posted 6 years ago

UK Launch: Fiat 500L

The Fiat 500 expands

The Fiat 500 has become one of the most iconic Italian cars since its debut in the late 1950’s and it’s updated version in 2007 has made it one of the most popular cars.

Fiat are increasing the 500 family, so when you’ve outgrown your 500 you can then move onto the bigger five-door L.

Launched in the UK at Legoland - an adventure resort based on the very famous building bricks and where children can also learn to drive Fiat branded cars at the junior driving academy, it seemed the ideal venue for the quirky car.

Fiat 500L Exterior Design

The L looks like they’ve placed an air pump in the 500 and inflated until it’s been on the verge of exploding. Oval front lights and a single-bar grille still make it cute though and it does have flashes of the Mini Countryman on the exterior.

10 body colours are available, 3 roof colours and 2 wheel finishes which can make over 300 different combinations. So if you want a car to reflect your personality, then this is it.

The 500L is 4147mm long so slightly more than the Punto and the biggest plus point of the car is the space, which it has in abundance. The 400-litre sized boot isn’t class-leading, but with rear folding seats and the front passenger too Fiat reckon it can accommodate objects that are 2.4m in length. A practical ‘Cargo Magic Space’ lets you separate clean, dirty, heavy and light objects, ideal for those days out in muddy fields.

The interior continues the quirky 500 theme with polished plastic finishes, huge gearstick and handbrake, but takes more of its style cues from the Panda. There will be the option of installing a Lavazza coffee machine into your 500L should you feel the need for a quick caffeine fix on a long drive.

Front seats are heated, not only your backside, they also do your back so the sensation is less like you’ve wet your pants which you normally get. Little things and all that.

Driving the Fiat 500L

More cars nowadays aren’t always geared towards visibility and this design with its 360 degree vision and split A-pillar gives it one of its best features.

It is by no means a sporty little number, so don’t expect blistering pace or being able to throw it into corners and oversteering your way out. Steering can be altered with the City option making it lighter. The 500 has been known to have a few rattles and shakes and this has been ironed out in the L with Fiat splitting the shock absorber mountings, so makes for a more comfortable drive.

The 1.6-litre MultiJet 2 turbo diesel we tested produces 105hp and will accelerate from 0-62 mph in 11.3 seconds. A further diesel, a 1.3, 85hp as well as two petrols, the 1.4-litre Fire and the revolutionary 0.9-litre 105hp TwinAir Turbo which has a top speed of 112 mph will be on offer to buyers.

The 1.6-litre MultiJet has a combined mpg of 52.3 which is assisted by a Start & Stop system and Fiat’s multi-award winning system, eco:Drive LIVE. This clever addition monitors your driving style to help reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions and is visible on the 5-inch touchscreen. It proved quite distracting at times as it made you really aware of your driving and you wanted as many ‘green’ symbols to appear.

Families and mums ferrying around their kids seem the ideal market, or those not wanting to splash out the extra on a Mini. Their target market was unveiled in a Youtube clip, The Motherhood which became a viral hit and the follow-up, The Fatherhood will be released on 15th March.

Prices start at £14,990 and some might say it’s a bit too much for the small MPV, but 2000 orders have already been taken so some haven’t been put off. With a multi-terrain 500L Trekking, a 7-seater and the 500X SUV in the pipeline, then this ‘famiglia’ could continue the Fiat 500 success.