Fiat has officially unveiled the 500L, which matches Fiat 500 looks with a chassis based on the larger Fiat Punto. The new car, expected to compete against Mini Countryman and other premium small cars, uses the same turbocharged 1.4 liter engine as the Fiat 500 Abarth and Dodge Dart, pushing out 160 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque.
The 2014 Fiat 500L will be made in Serbia, and is coming to American shores in mid-2013. It has been styled inside and out to match the Fiat 500 look, and also sports an optional white or black roof to match current retro fashions.
The 500L should appeal to those who like the Fiat 500′s look and feel, but do not like its two doors, cramped rear seats, or difficult entry and exit. It also provides far more luggage space than the Fiat 500, and the rear seats can be pushed four inches further into the car to make room for more cargo.
The 500L will be the first Fiat (other than Freemont) to incorporate Chrysler’s UConnect system; in this case, it will use the UConnect 5.0 and 6.5 (those are screen sizes, not version numbers). The two systems use touch screens to enable voice control, hands-free calling, music selection (streamed from BlueTooth or hooked up by USB), and text messaging — reading aloud new messages to the driver. The 6.5 version adds dealer-activated navigation with intuitive map graphics, personalization settings, and an SD card reader. Both systems are available with an optional Parkview rear backup camera.
Gas mileage figures have not yet been released, but are likely to be in the high 20s for the city cycle and in the mid 30s for highway driving, based on the lighter Fiat 500 Abarth and heavier Dodge Dart.