Cape Town, South Africa – The Fiat Qubo makes its first appearance on South African soil and is set to stir up the non-conformist “Mom’s Taxi” brigade with the concept of “free space” that satisfies a variety of needs for mobility. Practical, Economical and Funqy, these are the terms that best describe the Qubo.
The Fiat Qubo is a highly functional vehicle with two sliding rear side doors, flexible interiors capable of offering varying ownership solutions. It’s the vehicle that allows you the freedom to do anything you choose, as is expected from a multipurpose vehicle, because it’s as easy to handle as a city car and as spacious and comfortable as an MPV. With versatility and compact dimensions (3959 mm long and 1684 mm wide) the Qubo boasts the best maximum capacity boot amongst the competitive set.
Qubo fits into the urban and suburban environment, guaranteeing notable fuel savings thanks to the 1.3 Multijet 55kW diesel engine; up to 1,000 km or more on a single tank and CO2 emissions of 119 g/km, as well as reduced operating costs (30,000 km for the first service check).
All in all, Qubo checks the correct “funqtionality” and “green” boxes.
Distinctive exterior styling and new-concept interiors
Essential and rational, the exterior styling of the Qubo sets itself apart for the specific side and rear body treatments that pump up its muscular personality. Similarly, not even the bold and rugged good-looks of the front can compromise the overall impression of a “unconventional yet likeable” vehicle, just as its solid appearance and “four wheels on the ground” attitude are counterbalanced by the clean lines that ooze dynamism.
These aesthetic peculiarities are in keeping with the compact exterior dimensions – 3.96 metres long, 1.72 metres tall, and 1.68 metres wide – which, when united with a steering circle of less than 10 metres, allows the new Qubo to easily negotiate narrow streets or the inevitable daily metropolitan traffic slaloms, becoming a new alternative to the city car and compact MPVs alike.
The sturdy front bumper matches the body colour, protectively hugging the more delicate zones – headlights, bonnet, and radiator – against low-speed impact. The same sense of security is provided by the body side moulding that allows the driver to manoeuvre in total confidence, even in tight spots, and by the matching rear-view mirrors that guarantee excellent visibility by reducing blind spots to a minimum. Large expanses of glass ensure class-leading visibility, with the side glass in particular creating an original visual effect that, combined with the lines drawn in correspondence to the mudguards, streamlines the vehicle’s entire side.
The rear hatchback door lends a sophisticated design, bejewelled as it is with the central Fiat logo and stylized window, ensuring Qubo stands out like no other MPV.
The overall charm of the Qubo is further punctuated by the head and taillights – characterised with transparencies and chromium plating, mounted high to protect them from potential impact – and the front and rear doors, the latter of which are sliding and feature large glass openings to increase passenger comfort and functionality.
Whilst the exterior already stands out from the norm on the street, it’s inside where the new Qubo really impresses. Thanks to the “free space” concept, one that combines different seat arrangements (for a total of sixteen) through the rationality and regularity of the interior spaces, an exceptionally exploitable interior space for volume and flexibility is available. With seats in the normal position, the boot measures 330 litres (up to the height of the boot panel) and 650 litres if measured to the roof. With the rear seats removed and the front passenger seat folded down to the floor, the load capacity amounts to a best-in-class 2,500 litres, and a boot capable of holding objects nearly 2.5 metres in length, which, in comparison to the vehicle’s total length of 3.9m represents a ratio that is unmatched by the competition.
The Qubo seats represent the soul of the “free space” concept: The rear seats are available in 1/3 and 2/3 configurations, and can be folded or removed (completely or partially) thereby offering surprising load capacity and versatility.
Complementing the space and flexibility, Qubo is also a comfortable vehicle for all purposes. The symmetrical and modular T-shaped dashboard serves up all the controls and required instrumentation at the driver’s fingertips. But comfort on board also includes ample storage space and this is where the central console comes to the fore offering open organisational capacity. Useful space on the dashboard, thanks to the roomy glove compartment and central tunnel, also offers practical open storage compartments. Even the door panels were carefully designed to offer suitable storage, whilst a comfortable armrest is ergonomically positioned for maximum comfort.
The last, but certainly not least important element of the Qubo, particularly where Moms and Kids are concerned, is the spacious boot (972 mm wide, 737 mm deep, 545 mm height under the boot panel). With direct access to the loading level, the rigid boot panel demonstrates its collaborative nature by “disappearing” easily in the space between the backrests and the wheel wells.
Progressive engines and reliable transmissions
Driving comfort for Qubo customers is about relying on progressive engine performance together with strong and reliable 5-speed manual transmissions. Qubo is available with two Euro 4 engine derivatives – the sparky 1.3, Multijet turbo-diesel engine and the reliable 1.4, petrol derivative. These powertrains offer driving pleasure, excellent performance, and reduced operating costs, as well as reliability and, most importantly in this day and age, respect for the environment.
The new Qubo’s turbo diesel engine produces 55 kW at 4,000 r/min and torque of 190 Nm at 1,750 r/min, guaranteeing excellent performance and the best consumption figures in its class. Maximum speed is 155 km/h and in the combined driving cycle it returns 4.6 l/100 km. This frugal performance translates to a formidable 1,000 km range potential on 45 litres of diesel, making the Qubo an exceptionally eco-friendly vehicle.
Performance of the 1.4 petrol engine offers similarly impressive characteristics, having been specially developed with a view to performance and consumption. This engine produces an adequate 54 kW at 5,200 r/min and a maximum torque of 118 Nm at 2,600 r/min. The engine is peppy but thrifty, maximum speed is 155 km/h yet returns 7.0 l/100 km in the combined cycle.
A specific solution for every request
Born out of the industrial cooperation between FIAT and PSA and developed on the Grande Punto platform, Qubo is produced in the Tofas plant in Bursa, Turkey – where the Fiat Doblò is also produced – as a spin-off of a simple yet revolutionary concept. Qubo is offered in a 5-passenger model with two engine derivatives with the attractive yet durable “Tangram” black trim material. Safety equipment includes ABS complete with EBD, 3-point seat belts with tensioners and load limiters, power steering, and front and side airbags.
The Qubo is also available in a range of ten lively exterior colours that are certain to set it apart from its competitors. Four pastel colours; Ambient White, Funky Orange, Line Blue and Breakcore Red, as well as six metallic; Minimal Grey, Hillbilly Azure, Flamenco Red, Disco Green, Cool jazz Blue and Rockabilly Black.
The standard Blue&Me™: Bluetooth® technology hands-free system with steering wheel mounted controls, MP3 file reader with USB port, and leather steering wheel ensures everything is always perfectly complementary and never distracts the driver from the road.
Fiat Qubo will be available immediately from 36 Fiat dealerships countrywide and, as with all Fiat Group products, comes standard with a 3 year / 100,000km full maintenance plan and warranty for peace-of-mind driving. The Qubo retails for R177,990.00 for the 1.4l petrol version, and R199,990.00 for the 1.3l diesel variant, including VAT and CO2 tax.