The Fiat 500L, which made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show last month, heralds a series of multi-purpose vehicles and is an indication of the future for Fiat’s ‘500’ sub-brand.
When it launched the Fiat 500 in 2007, the firm unashamedly followed the example of Mini in its presentation and marketing, making it a must-have fashion item and resulting in the 500 becoming its best-selling model in Europe.
Fiat has rejected the idea of creating a stand-alone brand like Mini, but believes that there is scope to extend the 500 family beyond the Panda-based A-sector model. The 500L (the ‘L’ stands for Large) can be seen as its equivalent of the Mini Countryman – at a lower price.
The 4140mm 500L is 50mm longer and 100mm taller than the Countryman and a more typical compact MPV, though with conventional doors and only five seats. Fiat design chief Roberto Giolito, the ‘father’ of the 500, has adopted the original car’s ‘smiling face’ for the enlarged model, which is spacious and has a light and airy interior, thanks to deep windows, narrow, twin A-pillars and a panoramic glass roof. It includes new finishes and materials of high quality that are claimed to be durable and easy to clean. As with the current 500, there will be three distinct trim levels – Pop, Easy and Lounge - and a wide range of options provide plenty of scope for personalization.