Fiat 500L T-Jet

Cross

Fiat 500L Cross, 2017, nose, action
Fiat 500L Cross, 2017, front, action
Fiat 500L Cross, 2017, front, static
Fiat 500L Cross, 2017, side, static
Fiat 500L Cross, 2017, rear, static
Fiat 500L Cross, 2017, rear, action
Fiat 500L Cross, 2017, interior
Fiat 500L Cross, 2017, rear seats
Fiat 500L Cross, 2017, boot

THE first two days of driving the Fiat 500L I found it difficult to get comedian Peter Kay out of my head.

Not that there is anything comical about the car but the northern comedian's weekly "Car Share" television programme was set almost entirely in a 500L and focussed on the banter between Kay and a female colleague as they drove to and from work each day.

It was great publicity for an impressive family car which offers space, flexibility and an enjoyable drive.

The 500L is the grown up version of the trendy little Fiat 500, and numerous Fiat enthusiasts have made the switch when family requirements meant they outgrew the smaller car.

The exterior of the 500L is muscular and chunky while the interior is both trendy and functional.

A tall, spacious five-seater with a very high roofline it's one of those cars which is particularly easy to get in and out of and - because the tailgate comes right down to the rear bumper - very easy to load.

The split rear seats slide backwards and forwards so you can create more luggage space when you need it or more legroom for back seat passengers when you don't.

With seats folded there's a whopping 1,480 litres of luggage space available.

And inside there are numerous useful spaces for smaller oddments including, unusually, an upper and lower glove box on the passenger side.

From behind the steering wheel the 500L offers excellent all-round visibility thanks to the narrow twin windscreen pillars rather than one thick one and the elevated seat position, thanks to the high roof.

The car underwent a makeover late last year so there have been changes to the dashboard which now features a 3.5-inch colour graphic display between the speedometer and rev counter.

There's also a seven-inch touch screen for the Tom Tom satellite navigation system as well as to allow you to activate on-board features.

Externally there's a new look front bumper. LED daytime running lights and a revised layout for the fog lamps.

The Cross model is the most rugged of the range available and as such features some useful gadgetry to get you out of trouble in winter when snow and ice are on the ground.

A dial near the gear shift allows you to change from normal mode to traction+ mode which brakes the wheel which is slipping while adding more drive to one with traction. The system also allows you to engage a hill descent system for slippery surfaces on steep declines.

It may not be four-wheel-drive but it's a useful feature which can get you out of trouble when others can't stop their wheels spinning.

On the road the 500L has impressive manners. It feels solid and well planted even on tight bends and the cabin is pleasantly quiet.

FAST FACTS

Fiat 500L T-Jet Cross

Price: £19,445

Mechanical: 120bhp, 1,398cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 117mph

0-62mph: 10.2 seconds

Combined MPG: 42.2

Insurance Group: 14

C02 emissions: 157g/km

Bik rating: 32%

Warranty: 3yrs/100,000 miles

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