Fiat crosses over

with new 500L

Fiat 500L Cross, 2017, nose, action
Fiat 500L Cross, 2017, front, action
Fiat 500L Cross, 2017, side, action
Fiat 500L Cross, 2017, rear, action
Fiat 500L Cross, 2017, front, static
Fiat 500L Cross, 2017, side, static
Fiat 500L Cross, 2017, rear, static
Fiat 500L Cross, 2017, interior
Fiat 500L Cross, 2017, instrument panel
Fiat 500L Cross, 2017, display screen
Fiat 500L Cross, 2017, table
Fiat 500L Cross, 2017, rear seats
Fiat 500L Cross, 2017, MulitJet diesel engine
Fiat 500L Cross, 2017, drive mode control
Fiat 500L Cross, 2017, boot

GOING large paid dividends for Fiat when it pumped the baby in its range to create the 500L.

The compact MPV has become a popular model with families across the UK and now there's a new version, spruced up inside and out.

With a new look front and back, the latest 500L is keeping pace with the current crop of crossovers - and the SUV-like appeal is extended on some models with the addition of extra traction controls.

The changes may be a mid-life update to the model first introduced in 2012 but are significant and include a new layout to the interior.

Prices now start from £16,195 - an increase of some £600 - for a 1.4-litre petrol Urban model in Pop Star trim and top out at £21,320 for a 1.6 diesel in Cross specification which comes with ‘soft-roader' looks and the added grip.

There's also a seven-seater Wagon model with prices ranging from £18,945 to £22,320.

As such, Fiat has most bases covered with the 500L and it's a very capable family all-rounder with engines that are lean and mean.

We have just put the top range 500L Cross 1.6 MultiJet diesel through its paces and in terms of economy it must be one of the most frugal crossovers around.

Forget all the recent hullabaloo about diesels - the latest generation are cleaner than ever and the Fiat engines meet all the current emissions standards.

Driving around town the 500L showed an average of 58 to the gallon and on a run its was nudging into the low 60s, not far off the official fuel figure of 65.7mpg with emissions of 114g/km.

With 120bhp on tap performance is adequate at 11.5 seconds 0 to 60 and a top speed of 114mph which for once makes this a compact diesel that's well worth the £2,000 premium over the turbo petrol versions.

The 500L Cross has more rugged features than the Urban models which includes some added body protection and skid plates front and rear. It also sits an inch higher which takes ground clearance up to almost six inches.

Changing drive modes is done from the turn of a switch on the dash and that can optimise traction electronically or engage hill descent control to give the Cross extra ability is poor conditions.

It's another string to its bow and puts the 500L Cross ahead of many other crossovers which are front-wheel-drive only.

Boot space - which features a movable floor panel and a sliding rear seat - ranges from 455 to 1,480 litres and the cabin is a proper five-seater with more driver-friendly features.

Gone is the palm-shaped handbrake release at the back of the centre console which is replaced by a conventional lever while the gear lever has been raised slightly so it feels more to hand.

When it comes to handling the 500L has no bad habits and there are plenty of creature comforts such as dual zone climate control and full smartphone compatibility when it comes to connectivity, although that's a £150 extra.

A revised look to the dashboard includes a seven-inch touchscreen and a new look instrument panel which comes with a central information display. However, the likes of a TomTom sat nav will cost an added £250 and so will a safety pack which adds automatic emergency braking.

With other options such as a rear view camera, seat-back picnic tables, ambient LED interior lighting and a two-tone paint job the total cost of the 500L Cross we drove was £23,345.

Put that into perspective with other 4x4 crossovers and Fiat's offering is very competitive.

With the diminutive 500 hatch celebrating its 60th anniversary this year and the latest retro model still selling strong, Fiat has struck a rich seam with the 500 brand and the bigger 500L, in any of its guises, is a fully-fledged family transport with few compromises.


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