Its style, space and versatility credentials have already been acclaimed, and now another important feature of the new Fiat 500L has been highlighted – its safety rating.
The new 500L, which goes on sale next spring, has just been awarded the prestigious Euro-NCAP 5-star crash safety rating with an overall score of 83/100, including 94 per cent for adult occupant protection, 78 per cent for child occupant protection, 65 per cent for pedestrian protection and 71 per cent for driving assistance safety systems.
Fiat’s new 500L model will be priced from £14,900 OTR when it arrives in showrooms from the new year.
A mini-MPV model inspired by Fiat’s 500 city car model, the new 500L (with the L standing for ‘Large’) will come in a choice of three trims, Pop Star, Easy and Lounge.
Fiat 500L 2013
Pop Star, as the name suggests is the car’s colourful choice, aimed at a young audience and features a body-coloured dashboard, alloy wheels and side door mouldings. Easy offers rear parking sensors, a soft-touch dashboard and electric rear windows in addition to standard equipment which includes 5-inch touchscreen radio, Bluetooth, six airbags, ESP stability programme, body-coloured electric door mirrors, cruise control, leather gearknob and steering wheel.
The top-of-the-range Lounge adds climate control air conditioning, 16-inch alloy wheels, side mouldings, rear parking sensors, electric rear windows, a largest-in-class fixed glass roof, light sensor, rain sensor, front fog lamps and a rear armrest.
Longer than the Fiat Punto and as wide as the Bravo, the new family-sized 500 model also comes with a 5 star Euro NCAP crash safety rating.
Like the funky little 500 model, the new 500L will be offered with a choice of fuel efficient engines, including the turbo-boosted TwinAir and Multijet engines. Four engines will be available; TwinAir 0.9-litre petrol (105hp), 1.4-litre 16-valve petrol (95hp), 1.3-litre 16-valve MultiJet diesel (85hp) with manual or MTA transmission, and 1.6-litre 16-valve MultiJet diesel (105hp).
The new model will be available in a choice of colours including Heavy Metal Grey, Opera Red, Bashment Blue, Vocal Green and New Age Cream.
All versions come with the choice of body colour, white or black roof, and the option of silver, white or black alloy wheels, for plenty of customisation options as is all the range these days.
"There has been growing interest in this car, so I am delighted now to be able to reveal price details," says Elena Bernardelli, marketing director, Fiat Group Automobiles UK. "Fiat 500L represents a new chapter in the history of the remarkable Fiat 500 range and we are confident that we are offering a fun yet versatile new family member that oozes style and personality, at competitive prices.”
On sale from February next year, the entry level 1.4 Pop Star starts from £14,900 with prices rising to £18,890 for the range-topping 1.6 MultiJet Lounge (105hp).
Word to all the mothers out there. This one goes out to you...
'The Motherhood' feat. Fiat 500L is dedicated to all those women who have to be all things to all people and live it large on a daily basis.
Nitro Year: 2007 (1 of 113,000 sold)
Nitro Model: R/T 4X4 Stone White
CAT-BACK Exhaust, CAI, Projector Head Lamps
Fully-Equipped w/all factory options
Is an interview still called one-on-one if it’s actually one-on-one-plus-entourage? We spent a good chunk of time recently with Olivier Francois, the longtime Fiat Group exec now charged with running the Fiat brand, to talk about the future of Fiat in the U.S. That his crew was there didn’t make our conversation any less interesting—although we were disappointed none of them was named Turtle.
Nothing Much Bigger Than the 500L
We’ll see more Fiat models in the U.S. in the coming years, but the new 500L, is about the maximum size. Considering so many Fiats cohabit showrooms with other Chrysler, Jeep, and Dodge products, the risk of cannibalization is too great—even though, Francois admits, the customer bases are very different.
At most, Francois says that Fiat would go “just a little bigger,” leading us to think of the seven-seat version of the 500L, a car we believe will be badged as the 500XL. It’s a thought we’d rather not entertain; in the past few years, American consumers have ignored tiny three-row vehicles with such vigor you’d think the cars came with standard leprosy.
Stopping far short of a promise, Francois thinks the 500L could double Fiat’s sales in the U.S., which are on pace to hit about 50,000 units in 2012. It’s a reasonable ballpark estimate, when you consider the giant leap in practicality for the 500L from the micro-sized normal 500. Over at Mini—a brand to which Fiat’s executives will refer frequently but insist they’re not competing with—the Countryman quickly became the second-highest seller.
Abarth Expansion and Which-Wheel Drive
We’re sorry to relay it, brothers and sisters, but Olivier Francois ruled out an Abarth version of the 500L. “It’s not the right car,” he said—but there will be more Abarths in the future. That raises the question, though: Abarth versions of what? Fiat is determined to grow its lineup in the States. With what kind of models the company will do this, we don’t know. Anything bigger than the 500L, obviously, is a non-starter. What about some kind of rear-wheel-drive roadster? “Leave rear-wheel drive for Alfa,” Francois says, reminding us that Fiat’s upmarket brand is coming here next year. (Coincidentally, “next year” is when the Cubs are expected to finally win a World Series.)
Fiat will, however, begin offering some vehicles with all-wheel drive. The 500L is a perfect fit, given its pretend off-roader styling, and there’s a good chance that all-wheel drive also will be deployed to future Fiats simply to handle increasing amounts of horsepower.
Factory Performance Upgrades for the 500
Tapping into—or perhaps stimulating—the lucrative market that is “personalization,” Fiat is opening a sub-factory to build individually spec’d cars on-site at the Toluca, Mexico, factory where the 500 is assembled. From the Fiat Custom Shop, customers we thought only existed in marketing presentations can order off a menu, so to speak, whether they want their cars sprayed with wacky colors or seats lined in higher-grade leather.
This is just the beginning, though, Francois tells us. The plan is to offer 500 customers the option of factory-installed, fully warranteed performance upgrades. Initially, the catalog will be similar to what Mopar sells: suspension tuning, body kits, exhaust systems, and the usual ride-pimping, In time, however, Francois would love to see it expand to real engine performance upgrades, too. One would figure that Fiat is covered with the basic 101-hp 500, the sportier 135-hp 500T, and the 160-hp Abarth, but in a few years’ time, Fiat’s little skunkworks factory could be mixing and matching the Abarth’s drivetrain and suspension under a body painted in the classic Tiffany blue.
Fiat 500 sales were up 59 percent last month, a sales record for the month of December. It was the 10th-consecutive month this year in which the Fiat 500 has set a sales record, including an all-time sales record in September. Sales of the Fiat 500 hatchback were up 64 percent while the Fiat 500 Cabrio recorded a 39 percent year-over-year sales gain. The Fiat 500 was one of the 12 Chrysler Group models that earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick designation in December.
For the year, Fiat 500 sales (43,772 units) were up a substantial 121 percent compared with sales (19,769 units) during the 10 months that the model was sold in the U.S. in 2011. Fiat 500 sales in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico exceeded 50,000 units in 2012.
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