Geneva 2012: Fiat 500L, Heir To The Multipla Throne

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
geneva 2012 fiat 500l heir to the multipla throne

North America missed on the ermm…unique…Fiat Multipla, sold in Europe in the late 1990’s, but Fiat dealers, clamoring for another product, will get the Multipla’s spiritual successor, the 500L.

Although it bears the 500 moniker, the 500L is closer in size to a Mini Countryman. Built in Fiat’s factory in Serbian (making the 500L the first Balkan car to hit the U.S. since the Yugo), engine choices for Europe include both the 1.4L 4-cylinder from the 500 and the 900cc TwinAir turbocharged 2-cylinder engine. A 1.3L Multijet diesel will also be offered. These engine choices will likely not make the cut for North America – the anemic 1.4L naturally aspirated engine will be painfully slow, and both the diesel and the TwinAir, fabulous as they are, are too bizarre for our tastes. The Abarth’s 1.4L turbocharged motor is the most probably candidate.




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  • Redseca2 Redseca2 on Mar 08, 2012

    Reading all these comments, without actually owning any of these cars, I realize that I come to this web site not for the "Truth About Cars" but for the blather about cars. I might have missed it, but did any Fiat 500 owner post? The rest is just pre-teen boys talking about sex.

  • Ciddyguy Ciddyguy on Mar 08, 2012

    One thing I notice from many drivers is that despite having 130, 160, 180, or even 200+hp on tap, most drivers don't even utilize any of it. They simply are tepid with the throttle and thus don't understand that if you NEED to pass quickly, to put your foot into it, let the rpm go above 4Krpm long enough to get past whatever you are passing and then slow back down. I've driven an early 80's Civic with 67hp on tap and never had any issues with it on the interstate and easily drove it at 70-80mph and it went up mountainous passes without issue. I didn't find the little Fiat 500 underpowered, just had to keep your foot into it longer but it got up to speed and by dropping down a gear or two for passing, you CAN drive it just fine on the interstate. My guess is this being a B segment car, it won't be too much heavier I don't think, the little fiat now weighs in around 2,333# or so and thus this car may weigh in as much as 2500-2700# in FWD mode in any case so my feeling is if they go with the normally aspirated 1.4L motor, they'll up the hp enough to produce something closer to 120hp to compensate, for the US anyway and perhaps a more spirited variant utilizing a turbo. The 900cc motor as it is in more aggressive turbo form puts out 107, if I recall hp.

  • Matzel I am hoping that Vee-Dub will improve the UX and offer additional color options for the 2024 Mk8.5 refresh for Canada. Until then, I'll be quite happy with my '21 GTI performance pack. It still puts a smile on my face going through the twisty bits.
  • Stanley Steamer There have been other concepts with BYOT, that I have always thought was a great idea. Replacing bespoke parts is expensive. If I can plug in a standard 17" monitor to serve as my instrument panel, as well as speakers, radio, generic motors, batteries, I'm for it. Cheaper repair, replacement, or upgrade costs. Heck I'd even like to put in my own comfy seats. My house didn't come with a built in LaZboy. The irony is that omitting these bespoke items at the point of sale allows me to create a more bespoke car as a whole. It's hard to imagine what an empty rolling monocoque chassis would look like capable of having powertrains and accessories easily bolted on in my garage, but something like the Bollinger suv comes to mind.
  • Iam65689044 Sometimes I'm glad the French don't sell in America. This is one of those times.
  • SCE to AUX I was going to scoff, but the idea has some merit.The hard part would be keeping the weight and cost down. Even on the EPA cycle, this thing could probably get over 210 miles with that battery.But the cost - it's too tempting to bulk up the product for profits. What might start as a $22k car quickly becomes $30k.Resource-deprived people can't buy it then, anyway, and where will Kyle get the electricity to charge it in 2029 Los Angeles?
  • SPPPP How does one under-report emissions by 115 percent? If you under-report by 100 percent, that means you said your company's products and operations cause no emissions at all, right? Were these companies claiming that their operations and products clean the air, leaving it better than when they got there?On the other hand, if someone was trying to say that the true emissions number is 115 percent higher than was reported, then the actual under-reporting value would be 53.5 percent. True emissions would be set at a nominal value of 100. The reported emissions would be 46.5. Take 115 percent of 46.5 and you get 53.5. Add 46.5 and 53.5 together and you get back to 100.A skim of the linked article indicates that the second reading is correct - meaning the EU is *actually claiming* that the worst offender (Hyundai and Kia) under-reported by 53.5 percent, and VW under-reported by 36.7 percent ((1 - (100/158))*100).I find it also funny that the EU group is basically complaining that the estimated lifetimes of Toyota vehicles are too short at 100,000km. Sure, the vehicles may be handed down from original purchasers and serve for a longer time than that. But won't that hand-me-down resale also displace an even older vehicle, which probably gets worse emissions? The concept doesn't sound that unreasonable.
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