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I was sitting at a stop light, in my G Caravan, when my wife asked what vehicle was sitting alongside us on her (passenger's) side. It had a 1950's paint job (that off blue-ish gray like a Rambler color). It pulled up a tad and I saw the 500L nameplate on the rear. Of course, I took it slow so I could get a better look.
Very unimpressive and I was wondering who would buy that vehicle if they could have a minivan for the same/less money? It reminded me of the old VW Microbuses (and not in a good way since the VW was a death trap above 50mph). I could only think that the person wanted to be unique. Being a cyclops is unique but.....
 

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chuckt said:
I was sitting at a stop light, in my G Caravan, when my wife asked what vehicle was sitting alongside us on her (passenger's) side. It had a 1950's paint job (that off blue-ish gray like a Rambler color). It pulled up a tad and I saw the 500L nameplate on the rear. Of course, I took it slow so I could get a better look.
Very unimpressive and I was wondering who would buy that vehicle if they could have a minivan for the same/less money? It reminded me of the old VW Microbuses (and not in a good way since the VW was a death trap above 50mph). I could only think that the person wanted to be unique. Being a cyclops is unique but.....
24/33 mpg is quite a bit better than 17/25.
 

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My son wants one. There are some in the rental fleet he maintains at the airport. A couple of weeks ago my son had to be out of town for personal business. He rented a 500L that had just come back from the DDCT recall. He spotted it on the return lot when it came back the night before he left. (The transaxle recall was to reprogram the DDCT.)

The transmission performed flawlessly. Gear changes were very smooth, almost imperceptible. The off the line hesitation was greatly reduced. It was obvious it doesn't feel like a real slushbox. My son reported that it wasn't a turn-off for him and felt better than the CVT cars he has driven in the fleet, and performed much better than the Ford "paint mixer" dual clutch transmission.

My son's first vehicle was a SWB Voyager. It was 1992 vintage base model. They don't make vans like that anymore. He hated driving my Grand Caravan because he could really feel the size difference. The size becomes a big deal because he's living in an urban environment. The 500L has a lot of room in a B-segment length. I would best describe the vehicle as a Bohemian Box. BTW, it handles the prairie interstates with ease. It got 39 mpg highway and low 30's city and averaged 34 mpg for the 1,600 mile week mixed with a lot of urban slogging.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
JoshMHam said:
24/33 mpg is quite a bit better than 17/25.
I could probably lift my hatch and drive the 500L into it and close the door. It has the aerodynamics of a billboard judging from the front end and I now have 92,000 miles on the G Caravan and have only done the oil, battery and tires routine. I will guess what the maintenance routine will be on that 4-banger.
And it is ugly and looks like the old VW.
My tranny shifts flawlessly too and it is almost 16 years on the road.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I agree with the line from C&D about the "L".
The cutesy eye balls are painted on a mop bucket.
Instead of the L, let the Dodge boys design a smaller Caravan.
 

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chuckt said:
I could probably lift my hatch and drive the 500L into it and close the door.
No, you couldn't. It's not THAT small.

chuckt said:
It has the aerodynamics of a billboard judging from the front end
And your GC doesn't?

chuckt said:
and I now have 92,000 miles on the G Caravan and have only done the oil, battery and tires routine. I will guess what the maintenance routine will be on that 4-banger.
No need to guess. You can view it for yourself:
http://www.fiatusa.com/download/pdf/manuals/2014-FIAT-500L-OM-1st.pdf

chuckt said:
And it is ugly and looks like the old VW.
Looks are subjective - I kinda like it myself.

chuckt said:
My tranny shifts flawlessly too and it is almost 16 years on the road.
My '02 is only 14 years on the road with 428K miles...and shifts well. That's what regular maintenance will do for you.

No one is suggesting that a 500L is a valid replacement for a Grand Caravan just because they can be had for similar prices.
chuckt said:
I agree with the line from C&D about the "L".
The cutesy eye balls are painted on a mop bucket.
Instead of the L, let the Dodge boys design a smaller Caravan.
Missing the point - the 500L was never intended to be a Dodge. It's a Fiat and it's not for everyone.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
And with the 3.2L and 9-speed transmission, we are probably talking 30-30+ mpg on the hwy. I will give up that 5mpg's.
Nope the GC is pretty aerodynamic with the sloping hood.
Okay, the door may not close...I will need a flag.
But I can also get a Dodge G Caravan with a 3.6L and some bells and whistles (as advertised) for $15,990.
 

