Saturday, February 28, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

For 2014, Fiat offers a longer 500 model

2014 Fiat 500L

This undated image made available by Chrysler shows the 2014 Fiat 500L. (AP Photo/Chrysler)

By
From page C1 | November 01, 2013 |

It doesn’t sound like much: An extra 27.7 inches of length, nearly 6 more inches of height, two additional doors and four more panels of window glass on a small car badged “Fiat 500L”.

But the not-quite-14-foot-long, four-door, new-for-2014 Fiat 500L is a unique small car ride — odd to some, stylish to others and more spacious inside than just about anyone expects.

The interior airy feel — some might liken it to riding in a bubble — is especially noticeable when the interior is splashed with outside light from a roof-size, optional, power sunroof.

Also noteworthy: The 500L’s high seat positions and big door openings that make for easy entry and exit. These can make the 500L comfortable for someone suffering back pain and who winces at the thought of getting in and out of a regular car.

Best of all, this largest version of a car badged as a Fiat 500 to come to America is affordably priced.

Starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price, including destination charge, is $19,900 for a base, front-wheel drive, 2014 500L Pop model with 160-horsepower, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine and traditional-operating, six-speed manual transmission. This base model includes air conditioning as well as cruise control, remote keyless entry, heated outside mirrors, power windows, power door locks and seven air bags.

The lowest starting retail price for a 500L with a six-speed, Euro-twin clutch that a driver can operate like an automatic transmission is $22,345 because buyers must move up to a 500L Easy model.

A conventional six-speed automatic is planned to be available on the 500L during the 2014 model year. Its pricing is not yet released.

In comparison, a base, 2013 Fiat 500 — without the additional space of the L and with just two side doors — is $16,900 with 101-horsepower, four-cylinder engine and manual transmission.

Competitors to the 500L include other small, tall, five-door hatchbacks.

For example, the front-wheel drive, 2014 Kia Soul has a starting retail price of $15,495 for a base model with 130-horsepower, four-cylinder engine and six-speed manual.

The base, front-wheel drive, 2014 Mini Cooper Countryman with a starting MSRP, including destination charge, of $22,895 has a 121-horsepower, four-cylinder engine and six-speed manual transmission.

While the 500L carries the 500 name, it uses a different “small-wide” architecture than the smaller Fiat 500, so it’s not exactly a blimped-up 500.

Another distinction: The 500L is built in Serbia, not the Mexico assembly plant that produces the 500 for U.S. consumers.

While the 500L has the face of its smaller namesake, it’s on a larger hood and body and arguably just isn’t as cute and endearing as the smaller Fiat 500.

Indeed, pictures of the 500L don’t do it justice. People have to see this car in person to grasp that at 5.5 feet tall, it’s 9.2 inches taller than a Honda Civic sedan, taller than the Countryman and Soul and even a tad taller than a Honda CR-V sport utility vehicle.

Inside, the 500L shows both styling innovation, with its “hip,” modern seats, intriguing shapes and sizing for such things as parking brake lever and steering wheel, and amazing roominess.

The 23.1 cubic feet of cargo space aft of the back seats is about on par with the Kia Soul’s and more than the Countryman’s. When rear, split seats fold down and out of the way, cargo space in the 500L nearly doubles.

Rear-seat legroom can be impressive, too, as both front and rear seats can move forward and back on lengthy tracks and the rear floor is mostly flat. Three passengers can really sit in back and all have adjustable head restraints.

Side windows on the four 500L doors are sizable and can come down below shoulder level even when a petite driver sat on the driver’s seat.

Additional window panels at the four corners of the car attract attention right away, because they are where thick, metal pillars usually are positioned in cars. These windows greatly enhance visibility around the 500L and are part of the style statement.

One nit: The window glass in the test 500L Lounge had a slight imperfection in the middle that blurred the view.

The tester had a full-roof sunroof, with dual glass panes and a fabric shade — all power-operated. Even with the shade in place, the interior was light and bright.When the fabric moved out of the way, there was more headroom for tall passengers. But the glass in this $950 optional sunroof only opened to the outdoors above the front seats. Back seat riders had stationary glass above their heads.

The ride is firm, not isolating, and can be noisy, with the engine readily heard. In curves and turns, there’s body lean in the tall 500L.

The only engine is the 1.4-liter, single overhead cam, MultiAir turbocharged four cylinder that is also used in the sporty version of 500, the Fiat 500 Abarth. In the 500L, this powerplant delivers peak torque of 184 foot-pounds between 2,500 and 4,000 rpm.

The numbers sound good, but the test car often lagged for a bit when the driver demanded acceleration. Then, a burst of speed hit as the turbo kicked in. This was with the six-speed, Euro-twin clutch, that doesn’t require a clutch pedal.

Federal government fuel economy ratings are best with the regular, six-speed manual transmission: 25 miles per gallon in city driving and 33 mpg on highways for a combined 28 mpg.

