Remembering the Fiat Multipla, Quite Possibly the Ugliest Car Ever Made

When Fiat designed a multipurpose vehicle (MPV) with two rows of three seats, it named it the Fiat Multipla. Car buyers consider it one of the worst cars ever made. What turned buyers off and kept them from clamoring for the model? How does a car achieve the dubious honor of becoming the ugliest car ever made?

Granted, there are quite a few ugly cars. Just think of the Nissan Juke. Even so, the Fiat Multipla has the distinction of standing out as possibly the ugliest car ever. Does the MPV truly deserve this stain on its reputation?

A brief history of the Fiat Multipla

The Fiat Multipla MPV at the 2019 Concours d'Elegance at the palace Soestdijk in Baarn, Netherlands
Fiat Multipla | Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

Fiat introduced the Multipla MPV to Italian buyers in 1998. As noted by Hot Cars, the automaker was sure it would revolutionize car design since it viewed the upgrades it made as surpassing the Fiat Brava. Furthermore, in a nod to its history, Fiat revived the Multipla name, which it had previously given a post-WWII vehicle that could comfortably seat five.

The Multipla was shorter than the Brava, making it easier to park. This feature highlighted the MPV as the vehicle to let you get out and enjoy nature. Concurrently, it offered more cargo space than the Brava. Fiat believed that this advantage could propel the MPV to become famous.

The Multipla had a 16.6-gallon fuel capacity. According to Auto Evolution, It reached a top speed of 105.6 mph with an acceleration of 0 to 62 mph in 12.6 seconds. The front-wheel-drive MPV had a five-speed manual gearbox. It achieved a combined 27.4 mpg rating. While these specs are not outstanding, they are not bad either.

The unique design elements that make the Fiat Multipla stand out

In what would be a major surprise to the carmaker, the Fiat Multipla flopped. Car Scoops critics cannot get over the bulge that sits at the base of the windshield. Some compare it unfavorably to a muffin top. Others think of shoes that do not quite fit.

Fiat envisioned the design of a vehicle that would look different, but they did not expect that the bulge would become a point of ridicule. Add to this the side windows that seem too large for the body and the taillights that do not look right, and you know why the Fiat Multipla is on the list of the ugliest cars ever made.

However, it’s not all bad news. For example, the large windows are great for eliminating blind spots. The carmaker also added some interesting interior features that are actually great ideas. There are two glove boxes, oversized sun visors (which are great news for shorter drivers and passengers), and the ability to turn the rear center seat into a table. Additionally, if the back reminds you of the Kia Soul, you are not alone. 

Other contenders for the ugly car moniker

When Car Throttle readers voted the Fiat Multipla the ugliest car ever made with 33% of the vote, they highlighted other notorious models. What were some other ugly cars that they identified? The Pontiac Aztek is in second place with 25% of the votes. Critics considered the car dull, sluggish, and unstable. Of course, when it made appearances in the show Breaking Bad, the vehicle developed a cult following.

Interestingly, the Toyota Prius is in third place with 10% of the vote. Even people who liked this mass-produced hybrid were reminded of the Ugly Duckling fairy tale.  There is just no pleasing some people.


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