New car reviews

2014 Fiat 500L

The Mother of all Fiats

Lou Ann Hammond, Mon, 15 Jul 2013 03:17:53 PDT

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.



2014 Fiat 500L

Fabrizzio Vacca describing the
inspiration for the Fiat 500L
the Villa Savoye

Illumination from the A-pillar

lots of cargo room


scroll up