Tag Archive | "500"

FIAT 500 Grows Up And Starts A Family


La Dolce Vita. A lifestyle that spawned a car; or maybe it was the other way round. Either way the current FIAT 500 is a reminder of the iconic original that belonged to that carefree epoch and has, as a consequence, become the company’s best selling car.

Because of the popularity of the 500, FIAT have now produced a bigger brother, the 500L. Thankfully, it is not simply a lardier version of the original but rather a modern and very Italian take on the small MPV. This is the start of the branding of the 500. A ‘trekking’ version has already been announced – more of which below – and there’ll be a seven seat version and a mini-SUV to follow in due course.

There are four engine options with the 500L including a diesel and the now ubiquitous Twin-Air two cylinder motor, which seems like the right choice for this car. Reactions to the body shape and high-riding stance are mixed. Some like the quirky approach to styling, others think it is a little ungainly. The company seem to be aiming this car at young families who have outgrown their 500 but it is also likely to appeal to older drivers who like the raised ride height, comfortable cabin and great all-round visibility.

The 500L is designed for practicality with sliding, splitting rear seats and a height adjustable 400 litre boot. Overall it’s a winner and the coming version choice seems to emulate the approach taken by Mini with something for everyone in the family catalogue.

For the more adventurous, FIAT showed the ‘Trekking’ option at the recent Geneva Motor Show. This looks like the one to go for if your family like the outdoor life as the car features FIAT’s innovative Traction+ system. This is not, as the name might suggest, a four wheel drive but rather a clever way of boosting the front wheels’ ability to find traction and thus be able to cope with gnarly or slippery surfaces. This is a great idea that helpfully avoids the additional running costs of a traditional 4×4 whilst giving the driver more confidence on the road.

All the expected features are on offer, Bluetooth and the like, and the cabin is well appointed although it is not the same as the smaller car. It’s more like the interior of the Panda, but that’s no bad thing. Road test reports suggest that the 500L isn’t really a drivers car. The comfortable ride mean there is some lean in corners and the steering is light and maybe a little vague. Most buyers won’t be concerned about this as sportiness isn’t the vehicle’s raison d’être. Overall, FIAT have cracked it with the 500L, the only caveat being the price. The Twin-Air model is almost £15k; that’s considerable more expensive than similar competitors, but the 500L is a stylish offering and it is sure to appeal to the modern customer.

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