2014 Fiat 500L: More than simply a stretched Fiat 500
Baltimore, MD- Fans of the reborn Fiat 500 (Cinquecento) who love the little Italian vehicle, but felt that it was too small, will be pleased to learn that there is now a model based on a new ?small-wide? platform architecture that is 27-inches longer, 6-inches wider as well as 6-inches taller, and delivers an EPA Large Car size comfortable interior, with room for five passengers in 42 percent more space with added versatility and functionality. This newest member of the 500 family is the 2014 Fiat 500L. It adds two more doors, second row, folding seating with a 60/40 split and a unique greenhouse featuring10 windows in a segment-exclusive glass from A to D pillars that provide nearly a 360-degree view of the vehicle?s surroundings. There?s also an available large dual-pane glass sunroof that further enhances the panoramic views from the 500L.
The 2014 Fiat 500L will be available in four trim levels: a base POP model; an Easy model; an upscale Lounge model; and the all-new Fiat 500 Trekking model, which is produced at the Fiat Automobiles Serbia plant in Kragujevac, Serbia. The Trekking version is distinctively different from its other 500 siblings, by the addition of aggressively styled front and rear fascias with Grigio Chiaro (graphite) accents for a bolder look. Unique Grigio Chiaro wheel arch and body-side sill moldings give the Fiat 500L Trekking a more adventurous look, while larger 17 x 7-inch aluminum wheels hint at the urban-utility vehicle?s handling capabilities. A unique two-tone Nero/Marrone (black/brown) interior environment continues the Fiat 500L Trekking?s rugged-athletic theme.
From Dante Giacosa?s original Fiat 500 design in the 1950s to the ?Simply More? principle that FIAT Design has adopted today, the design of the all-new 2014 Fiat 500L pulls together different moments and experiences of FIAT brand?s innovations with iconic style for an even more spacious and versatile Cinquecento offering. It accomplishes all this without sacrificing any of the modern 500?s DNA, while exuding familial design cues in stylistic harmony.
The 2014 Fiat 500L?s lengthy silhouette features the familiar forward-sloping A-line while adding a ?cab-forward? approach for improved visibility and an even more dynamic look. Paying homage to the historic and modern Cinquecento, the Fiat 500L?s body-side lateral section features clean surfaces, flared wheel arches and chromed door handles. For added style and protection, body-side door moldings are painted in body color and are available with chrome accents. Filling the wheel wells are seven unique wheel designs ranging from 16 inches to a sporty 17 inches with the ?500? logo on the center caps. In familiar Cinquecento character, the chrome-accented headlamps with the ?500? logo and tail lamps are visible from the side profile, due to the Fiat 500L?s rounded sides linking the front and rear. The Fiat 500L?s rear fascia and bumper are well integrated into the design of the five-door for shorter overhangs and a tidy look, maintaining city-friendly proportions. The Fiat 500L?s liftgate design features one of the segment?s lowest cargo-lift heights (26.2 inches from ground), providing easier cargo loading. Finishing off the rear are square-in-circular tail lamps and a prominent FIAT liftgate badge with the ?500L? logo beneath.
All Fiat 500L models will draw their motive energy from the same engine that propels the Fiat 500 Abarth vehicles ? a front transversely mounted, 1.4-liter MultiAir SOHC, 16-valve, inline turbocharged four-cylinder engine with sequential multiport electronic returness fuel injection. The potent little powerplant delivers 160 horses while generating 184 pound feet of torque for a 117 horsepower per liter. The front wheels receive power geared through six-speed manual or an electronically controlled Euro Twin Clutch six-speed automatic transmission.
The interior provides best-in-class front head and shoulder room, plus best-in-class rear cargo space (with back seats up) resulting in a comfortable, airy and roomy passenger compartment. Second row seats are elevated in a stadium effect. There is also a two-position cargo floor for added versatility.
Expanding on the Fiat 500, the Fiat 500L?s upper instrument panel is designed to convey a sense of refinement, elegance and fun with the availability of color matched exterior accents and vinyl-wrapped or painted accents. A thick-rimmed three-spoke FIAT steering wheel is available in leather and two-tone color options featuring a square-in-circular design. Behind, two large analog gauges provide vehicle and engine speed, while two secondary gauges provide fuel and engine temperature information. The instrument cluster also includes an Electronic Vehicle Information Center that provides the driver with trip, vehicle and Uconnect system information. At the center, the Fiat 500L is available with the all-new Uconnect radio system, providing information and connectivity options on a 5-inch or larger 6.5-inch touchscreen. On the passenger side, a recessed instrument panel cubby and covered glove box provide storage access. The Fiat 500L?s climate controls and transmission shifter are ergonomically accessible from the available center armrest. The lower instrument panel and center console highlight the Fiat 500L?s space utilization with large- and small-sized storage spaces to keep mobile devices at a convenient reach.
