Fiat’s 500 was built from the very start for people who love to stand out – friendly, outgoing people with lots of friends, in other words. The standard 500 simply couldn’t cope with the immense pressure of an extrovert’s social life, so a solution was needed.
Enter the Fiat 500L. The letter is a dead giveaway as to why this car was built. Fiat says the L sums up the three dimensions enclosed in the bigger 500 - Large, Light and Loft, which means it’s larger, lighter than you’d expect and has a trend-setting interior in which one can live life to the fullest.
The stylish appearance is still very much evident, but I can’t help but think that a bit of the standard 500’s magic has been lost. The 500L seems to be bursting at the seams, almost like a person on one of those awful weight-loss reality shows. Still, it is pretty funky and noticeable, which are the only things that really matter style-wise.
What we do like is the fact that the interior and exterior of the 500L is as customisable as its smaller sibling. No less than seven exterior colours are offered, ranging from Bossa Nova White to Heavy Metal Grey. Two trim levels are available (Easy and Lounge) and they are as different as the customers who will eventually choose them.
In addition to the standard vehicle, turning the 500L into a unique and personalised object is made possible with a variety of optional extras available from the dealership.
The benefits of the bloated appearance are easy to see. Fiat claims best-in-class load capacity and interior space. The boot is big as well, with enough space to swallow five standard-sized roller suitcases.
The interior can also be configured so larger materials can be transported. With the rear and front passenger seats folded down, the driver can transport materials of up to 2.4 metres long. It also has something called Cargo Magic Space, which allows the boot to be adjusted in three levels to separate fragile objects from heavy ones. The load compartment is also filled with pockets and hooks in order to transport any object in total safety and tidiness.
The interior is also special technology-wise. The 500L is the first car in the Fiat group to be equipped with an infotainment system based on the new-generation Uconnect platform. This system was designed to manage all the media content in the car in one easily accessible place. It also includes an advanced Bluetooth interface, which allows the driver or passengers to make calls or receive SMSes via text-to-speech technology.
Standard safety equipment includes six airbags, front headlights with daytime running lights and fog lights with self-adaptive cornering function. It also comes standard with ABS, BAS and ESC.
Two engines are available at launch: a 1.6-litre MultiJet turbo-diesel (77kW) and one naturally aspirated 1.4-litre petrol (70kW). A six-speed manual gearbox is standard fitment on both.
Sales of the new Fiat 500L begin at the end of October. A 3-year/100 000km warranty and maintenance plan is included as standard.
|Fiat 500L 1.4 Easy||R232 990|
|Fiat 500L 1.4 Lounge||R247 990|
|Fiat 500L 1.6 MultiJet Lounge||R287 990|