This compares with the 25/30-mpg rating for the Mini Countryman with base engine and the 24/30-mpg rating for a 2014 Kia Soul.

The tester earned a commendable 28 mpg in mostly highway driving and 23.2 mpg in mostly city driving.

2014 Fiat 500L Lounge

BASE PRICE: $19,100 for Pop model; $20,195 for Easy; 21,195 for Trekking; $24,195 for Lounge.

PRICE AS TESTED: $27,445.

TYPE: Front-engine, front-wheel drive, five-passenger, small wagon.

ENGINE: 1.4-liter, single overhead cam, turbocharged, MultiAir four cylinder.

MILEAGE: 24 mpg (city), 33 mpg (highway).

TOP SPEED: NA.

LENGTH: 167.1 inches.

WHEELBASE: 102.8 inches.

CURB WEIGHT: 3,254 pounds.

BUILT AT: Serbia.

OPTIONS: Power sunroof $950; 17-inch, painted wheels $500; black Nero roof $500; Beats audio with premium speakers and subwoofer $500.

DESTINATION CHARGE: $800.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    US / World

    Man shoots wife, himself at Northern Calif. retirement home

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

     
     
    Thieves crash car through electronics store in San Francisco

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

     
    Some California farmers to go without federal water

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment | Gallery

    Congress OKs 1-week bill to keep Homeland Security open

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment | Gallery

     
    US rescinds rule requiring judges to move to Guantanamo

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    US, Liberia start 1st formal test of ZMapp Ebola virus drug

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    US appeals court: Marathon bombing trial can stay in Boston

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Woman knocked out by eggs

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

    Mexico official: Police capture top capo ‘La Tuta’ Gomez

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

     
    Well-educated ‘Jihadi John’ no surprise to experts

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

    Unmasking of ‘Jihadi John’ as a London lad shocks Britain

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Opinion

    How GOP can resolve immigration mess

    By Ramesh Ponnuru | From Page: A8, 3 Comments

     
    Unlikely winners of Greece’s surrender on euro

    By Mark Gilbert | From Page: A8

    A remedy for veterans’ care

    By Bill Frist And Jim Marshall | From Page: A8

     
    Editorial Cartoon: Feb. 28, 2015

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    .

    Living

    Today in History: Feb. 28, 2015

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Community Calendar: Feb. 28, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

    Horoscopes: Feb. 28, 2015

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

     
    Poem about heaven helps dog owners when beloved pet dies

    By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

    Coca-Cola bottle as art? Atlanta’s High Museum takes a look

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    .

    Entertainment

     
    TVGrid

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B9

    .

    Sports

    Thompson scores 25 points, Warriors rout Raptors 113-89

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Casey McGehee’s move to Giants a homecoming of sorts

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Vaca advances three wrestlers into semis at Masters

    By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

     
    Spurs snap 4-game skid, beat short-handed Kings 107-96

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    Travis Kvapil’s NASCAR car stolen from hotel before race

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    McIlroy to miss cut at Honda Classic; Reed leads

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    NHL fines Sharks’ Couture $5,000 for tripping from behind

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Browns agree to terms with quarterback Josh McCown

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Kyle Busch released from hospital following foot surgery

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Bulls expect Derrick Rose back this season from knee surgery

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Testimony: Several Hernandez texts are missing from phone

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Approaching ‘last call’ for NHL GMs to tweak rosters

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    PGA Tour to move Match Play to Texas

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Notre Dame president credited for transforming school dies

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    MLS Commissioner Garber: Hopeful season will start on time

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    This date in sports history for Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

    .

    Business

    Gas prices soar in California as supply shrinks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

     
    5 reasons US economy is stronger than Q4 GDP suggests

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5 | Gallery

    Tribes from around US gather to discuss legal marijuana

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    Uber says database containing driver info was breached

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

    Signed contracts to buy US homes rise to 18-month high

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    Fiat Chrysler recalls 467K SUVs for possible stalling

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    Southwest nearly done inspecting planes that were grounded

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

    .

    Obituaries

    Gabriel T. Traub

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

     
    Maria Kraszewski

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Wizard of Id

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Baby Blues

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Frank and Ernest

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    B.C.

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Peanuts

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Rose is Rose

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Zits

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Pickles

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Baldo

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Sally Forth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Garfield

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Blondie

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    For Better or Worse

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Get Fuzzy

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Beetle Bailey

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Dilbert

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Cryptoquote

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

     
    Sudoku

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

    Bridge

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

     
    Crossword

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

    Word Sleuth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Home Seller 2/28/2015

    Right at Home: Decor made of bicycle parts

    By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR2Comments are off for this post | Gallery

    Real estate transactions for Feb. 28, 2015

    By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR3

    Average US rate on 30-year mortgage rises to 3.80 percent

    By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR3