The Mother of all Fiats

2014, Fiat, 500L

Baltimore, MD - "The Fiat 500 is known as Mammone in Italy, a Momma's boy," Fabrizio Vacca, one of Fiat's senior interior designers from Centro Stile in Turin who worked on the 500L's interior said, at the same time he started backtracking, realizing he was talking to an American who might have thought he was referring to a mollycoddled little child, "not a real Momma, just because the car is cute and small." Yes, we got it, it's a term of endearment.

If you put the 500L next to the 500 you will see that the 500L is much larger, 2 feet longer, than the 500, but that's just the outside. This new Cinquecento is an L, for l-iving l-arge. Vacca likens the 500L to a house, "L means Loft, a car to be L-ived in. Jason Stoicevich, Head of FIAT Brand North America - Chrysler Group LLC, says the interior of the Fiat 500L is the same size as the Chrysler 300.

To Vacca it was important to keep the Italian interior design, the European mystique, the same on the American 500L, "except anything we had to do to meet regulations and, of course, cupholders. Americans love their cupholders."

Vacca says the 500L was inspired by the Villa Savoye, a modernist house Vacca describes as "layered" that is located in Poissy, France. The house, according to Wikipedia, was designed in the 1930s by the Swiss architect Le Corbusier and his cousin, Pierre Jeanneret.

Vacca says he incorporated the layered design of the house into the car, "a free flow base, a windowed layer that provided illumination and ventilation, and a functional roof. Illumination is a very important feature when designing an interior environment." There is even a L-oft edition with an open sunroof called the Patio with a panoramic view.

The 500L A-pillar is ingenious. Vacca is right, illumination is the key, opening up the A-pillar is a design in functionality and aesthetics. It is the illusion of transparency and I expect this design to be copied by other car designers.

It's the little things in a small car that makes one feel differently about a car, the telescoping steering wheel that goes in and out and up and down. The speed limit in the NAV system that keeps your driving partner from becoming Hyacinth in the TV series Keeping up Appearances, everytime you go 10 miles over the speed limit she no longer yells "mind the speed limit".

The 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine provides 160 horsepower, 184 lb.-ft. of torque and up to an EPA estimated 33 miles per gallon (mpg) highway. The Fiat 500L features a six-speed manual transmission or six-speed Euro Twin Clutch transmission. 0-60 for the manual is 9.1 seconds while the Euro Twin is 9.3 seconds. The manual EPA estimated is 25 city/33 highway/ 28 combined. The Euro Twin is 24 city/33 highway/27 combined miles per gallon (mpg).

This is the same engine that is in the Fiat Abarth and the Dodge Dart, Art Anderson, Chief Engineer, said that no other parts are shared with the 500. Get off of Highway 95 and take the backroads around Severn River and you'll feel the 65.7-inch height and 69.8-inch width on the 16-inch tires. Anderson says the 500L is 27 inches longer, 42% more interior room, 20% longer, 9% wider and 11% taller.

There are four models in the 500L lineup:

FIAT 500L Pop
MSRP Starting at:
$19,100 +$800 shipping and handling
5-inch touchscreen
5 exterior colors
Standard 1.4L MultiAir Turbo Engine with 160 HP and 184 lb-ft of torque
Six-Speed Manual Transmission with Hill Start Assist
33 Highway MPG (25 City MPG) and 13.2-Gallon Fuel Tank for up to 435 Miles of Highway Driving Range

FIAT 500L Easy
MSRP Starting at:
$20,195 +$800 shipping and handling
Includes all Pop features, plus:
nine exterior colors
Available Six-Speed Euro Twin Clutch Transmission with AutoStick Feature
16-Inch Aluminum Wheels
3 Roof Color Choices (Opt. Black or White and Std. Body-Color)

FIAT 500L Trekking
MSRP Starting at:
$21,195 +$800 shipping and handling
Includes all Easy features, plus:
17-inch wheels, painted heated mirrors, cloth/leather combo
six exterior colors
6 Exterior Colors, Roof Color Options (Black, White and Standard Body-Color)
Unique Trekking Front/Rear Fascias and Lower Body Protective Sill Cladding
Satin Silver Bodyside Moldings and Door Handles

FIAT 500L Lounge
MSRP Starting at:
$24,195 +$800 shipping and handling
Includes all Trekking features, plus:
XM, power lumbar
nine exterior colors
Six-Speed Euro Twin Automatic Cluch Transmission with AutoStick Feature
Chrome Exterior Mirrors, Door Handles and Body Side Molding Inserts
Available Dual-Panel Power Sunroof

For a limited time there is a $1,745 premier package for NO CHARGE on the Easy, Trekking and Lounge models. This includes 6.5 touchscreen, back up camera, rear park assist. This freebee is good, according to Fiat, until December 2013, but check with your car dealers to be sure.

The 2014 Fiat 500L and 2014 Fiat 500L Trekking models are produced at the Fiat Automobiles Serbia plant in Kragujevac, Serbia and introduced to the United States through the port of Baltimore, MD, a city that needs those extra jobs.

I think this is the Fiat 500 that will make people look differently at Fiat, more seriously. This Fiat will give it's competitors a run for their money.

By Lou Ann Hammond
15/07/2013 12:00 am

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Images of the 2014, Fiat 500L

2014 Fiat 500L
2014 Fiat 500L
Fabrizzio Vacca describing the <BR> inspiration for the Fiat 500L<BR> the Villa Savoye
Fabrizzio Vacca describing the
inspiration for the Fiat 500L
the Villa Savoye
Illumination from the A-pillar
Illumination from the A-pillar
lots of cargo room
lots of cargo room