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2014 Fiat 500L First Impressions

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Chelsea Proving Grounds, Ann Arbor Mi. - The 2014 Fiat 500L is not exactly the Fiat of your old-world Nonno’s day and age. The 500L is made in the American image: longer, wider, and more powerful. In this case, those are all good things, very good things.

What is a Fiat 500L?
The 2014 Fiat 500L is the next logical development of the sub-compact Fiat 500 for the North American market. The Fiat 500L mutated into a 4-door hatch that can hold 5 North American adults in decent comfort.

2014 Fiat 500L Price and Specs
Starting at $19,995, the 2014 Fiat 500L comes to Canada in 4 different trim levels: Pop, Sport, Trekking, and Lounge. Pricing for the Pop includes such goodies as Uconnect with a 5” screen, Bluetooth™, hill start assist, 7 airbags, and stability control. At the top, the 2014 Fiat 500L Lounge has a base price of $25,995, and the equipment list grows to include a Beats premium audio system (limited time introductory offer), premium leather seats with heated front buckets, and a ParkView® backup camera, as well as a bit of bling through added exterior chrome.

Power for the 2014 Fiat 500L comes from the 1.4L MultiAair (turbocharged) inline-4 that puts out 160 horsepower and produces 184 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard. The optional automatic is a 6-speed dual, dry-clutch transmission or DDCT as Fiat calls it.

Fuel economy for the 2014 Fiat 500L varies from roughly 8L/100km in the city to 6L/100km out on the highway when equipped with the 6-speed manual.

Driving the 2014 Fiat 500L
The last thing on your mind when you take the 2014 Fiat 500L out for the first drive is fuel economy. Even when equipped with the 6-speed DDCT transmission, the Fiat 500L is willing to get up and go. There is little turbo lag, and the motor pulls hard from just off idle and just keeps pulling. Zero to 100 km/h takes about 11 seconds, but seems like less.

One other thing you notice is that the interior is quiet, even under full acceleration. Cruising at speed in the 2014 Fiat 500L is relaxing because of the quietness and stability. There was little if any reaction to side winds or passing trucks.

The 2014 Fiat 500L does much better than its tall profile would suggest. Corners are taken fairly flat unless you push really hard, at which point it tilts over a bit and the nose starts to push out. Electric power steering makes this transition a bit difficult to predict accurately, but normally there is no reason to push as hard as it takes to make the steering feel turn numb.

After being in the car for a while, the seats still felt comfortable, although, if you do much hard cornering, the lack of lateral support in both the seatbacks and seat cushions becomes apparent in the 2014 Fiat 500L.

Inside and Out of the 2014 Fiat 500L
The 2014 Fiat 500L is a surprise because, while it is so similar to the regular Fiat 500, it is also significantly different. Styling cues around the front fascia and a bit of the front end are definitely Fiat. After that, the flat roof, rounded sides, and extra doors leave you wondering if you really are looking at a Fiat. Then you go to the tail: It may be a relatively upright hatchback, but the taillights and overall design are clearly Fiat.

That feeling of familiarity carries over to the interior as well. The driving position is definitely Italian. Controls are definitely Fiat in design, and fall readily to hand. The largest American influence seems to be in the centre stack where Uconnect resides with its modern controls and configurable TFT screen. North American influence is also found in the rear seats of the 2014 Fiat 500L: It is large enough for 3 adults, and has legroom to spare even when the front seats are nearly all the way back.

Comparing the Fiat 500L
The 2014 Fiat 500L invites some extreme comparisons. It stacks up well against the modern, upmarket MINI Countryman in price, fuel economy, and size. The Fiat 500L can be similarly compared with the Kia Soul, as well as the Scion xB and Nissan Cube. The only way to know for sure if you have enough Italian in you to love this not-so-little Fiat is to drive one, Italian style.
 

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    2014 Fiat 500L Pop
    fiat 500l 2014
    2014 Fiat 500L Pop
    Review this Vehicle
    Styling
    Accessories
    Space and Access
    Comfort
    Performance
    Driving Dynamics
    Safety
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