Brief test: FIAT Marea Weekend (2000 model).

This car was used for another of my weekend dashes between the north and south of Germany. The Marea Weekend is a biggish, easy to use estate car let down by poor build quality.

I liked the load area which was not just large but well shaped and easy to use. Also, I appreciated the comfort. I was able to drive for several hours without feeling any discomfort. Another reason that I was able to drive for a long time as that the car had a decent range on a tankful.

All of these make the car a good choice if you need something to lug substantial loads about on a regular basis. The car also has adequate performance that feels even better because of the typical Italian eager response to the throttle. Another nice aspect of the performance was that it was not reduced too much when the car was fully laden.

Sadly, the car was let down quite badly by the build quality. Most of the doors and the rear hatch were reluctant to shut on occasion and often needed a few goes or even a hefty slam to get them to shut..

Despite the quality niggles, I liked the car and, while FIAT depreciation rates mean that I'd not buy a new one, I'd certainly put the Marea Weekend high on my list if I was shopping for a two to four year old estate car.

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