FIAT's new 500L is a 4-door, front-wheel-drive carryall for those who need a bit more space. The 500L shares no lines directly with its 500 sibling, but still provides an entertaining way to go from A to B.
The 500L is more than two feet longer than the 500, half a foot wider and taller, and offers an extra set of doors. Much of the extra eight is given to side glass, which affords the 500L a terrific greenhouse and corresponding visibility; unique front quarter windows testify to the fact. The car offers up to 123 cubic-feet of interior volume, with second-row seats that flip, fold and tumble and recline for an easily configurable interior space.
The 500L is offered in four distinct trim levels: Pop, Easy, Trekking and Lounge. Each is powered by the same 160-hp turbocharged four that moves the performance-oriented 500 Abarth. The unit provides ample power while also returning good fuel economy, with EPA ratings of 25 mpg city and 33 mpg highway. Carrying a tank that holds 13.2-gallon fuel tank, this equates to more than 430 miles of driving between fill-ups. The standard transmission on the 500L is a 6-speed manual, though a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic is optional -- and standard on the top-tier Lounge model.
The base Pop model rides on 16-inch steel wheels sprung by Koni shocks and MacPherson struts. Standard equipment includes halogen projector headlights, heated power mirrors, power locks and power windows with one-touch up/down front and rear, air conditioning, tilt/telescopic steering wheel with cruise control, integrated voice command and Bluetooth and an 5-inch Uconnect touchscreen stereo with Bluetooth streaming audio and USB port.
The 500L Easy adds 16-inch alloy wheels, a rear park assist system with backup camera, extra interior and interior color choices, a 6.5-inch Uconnect touchscreen with premium stereo and navigation, full-length floor console with armrest and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with leather and chrome shifter.
The 500L Trekking boasts a more rugged outward appearance, with unique front and rear fascias, as well as lower body protective cladding. The car rides on 17-inch alloy wheels and features fog lamps and premium cloth seating. Six additional exterior colors and roof color options allow the Trekking to be highly customized.
The top-of-the-line 500L Lounge is the only model to feature the dual-clutch automatic as standard, which allows drivers the option to let the car do all the work or to shift themselves. The Lounge also includes chrome exterior accents, a leather-trimmed interior with heated front seats, automatic temperature and dual-zone climate control, and a rear seat armrest.
Stand-alone options on Easy, Trekking and Lounge trims include a dual-panel panoramic sunroof and Beats premium audio system with SiriusXM satellite radio, while Easy and Trekking models also offer heated seats as optional.
A number of packages, or collections, are available on the top three models as well, which bundle several popular options such as navigation, the backup assist and camera system, automatic climate control, roof color choices, heated seats, 115-volt auxiliary power outlets and more.
Each FIAT 500L comes equipped with seven airbags, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution, a tire pressure monitor and electronic stability control.
The FIAT 500L is a new model for 2014. Piggy-backing on the success of the diminutive FIAT 500, the front-wheel-drive 500L adds an 'L' to its name, two passenger doors to its frame and, thanks to an extra 28 inches of length, 5.7 inches of width and almost 6 inches in height, room for five adults. Available in four trims, all 500Ls are powered by a 160-hp turbocharged 1.4L four-cylinder engine borrowed from the FIAT 500 Abarth and Dodge Dart. The engine is mated to either a standard 6-speed manual or an optional 6-speed dual-clutch automatic. EPA estimates peg the "big" FIAT at 25 mpg city and 33 mpg highway. Prices start at $19,100.