The Italian revolution just got bigger with the Fiat 500L.
For 2014, Fiat expands its 500 product line in North American with arrival of the extended-length Fiat 500L measuring 27.7 inches longer, 6 inches wider and 6 inches taller than its bantam brethren.
Large interior space becomes the benefactor of 500L’s dimensions for a 42 percent increase in cabin space with comfortable seating to accommodate five occupants.
Back seats recline and move fore and aft for personalized comfort. They also fold and tumble forward for larger carrying needs.
Cargo volume increases from 500’s standard 9.5 cubic feet to over 23 cubic feet capacity with the 500L.
A rear hatch lifts high and out of the way with a no strain 26 inch lift over the rear bumper.
“We don’t want to be another appliance or commodity,” says Jason Stoicevich head of Fiat brand North America. “We’ve done a lot with a single piece of sheet metal, appealing to customers who like the contemporary Italian style of the Fiat 500, but need more space and functionality to match their lifestyle needs.”
The uniquely styled 2014 Fiat 500L comes in specially named models starting with the 500L Pop version priced at $19,100. Fiat 500L Easy and Lounge models raise the standard equipment and price to $20,195 and $24,195 respectively. Add $800 across the board for freight.
A 2014 Fiat 500L Trekking model will arrive later this year priced at $21,995 including destination.
All models are powered by a 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo four-cylinder engine that builds 160 horsepower mated with a six-speed manual or six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
I tested the 2014 Fiat 500L models with both transmissions that yield an average 24.5 miles per gallon/city and 33 mpg/highway fuel economy.
Engine power is adequate once at speed and nicely paired with the automatic transmission around town. The manual gearbox displays a defined power lag at low torque, however.
Inside, visibility is king thanks to large glass surfaces framed by narrow window pillars for a 360-degree visual field. Panoramic views are further increased when combined with an optional (20.7-square-foot) dual-pane glass sunroof.
The $950 sunroof features a perforated cloth shade that may be closed even when the sunroof is open to temper the sun.
Optional two-tone upholstery provides a bright up-scale ambiance to the passenger quarters.
The 2014 Fiat 500L is nimble and fun to drive with a compliant ride quality and versatility that doesn't scream “small” for buyers looking to get more from the compact car market.