The well-packaged Multipla could seat six adults yet was only about 3.5 m (11 ft 6 in) long. It pioneered the "MPV" (Multi-Purpose Vehicle) concept, which became especially popular in the 1990s. Though now rarely seen, the 600 inspired the Multipla, the first MPV. Utilising the same wheelbase as the saloon, Fiat adopted a forward-control layout and, retaining the rear drivetrain, produced a versatile six-seater.
The middle and rear rows of seats collapsing when needed, allowed the vehicle to be used as a freight carrier. Smaller than the 600 and with a frugal air-cooled twin-cylinder engine delivering minimal performance, the 500 Nuova is still a common sight in Italy.
Demure almost beyond belief, the 500 really is only a 2+2, and yet it is quite common for it to accommodate four adults and luggage in a style only the Italians can achieve. Like the 600, the 500 is remarkably rugged, has amazing handling characteristics, and is able to survive the extremes of Italy's weather and topography.