Fiat introduced its grown-up 500L model to North America at the Los Angeles auto show this week, and added a new model called the 500L Trekking.
While the 500L shares its nameplate and general styling theme with the diminutive Fiat 500 – Cinquecento – which entered our market in 2011, it's based on an entirely different platform. Called "small-wide" internally, it's also the basis for the Fiat Grande Panda, Doblo and Alfa Romeo MiTo in Europe.
Consequently, the 500L is longer (by 660 mm), wider (by 152 mm), taller (by 152 mm) and substantially roomier (by 42%) than the 500, with accommodation for five. Fiat says it provides best-in-class headroom and front legroom.
Power comes from a1.4-litre, 160-horsepower, MultiAir Turbo four-cylinder engine for which Fiat claims best-in-class power and torque. Buyers have a choice of six-speed automatic or manual transmissions.
The 500L made its European debut during the summer but the LA show was the world premiere for the 500L Trekking model, which incorporates more rugged styling that includes unique front and rear fascia designs, flared wheel arches and larger 17-inch wheels. The company says is targeted at buyers with an active lifestyle.
Inside, there's an exclusive black/brown trim combination and an all-new Uconnect 5.0 system that features a 5-inch touchscreen interface, handsfree calling and Bluetooth-streaming audio, as well as voice-command control of the radio and a media hub for seamless integration of portable devices.
Since the modern Fiat 500’s global launch in 2007, more than 1 million of little vehicles have been sold in 110 countries worldwide.
The 2014 Fiat 500L and Fiat 500L Trekking models will be built at Fiat's plant in Kragujevac, Serbia. It will arrive at Fiat dealers in North America in mid-2013.