The Fiat 500 has a lot of fans. Despite not meeting Fiat’s overly-optimistic 50,000 unit tally last year, it sold quite well – and that is in spite of a disastrous marketing launch. With that campaign and the enthusiast-focused Abarth model selling out, numbers are creeping up.
A whole new line of Fiat Studio dealers has been setup to sell the car. With a standalone network and relaunch of a new brand, more product is needed The 2013 Fiat 500L looks to play a key part in that – although its sale in the United States has yet to be confirmed.
Its name would seem to indicate that it is a stretched, four-door 500 – which is what we were hoping when we first heard about it. Instead, the 500L is more of an MPV-style model that aims to tie into the 500’s coolness factor through shared design cues. When the 500 debuted, Fiat made it clear they were taking from the MINI playbook – and the 500L is clearly inspired by the Countryman. Unlike the 500, which is really only suitable for two adults, Fiat says the 500L has room for five adults and luggage.
Behind the rear seats, there is 14.1 cubic feet of cargo space. A unique feature is the ability of the second row to slide forward and backward, which we think is brilliant. Sometimes, rear space is unneeded and this is a perfect way to increase legroom. Three engines are available: a turbocharged 0.9-liter two-cylinder making 105 horsepower, a 1.4-liter four-cylinder making 95 hp and a 85-horsepower 1.3-liter turbo diesel four. What engine we’d get in the U.S isn’t certain – how buyers would stomach a two-cylinder isn’t certain. With the added weight, it really does need extra power too. We say bring it – and also a true five-door version of the 500. MINI plans to launch a five-door model; if its a success we could see Fiat follow with a competing model.