I was able to experience the 2014 Fiat 500L in both Easy and Lounge trim levels, both with the Euro Twin Clutch automatic transmission. The Easy version sported a Grigio Scuro (gray metallic) exterior with a Nero (Black) interior. The base sticker was $20,195 with the final total coming to $25,545 after adding options and destination charge. The Lounge model, with a Grigio Chiaro (Graphite metallic) exterior and Nero interior came with a base price of $24,195 and a final sticker total of $25,495. Easy, Trekking and Lounge models all come with a limited launch time bonus Premiere Package at no charge (valued at more than $1,700.) which includes: ParkSense rear park assist; ParkView rear backup camera and Uconnect 6.5 with a 6.5-inch touchscreen, voice operation of navigation, AM/FM and mobile phones, handsfree phone and Bluetooth-streaming audio, text-message reader, personalization settings, premium media hub with SD card reader, auxiliary jack and a USB port.
Standard safety features and equipment include: seven airbags and reactive head restraints; Electronic Stability Control; Active turn signals; All speed Traction Control; ABS; auto-dimming rearview mirror; belt alert; Brake Assist; Brake Override; Brake/Park interlock; Brake-traction control system; child door locks; LATCH system; Daytime Running lamps; Hill Start Assist; Tire Pressure Monitoring System and more.
SUMMARY: I happen to love the look of the Fiat 500 Coupe and Cabrio, and the Abarth models of each adds spirited performance characteristics along with a bolder presence. My first exposure to the new Fiat 500L was at the Chicago Auto Show earlier this year, and initially, I was not a big admirer.
After getting an opportunity to get up close and personal with the 500L, it instantly became a no-brainer ? especially for one who appreciates Italian styling, combined with efficiency of operation and enjoyable (not to mention comfortable) to drive factor. Acceleration is brisk, as one would expect from the same engine that moves the Abarth models. The Euro Twin Clutch transmission delivers smooth, quick gear changes via the stalk, but paddle shifters would be a plus. The ride quality is smooth and handling is positive with an on-center steering feel. There is no noticeable torque steer as with Abarth models, and the interior delivers an amazing sense of spaciousness.
I questioned executives about the lack of the Sport button for added Turbo boost found on the Abarth models, as well as the missing scintillating exhaust note. I was told that the 500L was not about focusing on race-like performance, but rather on practical, yet enjoyable transportation. The 500L delivers comfort, efficiency, versatile functionality and more room than its stablemates, while retaining the iconic Fiat image. Despite its Abarth engine roots, it is not marketed as an Abarth model, which seems a shame in a way. Admittedly, the 500L isn?t equipped with the total Abarth package, which consists of distinctive tuning for both engine and suspension. Will there be an Abarth example in the future? I would put money on it. In the meantime, if the Fiat 500 suits your fancy, but you need more room and functionality, the 2014 Fiat 500L certainly fills the bill.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2014 Fiat 500L?
|Price as Tested:||$25,545.|
|Engine Type and Size:||1.4-liter MultiAir SOHC, 16-valve, inline turbocharged four-cylinder with sequential multiport electronic returness fuel injection.|
|Horsepower (bhp):||160 @ 5,500 rpm|
|Torque (ft./ lbs.):||184 @ 2,500-4,000 rpm|
|Transmission:||Electronically controlled Euro Twin Clutch six-speed automatic.|
|Drive Train:||Transversely mounted front engine / Front-wheel drive.|
|Suspension:||Front – MacPherson suspension, coil spring with twin-tube struts and stabilizer bar, Touring-tuned struts and springs with Koni FSD technology.
Rear – Rear twist-beam axle with coil springs and twin-tube shock absorbers, Touring-tuned shock absorbers and springs with Koni FSD Technology.
Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel discs (vented front) with ABS, ESC with Traction Control and Brake Assist.
Tires: Continental ContiProContact 205/55 R16 BSW All- Season mounted on 13-spoke alloy wheels.
Length Overall:?167.3 inches
Width:?80.2 inches with mirrors.
Curb Weight:?3,254 lbs.
Fuel Capacity:?13.2 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates:?24-mpg city / 33 -mpg highway
0 – 60 mph: Not tested.