Motoring review: Fiat 500L

Fiat 500L – a car for sharing

Motoring journalist Sue Cooke, gets behind the wheel of the Fiat 500L

Facts at a glance: 

Model: Fiat 500L Cross | Price:  £19,445 otr | Engine: 1.4 litre T-Jet 120hp | Performance:  0-62mph in 10.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 117 mph | CO2 emissions: 157 g/km | Combined fuel consumption: 42.2 mpg

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Getting access to my car seat can sometimes be an athletic marathon due to the huge amount of working clutter and children’s clutter in the cabin! That is, until this week when I road tested Fiat’s mini MPV. There is so much space! It must be the largest interior I have seen in any road test car this year. Peer into the depths behind the front seats and it’s like looking into a black hole. Sat each side of the rear seats, even the kids couldn’t reach to hit each other! 

And of course, this is the chosen car for comedian Peter Kay in the sitcom ‘Car Share’ and it’s ideal for ferrying passengers around. The seats are comfortable with supportive sides and a long seat squab. I could have driven for miles and miles and got out the other end feeling refreshed.  

The five door is taller than most cars so there is also good head room. The driver has a commanding view of the road ahead and the wraparound glazing concept means that visibility is class leading. Thanks to the glazed A-pillar, parking is easier too, helped by front and rear view sensors. Manoeuvrability is another simple act as despite the huge interior space, the 500L doesn’t feel like a big car to drive. 

Large storage spaces are numerous and embrace every size of clutter which meant I had a clean car all week.

The 500L had a bit of a nip and tuck late last year and the cabin is completely new. The updated dashboard is now more high-tech and added chrome accents give a more iconic look. Options include ‘packs’ and new owners can choose between comfort, city, safety, style and style plus. Useful features include a child monitoring mirror to keep an eye on rear seat passengers, puddle lights which illuminate the area around the car when light is poor and debuting on the new family car are advanced smartphone integration systems, Apple Car Play and Android Auto. 

Apple CarPlay perfectly integrates the iPhone with the display and controls, so users can make calls, play their music, send and receive messages, get directions optimised for traffic conditions and much more, while keeping your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.  With Android Auto™ drivers can access Google Maps, with voice-guided navigation, real time traffic information and lane guidance and Google Play Music, among other music services.

My road test car was powered by the new 1.4 litre T-Jet with a 6 speed manual transmission. This engine has great acceleration but is poor on fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.  I would choose one of the two diesel engines.  The 1.3 litre MultiJet with Dualogic transmission has good CO2 emissions of 106g/km and great combined fuel consumption of 70.6mpg.  But acceleration is 0-62mph in 14.3 seconds.  So, your choice will depend on what is most important to your journey.

The Fiat 500L is definitely a car for sharing and I can guarantee you will be very comfortable, in a clean and tidy environment with excellent visibility all round.

 

 

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