Review: Fiat Idea (2004 – 2007)


Clever rear seat design increases its versatility. Good looks.

Short lived in the UK. Not many left.

Fiat Idea (2004 – 2007): At A Glance

Fiat's Idea is a very interesting little car. It's cutely good looking, it isn't gimmicky and it is all about packing as much versatility as possible onto the same size footprint as the Punto.

And it succeeds. The first pleasure is the central dashboard. It's not quite as good as the Panda's, but it works in the same way with every switch and knob falling naturally to hand without having to take your eyes off the road.

Fiat Idea 1.3 Multijet 2004 Road Test

What does a Fiat Idea (2004 – 2007) cost?

Fiat Idea (2004 – 2007): What's It Like Inside?

Length 3930 mm
Width 1698 mm
Height 1660 mm
Wheelbase 2508 mm

Full specifications

The seating position is adjustable up and down, the steering wheel adjusts for reach as well as height. Though tall people won't be as comfortable as I was because the squabs aren't long enough for them. (Any longer and they'd rob the back seat of legroom.)

It really is very clever indeed in the back. The seat squabs slide backwards and forwards, and tumble, and recline 60/40. But the backrests fold 40/20/40. And while there is plenty of headroom for three to sit across the back seat, they'd better not have been eating too many pizzas because three big bums won't fit.

The front seat backrests also fold fully forward into tables. But the table tops slope, so you'd have to park facing downhill to get a level surface.

Child seats that fit a Fiat Idea (2004 – 2007)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Fiat Idea (2004 – 2007) like to drive?

Mine came with Fiat's clever little chain-cam 1.3 Multijet diesel that stumps up 71bhp and 133 lb ft torque. It doesn't drive like a diesel, though. No sudden lurch as it gets on its torque curve. Just modest, fairly linear performance with very little diesel clatter. And, according to the display, I was getting 46mpg, which is okay, if not outstanding.

Corners aren't much fun, though. I had the seat as low as it would go, yet I still experienced that uneasy fall-over feeling you sometimes get with the small and tall. It's not dangerous or anything like that because it discourages you from ever trying to find the car's limits. But it could never be called fun to drive in the way the new Panda is.

So is it a good Idea, or is it a bad Idea? My real problem with the Idea is the Mitsubishi Colt. While the Idea has one or two tricks up its sleeve that the Colt doesn't, the Colt comes over as the better car. And it's cheaper, too, the equivalent diesel by about £900.

They are even almost exactly the same length. So whether you go for the Idea over the Colt is really down to how much you value the folding front seats, the 40/20/40 rear backrest, the reclining rear seats and, of course, the looks.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.3 16V MultiJet 55–58 mpg 12.5–15.4 s 130–135 g/km
1.4 16V 43 mpg 11.5 s 157 g/km

Real MPG average for a Fiat Idea (2004 – 2007)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

30–63 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Fiat Idea (2004 – 2007)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

What is the cause of the electrical leek in my Fiat Idea?

My 2005 Fiat Idea automatic has an electrical leek problem. It doesn't hold its charge. If the battery is fully charged but the car is not used, the battery will be flat within a week. Do you have any suggestions to rectify this?
The most likely cause of your Welsh vegetable is that the dimmer switch for the interior light is remaining live and draining the battery even though the light goes off. Try switching the light off completely so it does not come on when you open the door.
Answered by Honest John
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What do owners think?

Our view gives your our opinion, based on driving hundreds of cars every year, but you can't beat the views of someone who lives with a car day-in, day out.

  • 5 star
  • 4 star 67%
  • 3 star
  • 2 star 33%
  • 1 star

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