Funky crossover offers more variety
The Fiat 500 successfully resurrected an icon with its cute looks and nostalgic charm. Rather than piggybacking on that success, the bigger and more ambiguously styled 500L crossover missed the mark in the U.S.
Facelifted for 2018 for Europe, the updated 500L offers a bounty of choices for potential customers in terms of trim, color, and powertrain. Fiat also says 40 percent of the 2018 500L’s components are new to boot.
Three trim levels are available: Urban, Wagon, and Cross. Urban emphasizes city driving while Wagon offers a seating arrangement for seven people. Cross is the most off-road capable with nearly an inch of heightened ground clearance as well as a new bumper design and new front and rear skid plates.
For Europe, powerplant options are plentiful. The top of the line is a 1.4-liter inline turbocharged four-cylinder producing 120 hp. Fiat also offers LPG, methane, and diesel options. Transmission offerings include a five- or six-speed manual. Fiat’s Dualogic robotic automatic transmission is also available.
Fiat is doubling down on the 500L’s crossover appeal in the Cross configuration. It offers three driving modes via the 3.5-inch display in the instrument cluster: Normal, Traction+, and Gravity control, which maintains speed while driving down a slope.
Fiat’s City Brake system is offered across the range, providing automatic braking in the event of an impending collision. It also features an upgraded rear-parking camera for better visibility.
A 7-inch touchscreen controls Uconnect HD Live. The infotainment system is compatible with both Apple Car Play and Android Auto. Uconnect also features Bluetooth connectivity and AUX and USB ports.
Fiat has not yet announced when the 2018 500L will go on sale in the North America or how much it will cost.