Fiat decided to modify the Multipla substantially after initial tests. However, cars carrying the improvements will not begin sale until later this year. Euro NCAP is publishing the original test now and will announce results for the upgraded car later if subsequently tested. The unmodified Multipla did badly in the frontal test but fared well in the side impact considering it was without side airbags. The children were well held by their restraints although the adult belt slipped off the shoulder during impact and caused problems.
The structural performance of the Multipla proved disappointing. There were hard structures under the facia that can damage occupants’ knees and upper thighs. The driver’s head struck the steering wheel and the facia mounting bracket began to pull away from the door pillar. However, three-point centre belts were standard front and rear and provided better protection than a lap belt would. The passenger airbag is sized to protect those in the centre and outer front seats.
Side impact performance in the Multipla is surprisingly good despite the absence of head or thorax side airbags. The result may have been improved by an interaction between the dummy and the seat that would not happen with a human.
A passenger airbag was fitted as standard, which can be dangerous if a child is placed in a rear-facing restraint opposite it. A warning label was placed on the passenger visor but it did not mention the risk of serious injury or death if ignored. Fiat provides a switch to turn off this airbag but the instructions for its use were confusing. Incorrect use could be disastrous. The child seats chosen for tested were Lineaccessori-branded Kiddy 2000 models. The shoulder section of the adult belt is supposed to restrain the child’s body but it slipped off his shoulder during impact and failed to perform as effectively as intended.
Results for this section of the tests proved average for this type of vehicle. The Multipla’s bumper and front end scored no points.