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

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler

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.

Derek Kreindler
Derek Kreindler

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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.

  • Michael Gallagher I agree to a certain extent but I go back to the car SUV transition. People began to buy SUVs because they were supposedly safer because of their larger size when pitted against a regular car. As more SUVs crowded the road that safety advantage began to dwindle as it became more likely to hit an equally sized SUV. Now there is no safety advantage at all.
  • Probert The new EV9 is even bigger - a true monument of a personal transportation device. Not my thing, but credit where credit is due - impressive. The interior is bigger than my house and much nicer with 2 rows of lounge seats and 3rd for the plebes. 0-60 in 4.5 seconds, around 300miles of range, and an e-mpg of 80 (90 for the 2wd). What a world.
  • Ajla "Like showroom" is a lame description but he seems negotiable on the price and at least from what the two pictures show I've dealt with worse. But, I'm not interested in something with the Devil's configuration.
  • Tassos Jong-iL I really like the C-Class, it reminds me of some trips to Russia to visit Dear Friend VladdyPoo.
  • ToolGuy New Hampshire