The Auto Trader expert verdict:
The Fiat Sedici is a good-value family crossover that’s surprisingly good off-road and fun to drive, but lags behind the Skoda Yeti and Nissan Qashqai in most areas.
Reasons to buy:
- 4×4 versions better than expected off road
- Decent chassis makes it fun to drive
- Well-made and clearly designed cabin
The Fiat Sedici doesn’t stand out very much with its shrunken 4×4 styling. If it looks familiar, it’s because it’s identical to the Suzuki SX4. The Sedici is very much the crossover in that it has 4×4 styling cues, like the rear bumper protector and lower black cladding, but looks like a tall supermini. It certainly doesn’t have the sports utility vehicle (SUV) road presence of something like the Skoda Yeti or Nissan Qashqai.
While there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with the Sedici’s interior, it lacks a certain wow factor. The dashboard is simple, logical and of reasonable quality. Most folk will be able to find a comfy driving position, though there’s a lack of steering wheel reach adjustment. The seats of our Dynamic specification test car didn’t offer much side support either.
The Sedici has a wide tailgate, easy to operate split-folding (and removable) rear seats for luggage versatility and a decent amount of legroom and headroom, both front and back. Sadly, they’re outweighed by a boot capacity that seriously restricts the car’s use as family transport. The boot lip is awkwardly high and its 270-litre capacity is embarrassed by the 416 litres of the Skoda Yeti. Getting a few shopping bags and a buggy in there will be a real hassle.
Ride and handling</strong>
Both two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive versions are available, though you mostly won’t tell the difference on the road. The Sedici is sharper than the average SUV, with good body control around the corners, accurate steering and a slick gearbox. It’s actually good fun to drive and softly sprung enough to be comfy too. The ace up its sleeve is the off-road capability of 4×4 versions, which is far better than you might expect. It’s no Land Rover, but unlike some crossovers you needn’t be afraid of tackling steep muddy inclines. It feels very planted and secure in wet weather, too.
Fiat offers petrol and diesel versions of the Sedici, and unsurprisingly it’s the diesel that shines because of its superior pulling power and low-rev flexibility. It’s not perfect though, because the 1.9-litre MultiJet diesel has a very narrow sweet spot. There’s decent pulling power between 2,500 and 4,000rpm, and beyond that very little, so lots of gear changes are required. Still, the diesel engine is settled and quiet on the motorway, unlike the 1.6-litre petrol engine, which whines in top gear at 70mph, and feels wheezy at low revs.
Neither the petrol nor diesel engines serve up class-leading economy. The chunky 4×4 bodywork and drivetrain don’t help. The 42.8mpg average rating of the MultiJet diesel model seems a little optimistic, especially if you’re pottering about town. Unfortunately, the front-wheel drive version is only available with the 1.6-litre petrol engine, which has notably less pulling power and so needs to be worked harder, to the detriment of economy.