Parkers overall rating: 3 out of 5 3.0

If you’ve not sat in a Fiat for a while, then the interior of the 500L MPW may surprise you. Okay, you’re not surrounded by a wealth of squeezable, soft-touch plastics that feel like they will outlast the car itself but the quality of the resilient materials used for the majority of dashboard and door trim components is far from poor.

Not only that, they feel well assembled with controls that are simple to operate and, in the main, logically sited.

What the interior doesn’t feel like is a 500, which may be a disappointing factor for some. Pop Star trim with its body-coloured interior appliques feels the most youthful and similar to its little brother but with conventional instruments arranged in a familiar way, the appeal of the 500’s circles within circles instrument binnacle has been lost.

Like the regular 500L, the MPW shares fittings with models such as the Panda and Qubo, with a similar layout too, featuring a row of buttons below the infotainment display. The screen itself is positioned a little lower than ideal, making you take your eyes away from the road momentarily longer and the display itself is small, making the optional sat-nav display difficult to glance at and understand.

Some switchgear is less than intuitive too, such as the headlight beam adjustment, which, considering the weight that could be transported about in the MPW, it’s a feature that might need to be adjusted regularly. Whereas most manufacturers provide a rotary switch to do this, the Fiat has separate buttons to raise and lower the beam, adding a degree of fiddliness that’s not required.

Sensibly for a car that’s destined for a life of transporting growing families around, for the Fiat 500L MPW comfort has been a priority of its engineers.

Front seats are generously proportioned for a compact car and prove comfortable and supportive however long the distance travelled. All-round visibility is superb, making the cabin feel airy even if the optional 1.5 square metre roof isn’t specified.

Opt for the standard five-seater configuration and spaciousness in the second row of seats, which can be slid forwards and backwards, ranges from fine to colossal, with ample elbow and shoulder room too, although the seat itself is a fairly flat and shapeless affair.

Tick the relevant option box and have your 500L MPW converted into a seven-seater and you gain more than just a pair of additional passenger berths. Access to the third row of seats is easy as the second row tumbles completely out of the way and the door openings are wide, but due to their size and the reduced headroom, at best the extra seats are suitable for no larger than average sized adults.

Perhaps the biggest advantage of going seven-seater is the fitment of what Fiat calls ‘flexible frequency suspension’. By using an advanced design, the new components successfully soften the MPW’s ride quality without making it wallow through bends. In principle, the suspension should be comfort optimised for whether there’s just the driver in the car or they’re accompanied by six passengers.

When fitted, there’s a perceivable advantage in ride comfort over the five-seater MPW, with a greater number of road imperfections being ironed smooth before they have chance to be transmitted to the car’s occupants. Thankfully, it doesn’t make the 500L MPW floaty either, feeling composed and planted to the road.