TEST DRIVE | Fiat 500L – What’s It Really Like?

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For years, FIAT seemed to mean ‘Fix It Again Tomorrow’. But since the introduction of the latest 500 back in 2007, this has all changed.

The 500 family has now been further expanded with the introduction of the 500L. It can seat five adults in moderate comfort, with space for five suitcases in the unexpectedly large boot. Functionality and versatility were definitely on the designer’s minds.

‘5’ seems to be the magic number, with the 500L being awarded a maximum 5-star safety rating from Euro NCAP.

It also retains the 500’s cheeky, fun driving characteristics despite being bigger in every way.

Options include a completely new touchscreen media system, vast 1.5-metre panoramic glass roof, and even a Lavazza coffee machine built in…yes, really! Future developments will allow apps to be installed to the media interface.

One of the more advanced options is ‘City Brake Control’ which sends out laser impulses to measure how far the 500L is from an obstacle in front and if a collision is imminent, the system will bring the car to a complete emergency stop.

Personalisation is almost endless. Everything can be coloured to the customer’s choice, with over 1,500 combinations and 12 wheel options.

The interior isn’t quite as retro as the normal 500’s, which is a beautiful place to be. The 500L’s seems almost plain in comparison. This would have to be my biggest dislike of the 500L.

The upside to the interior is the 22 compartments to hide belongings in, from mobile phones to drinks and even umbrellas. There’s a place for everything.

It’s perfect for city driving too with the TwinAir 900cc turbo engine which has adequate pull, or the 1.6 turbo diesel if you want something a little more exciting and efficient on longer journeys.

The base mode is well specced with prices starting at an appealing £14,990, the 500L already has 40,000 orders, half of these from outside Italy. Viva Italia!


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