Everything You Need to Know About the Fiat Multipla: The ‘World’s Ugliest Car’

Have you ever seen a vehicle that made you cringe? If you take one look at the Fiat Multipla, you may gasp—and not for good reason. When it was first released in 1998, it was an instant hit. The Multipla had a unique and eye-catching design that made it stand out from the competition. 

Unfortunately, over time, its unique look became known as the “world’s ugliest car.” Let’s peer back to see how this car evolved into the ugly duckling it’s viewed as today.

A 2009 Fiat Multipla on display
Fiat Multipla | National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images

The history of the Fiat Multipla

The Multipla was introduced in 1998 as a compact car. Hotcars.com states, ” Italian automaker Fiat produced their Type 186 MPV model, which was called the Multipla, in 1998. The MPV became a modern revival of the Fiat 600, which ran from 1956 to 1969. This newer version of the Multipla was based on the Fiat Brava. It had two rows of three seats, similar to the Honda FR-V.” 

The Multipla was marketed as a shorter, yet more spacious version of the Fiat Bravo. In fact, it had more cargo room and seats than the Bravo.

Then, between 2008 to 2013, this vehicle hit the Chinese market under the Zotye M300 Langyue. The Zotye marketed a total of 220 all-electric versions of their Multipla model.

Positives and negatives associated with the Multipla

Despite its unconventional looks, this car has some great positives associated with it! Its interior is surprisingly spacious for such a small car and can easily accommodate up to six passengers. 

It also offers plenty of storage options thanks to its large cargo area and fold-flat rear seatbacks. On top of that, it has excellent fuel economy—making it ideal for those looking for an efficient yet practical family vehicle on a budget. Base models came well-equipped with features like featuring anti-lock brakes with electronic brake distribution, front airbags, and electric windows.

But is it really the world’s ugliest car? Unfortunately, while it has many great qualities, its unique design wasn’t attractive enough for most consumers—and eventually earned it the dubious title “world’s ugliest car” by some automotive reviewers and enthusiasts alike. 

Despite this reputation, though, there are still many who appreciate its quirkiness and find beauty in its distinctive shape.

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What model succeeded the Multipla?

All things considered, despite being labeled as “the world’s ugliest car,” the Fiat Multipla had some great qualities that made it popular with consumers looking for a practical yet affordable family vehicle. 

In 2013, it was replaced by Fiat’s new 500L model, which retains many of its predecessor’s design elements along with some modern touches that make it even better.