap between the bumper and radiator is said to save the radiator in the event of a minor bumper bashing in town. This necessitates the exaggeration at the front end.
Once both sliding doors (on either side of the Qubo) are opened it looks more car-like, there’s a rear row of seating and a decent size boot. The rear seats can be folded over, and even removed if load requires it. The front seat will also remove and the boot loading height is super low, you could just about fit a Motocross bike in at a squeeze. In the front half the Qubo is nicely put together and the materials are actually rather pleasant for a vehicle coming in at under R200k with this much to offer. The usual suite of media playing capabilities is built in so you can hook up your iPod, USB stick and Bluetooth your phone.
The Qubo has two engine choices, a 1.3-litre turbodiesel and a 1.4 naturally aspirated petrol. Both make very similar power, the diesel 55kW at 4000rpm with 190Nm from 1750rpm and the petrol 54kW at 5200rpm and 118Nm at 2600rpm. The diesel is definitely the pick, the extra torque means you don’t have to rev the nuts off it to get going at it will hold 120kph alright. The Petrol is another story, lackluster is probably a kind way of describing it. Not having access to the award winning MultiAir engines in the Qubo may hurt petrol sales, especially when reef altitudes come into play.
The ride feels quite comfortable and our trip around the outskirts and innards of Cape Town went down well in the Qubo. The high driving position can feel slightly like a van with cab forward seating style and the gear lever rising from the centre stack but it’s easy to get to grips with and corners adequately.
Fiat Qubo 1.4 Petrol – R177 900
Fiat Qubo 1.3 Diesel – R199 900