A facelifted version of the controversial-but-versatile Fiat Multipla was recently unveiled in Italy. We now have details about the vehicle’s local introduction and a new model.

We recently reported on the planned facelift for the often controversial but very versatile Fiat Multipla. Following its international launch last week, we now have some added information.

CAR magazine's September 2003 Multipla road test entitled "Multipadda" begged the question; if even the Fiat adverts admitted to the car being ugly, how did they come up with the design? While maintaining some of the previous model's design elements, namely the flexible six-seat configuration and its saloon-like environs, the new Multipla now sports a polished look that more closely resembles that of its latest family members.

Due to be launched here in September, the Multipla will for the first time feature two engine options. Previously only available with the 1,9 JTD engine, the Multipla will also receive the 1,6-litre, 16-valve petrol engine which develops 76 kW and 145 N.m. The existing diesel engine will continue.

Recently introduced at the Geneva Motor Show, at the front the headlights blend into the new grille with its smaller holes, round logo and chrome detailing. The bonnet has been overhauled and bumpers are now body coloured.

At the rear, the wraparound bumpers and new tail lights combined with the large tailgate matches the broad surface of the rear window. The new style's profile is accentuated by the painted sideskirts.

Since it is higher than most vehicles in its segment, the Multipla's architecture also allows for driving of an MPV-standard. At just over four metres long and coupled with the Multipla's interior styling, the model offers 3+3 seating with a luggage compartment offering up to 1 300 litres storage space. The new Multipla can carry up to six people in two rows of three seats, with all occupants still having plenty of headroom and space to move. The manoeuvrable seating configuration allows seats to be tilted or completely removed to create the optimum amount of space.

The central seats are the same size as the side seats and the controls and instruments housed in the cloth-covered facia are ergonomically positioned.

The Multipla also comes with bluetooth technology which lowers the radio's volume, if it is turned on, and channels the sound through the stereo's speakers. The system blends into the facia and can store up to three phones so that more than one person using the same car can use the facility.

The Multipla also offers a host of safety systems and equipment: ABS, ESP, six airbags and sensors that modulate airbag deployment according to the passenger's weight. Window-bags are also available that drop down along the windows to safeguard the heads of occupants in the event of side collision. The vehicle also comes with Isofix attachments to secure child seats.