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The 500L is a city car, one with a very spacious interior. It has city fuel economy which easily trounces a minivan's. The small size also permits easier maneuvering for the urban environment. The 500L plays to a younger audience. Car and Driver picked the Kia Soul over the Fiat, but the Soul appeals to two age groups, children who liked the hamster ads and also their grandparents.

Like pecorino romano cheese, the 500L is for specialized tastes. One can get a lot more for the same money from a tube of Kraft shaker cheese, but it's not the same flavor.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
v.b. said:
Not for long...

v
Yeah, I fear your prediction.
Acquired taste...probably said that about the 2004 GTO, the Edsel, ...., to each his own but simultaneously, simultaneously, Sergio is killing the well selling Caravan yet propping up a 3-leeged horse. What was his statement? Oh yeah, it's okay if Fiat doesn't do well, now.
I will say one thing; I have seen more Fiat 500's than Darts in the Chicago burbs. I don't know why; probably because the Fiats do stand out in a crowd. Maybe one Tesla is more noticeable than 100 Caravans.
 

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chuckt said:
And with the 3.2L and 9-speed transmission, we are probably talking 30-30+ mpg on the hwy. I will give up that 5mpg's.
"Probably" doesn't feed the bulldog.

chuckt said:
Nope the GC is pretty aerodynamic with the sloping hood.
Visually, perhaps. Raw aero numbers do not tell the entire story.

chuckt said:
Okay, the door may not close...I will need a flag.
A bit more than that.

Cargo width on the DGC is 48.8" - width on a 500L is about 70"; 80" including the mirrors. You're about 31 inches too narrow.

Cargo height is about 47", height on the 500L is about 66" - you'll need to chop the top and add about 20" in height.

Think "PT Cruiser-sized" - it's pretty close to that.

chuckt said:
But I can also get a Dodge G Caravan with a 3.6L and some bells and whistles (as advertised) for $15,990.
If you qualify for all the incentives. And if the model advertised at $15990 is actually on the lot. We all know how that game is played.

Not denying the DGC isn't a great value - it is. But it's still an apples to oranges comparison.

I get it though - you aren't a fan of the 500L. Which is fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Sherman Dodge (illinois) advertises the price every Sunday in the Chicago Tribune. Granted it may not be the color and bare bones but it starts with the 3.6L and automatic transmission. Yes, it is a great price for the van and I wonder how much they are making on it.

Reading Car and Driver, they pointed out the hard plastic interior but sort of gave it a pass. I remember the Caliber (a really good vehicle) being shot and burned because it had a supposedly poor interior. I know tastes are ubique to everybody but level the playing field.
 

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The quality of the interior in the Caliber was poor in a number of ways. That said, if someone gave me one for free I probably wouldn't complain - and I've rented one before and didn't have any real issues over a weekend. But it's not on my list when considering a used car - I'd sooner go with a Patriot - somehow the quality "matches" on the Patriot versus the Caliber.

I didn't think the interior quality in the 500L was all that bad, to be honest.

ALL of the minivans get the 3.6L and 6-speed automatic - regardless of the trim. It performs the same in a Grand Caravan R/T as it does in a Grand Caravan SE.

At $15900, they aren't making much of anything - which is why they will do their best to upsell you into a more expensive model.
 

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I just bought a 500L Trekking for my ex wife and she loves it! I am very impressed with the comfort and the ride from this 500.
 

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The 500L is a great package - the layout and useful space is nice. So is the visibility. I even found the 1.4 turbo and Euro transmission to be acceptable, could be a little better, but not bad for what it is. The only real complaint I had is with the sunroof, the rear seat headroom is restricted enough I can't sit back there.

It is nice enough that I regretfully traded in the Fiat 500c for a new 500L Lounge (fully equipped, except the sunroof and spare tire). The trade on the 500c wasn't bad, we negotiated a decent price with them installing a spare tire. I do regret that once again Dodge missed a sale but the 500L is a nice car if it holds together over time.
 
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