Fiat 500L 1.6

MultiJet II 120hp

Beats Edition

Fiat 500L Beats Edition, full front static
Fiat 500L Beats Edition, front static
Fiat 500L Beats Edition, rear static
Fiat 500L Beats Edition, dashboard
Fiat 500L Beats Edition, rear seats
Fiat 500L Beats Edition, boot
Fiat 500L Beats Edition, sat nav
Fiat 500L Beats Edition, door mirror
Fiat 500L Beats Edition, speaker

HERE is the car for a trendy young man who clamps a set of expensive headphones to his ears and heads off to the hippest high street he can find.

And if his 'phones have a big red 'b' on them, he's even closer to this particular Fiat. Its big selling point is a sound system designed with the help of a company that's enormous in the world of the sound of music.

Those of a more mature stature will probably not know the company Beats Electronics, but your children and grandchildren will. It was co-founded by a rapper called Dr. Dre, who is now a very rich rapper indeed after selling the firm to Apple.

Don't suppose he drives a Fiat 500L, but the car maker must hope that adding the Beats link sprinkles some fairy dust over a car that clearly wants to build on the sales success of the smaller and much prettier Fiat 500 urban roundabout.

That car still sells in shedloads years after it was introduced as a modern tribute to the original 500, beloved of style setters to this day and still seen in some numbers in the back streets of any Italian city.

You can see how hard the stylists worked to put some of the little 'un's looks into the 500L, especially around its nose. You might think it looks awkward - or 'really smart', as the young lady driver of a chic Citroen DS3 remarked at first sight.

There's no argument that the 500L is a winner in the interior room stakes; with stretching space in the back for a couple of big men (three at a slight pinch) and a huge boot. You can rob some legroom and slide the rear bench forward to make the loadspace larger still.

The Fiat 500L Beats Edition is based on the 500 Trekking, so comes with a modestly raised ride height and a button that tells the front wheels to work more cleverly when you're driving on a really slippery surface (wet grass, for instance).

Then, for an extra £1,500 over the Trekking you can have the 500L Beats Edition, available with a 1.6 litre diesel engine and a list of additions topped by the sound system, which uses a 520 watts amplifier and seven speakers (one of them a big bass job in the boot) to generate a proper disco feel with the volume cranked up high.

Changes to the look of the 500L Beats are more subtle, with red lines on the door mirrors, red brake callipers and black for bits like bumpers side skirts and alloy wheels. The test car came in a matt grey (more a dullish silver) with a black roof for £350 - with the grey continued on the dashboard inside.

On the road, the diesel engine pulls well after a noisy start from cold and the car acts as a decently civilised space for your next music track. It also showed a more than acceptable 49mpg on its hard to read trip computer at the end of the test.

The speedo is hard to read too, a triumph of style over clarity and best seen at night (ditto the small £500 sat nav) but the rest of the car comes over as a thoroughly practical machine.

FAST FACTS

Fiat 500L 1.6 MultiJet II 120hp Beats Edition

Price: £22,190

Mechanical: 118 bhp, 1,598cc, 4-cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-spd gearbox

Max Speed: 117 mph

0-62mph: 11.5 secs

Combined MPG: 65.7

Insurance Group: 16

C02 emissions: 114g/km

Bik rating: 20%

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