BIG MAN RIDES: 2014 Fiat 500 L ” The Next Big Thing?”


500L Trekking

Many shoppers looking for a roomy car might pass by the Fiat 500L.  A grievous error in my opinion.

This 6.4 350 pound man found the Fiat to be one of the roomiest  cars on the planet.   Two days before my test drive, I drove a 2012 GMC Yukon, and I found the 500L had more room.  With the front drivers seat all the way back, I could actually sit behind myself.        (The rear seat move fore and Aft )

The 500L is tall car, much  like the roomy Kia Soul, Scion xB and the Nissan Cube.

Note: The Fiat 500L has little in common with the 500 hatchback.   If your a big and tall wide body, you’ll fit in the hatchback ,but you wont be happy.  The 500L was designed in Italy and assembled in Serba.

Once in, The first thing  you”ll notice how large and airy the interior is especially with the glass roof.  As you inspect the car you’ll notice quite a few interesting touches, there are many cubby holes.

One small or large omission is a place for your smart phone.   The good news is the Fiat has the fantastic Chrysler U-Connect Interface.  One of the best in the business   Connecting your Bluetooth will take less than three minutes and all your calls will be hand free.

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Performance and Handling

Power comes from a 1.4 Turbo Engine generating 160 horsepower and 184 pound feet of Torque.  Driving the 6 speed manual the 500L was good at launch with more than enough power.  Its strength is in its mid range power, never did it seem to run out of steam.   The steering was firm aided by the thick steering wheel.   Over all ride and noise levels is good.   Transmission choices are the six-Speed Manual Transmission and the Six-Speed Euro Twin Clutch Automatic Transmission.   I drove the Automatic in the Bay Area and the manual is the clear choice .

( It is very possible Fiat may offer a new nine speed automatic transmission later in 2014)

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Comparisons

Mini Cooper Countryman

Performance wise its the Countryman hands down. Day to day the 500L softer ride will be easier to live with and the Fiat has more room.

Ford C-Max

The C Max is fun to drive and the Hybrid gets superior gas mileage, the500L has much more usable space and its C-Connect is much better than Ford’s notorious My Touch.

Kia Soul*

The 500L has a superior ride, interior, storage space and gets better gas millage.

( * This is based on the 2013 model)

500L

Has four model the Pop, Easy, Trekking, Lounge, with pricing from 19, to 27K   The vehicles are well equipped.  Fit and Finish is very good.  The looks are unique with interior exterior color combinations not usually found in this segment.

The Good

Room, visibility, ride, content, fit and finish.

The Bad

So so Fuel economy, premium fuel, the dual clutch Automatic Transmission,  Unknown Reliability.

Conclusion

If your a wide, tall or a person with a small family in the market for a  small car add the 500L to your list of cars.   This is the must see car!    Its perfect for urban dwellers wanting a roomy car with a small footprint. .    No small car this season or last season offers the 500L combinations of room and style.

Fiat, like Hyundai left america with unreliable cars . To regain the trust of american consumers Hyundai i offered a 10 year warranty.  Its unfortunate Fiat did not offer a similar warranty.   Fiat]’s warranty is 4 years and 50,000 miles.   For this reason the 500L is the car you lease..

CityFella

Special Thanks to the super-team at Niello Fiat in Sacramento and  Jerry and Daniel Martinez for his Professional Tour and Knowledge.    

Fiat of San Francisco

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