In our job we love a surprise. Sadly, they don’t come very often. It is probably fair when you pass more than ten years in any profession, the amount of times that you come across anything, professionally, that is truly unexpected is rare enough.
We are now two months into our time with the Fiat Qubo and there is absolutely no way we would have expected to like this loveable oddball as much as we do. When the Qubo first arrived home it was greeted with some curious remarks from friends and relatives. In my hometown of Drogheda, there are a couple of green ones that are used as taxis and you can see why. For a start the Qubo is very good value. Even our Dynamic model 1.3 75hp MultiJet model is €17,595, about the price of an upper spec supermini and it wants for nothing in terms of equipment. Inside we have a leather multifunction steering wheel, air conditioning, Bluetooth, USB port and electric front windows. Plus the 1.3-litre MultiJet is really cheap to run.
With Band A emissions and very decent fuel economy that is returning very close to its claimed 4.4l/100km on the combined cycle without too much trouble, fuel stops are few and far between although the 45-litre fuel tank is quite small, so the range seldom goes much beyond 700km. But what is it like to live with?
Qubo’s arrival coincided with the arrival of a new baby to the Comyn household, so there were few raised eyebrows from the new parents, rather a sudden lusting at those twin sliding rear doors. These make placing the child seat in and out absolute child’s play and my back is thanking me for it. After several weeks of placing an isofix seat into very inappropriate cars my spine was creaking but with the Qubo you don’t have to bend over at all and the isofix points are easy to locate. The Qubo sits on the same platform as the Grande Punto so rear seat legroom is a little on the cosy side and the luggage space is quite restricted too. It is fine for shopping, but when you place a large buggy in there that pretty much is that. We’d love just another two inches onto the end of the Qubo and if we had a wish list for the next one, we’d have it with a split tailgate. However it is this packaging that comes in really handy when you are out and about. The Qubo is brilliant to drive around town in particular and here its van origins become a bonus. With a high driving position, massive glass area and huge wing mirrors it is really easy to see out of and because of its short wheelbase it is a doddle to park and the sliding doors mean that you don’t have to worry about someone parking too close to you at the side. The tailgate is huge so you need to make sure that you leave a decent gap behind you if you park close to a wall. But the advantage of this tailgate is that when you open it you can stand under it and take shelter when it is raining, even six-foot-something of me can do that and when you are wrestling with a buggy this becomes a really useful feature.
We discovered very soon into our time with the Qubo that kids absolutely love it. We have an abundance of nieces and nephews and they all travelled in Qubo in the last two months and they all loved it. It had a sense of occasion for them that no other car was able to match and they love the sliding doors. And as all you parents will know, happy smiling children in the rear are better than grumpy ones.
We are glad that we opted for the 1.3-litre MultiJet diesel because we have done eight round trips to Cork from Drogheda in the Qubo so far and this would have been much more laboured in the petrol, not to mention much more expensive. Qubo will happily sit at 120km/h+ on the motorway without too much trouble before aerodynamics becomes an issue. Crosswinds can cause some upset too.
The keys for Qubo now actually get competed for in the Comyn household. It is the car of choice for visits to town, for shopping and for trips to Woodies DIY and the Garden Centre. It has very quickly become part of the family.