Fiat 500L 1.6

MultiJet Cross

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

THE reinvention of the Fiat 500 has proved a runaway success for Fiat.

So much so that the rebirth has even spawned a number of offshoots in the shape of the larger 500X and the 500L.

The 500L has been round a little longer than the 500X, to the point where Fiat have delivered the second incarnation of this compact MPV.

The original became something of a star when it became the centrepiece of the hit BBC television comedy Car Share.

And unlike the fleeting appearances of characters' cars in most TV shows, given the nature of this sitcom about two people sharing a car to and from work, it featured in virtually every scene.

While it looks very like the original the 500L has had what might be termed a pretty hefty makeover.

Its looks have been sharpened, the technology has been enhanced and it is even more economical.

There are three specification levels to choose from - Urban, Cross and Wagon.

Again, continuing the 500 tradition there are lots of customisation opportunities available so buyers can really put their own stamp on the car they buy.

This car was a Cross model, which is probably the most eye-catching.

Two-colour diamond-finish 17-inch alloy wheels and a sportier styled grille are among the features which help it stand out.

It has slightly higher ground clearance and there's a choice of driving modes - Normal, Traction+ and Gravity Control.

Normal is designed for everyday driving while Traction+ offers extra grip when it's needed, such as on icy roads or even off-road.

Gravity Control will deliver a constant speed when going down steep slopes.

The interior looks very funky, with a new Uconnect HD Live seven-inch touchscreen and again there's a blend of modern and retro styling which works well.

The big advantage of the 500L over its smaller 500 sibling is that it's a very practical and versatile family car.

The cabin is huge, offering an abundance of head and leg room for all five occupants, with great visibility all round.

There are even fold-down picnic tables in the rear.

Boot space ranges from 455 litres to 1,480 with the rear seats folded down and the split boot floor in this car proved particularly useful on a trip away.

The 1.6-litre diesel engine fitted to this car has been improved to deliver more economy and lower emissions.

Fiat's engineers seem to have sharpened-up the driving dynamics too.

I recall the driving experience in the original 500L being a little lumpy but it felt far more composed and assured this time.

I also notched-up quite a few motorway miles and it proved to be a comfortable and sublime cruiser on long journeys.

FAST FACTS

Fiat 500L 1.6 MultiJet Cross

Price:£21,320

Mechanical: 120bhp, 1,598cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed:114mph

0-62mph: 11.5 seconds

Combined MPG: 65.7

Insurance Group: 22

C02 emissions: 114g/km

Bik rating: 27%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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