We’ve been hearing a lot about the Fiat 500L lately. It just got that name a few weeks ago, and we’ve been hearing it is a product geared toward the United States. With Fiat dealers here only having the 500 and the Abarth model to sell, new product is clearly needed. Now Americans traditionally have liked our larger vehicles, but if we’re going to buy a compact we usually want four actual doors. The 500L is the answer to that. Fiat has released images and specifications ahead of the car’s debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month.
Despite its name, the 500L isn’t a standard 500 with two extra doors. Its a different model, on a separate platform. It does share some design cues that give it a familial resemblance – it definitely is a Fiat. We’re seeing major hints of the MINI Countryman in its design (check out that floating roof) which isn’t a bad thing.
Fiat calls the 500L a segment blending vehicle, aiming to provide an SUV-like driving position with MPV-like interior space, along with size and efficiency of a B-segment car. That’s a pretty tall order. The end result is to provide an alternative to the usual B and C-segment models. It is a different story in Europe – there are quite a few models that fit that bill.
In the U.S, the choices are smaller. In our opinion, the 500L is way more stylish than most European MPVs though. Interestingly, Fiat calls the 500L a “first car”, likely in response to the 500 being considered by most in the U.S to be a second car. From what we can see they’re doing a good job with this. No doubt they are taking a page from the successful MINI playbook.
What we aren’t sure of yet is interior design or space – that stuff will have to wait until Geneva, or at least closer to it. The 500L is slated to go on sale by the end of the year in Europe. We don’t have a date set for arrival on U.S shores, but we’ve heard noises about an early 2013 arrival.