Chicago Auto Show: 2014 Fiat 500L

Alex L. Dykes
by Alex L. Dykes
chicago auto show 2014 fiat 500l

What happens when foreigners have been in America for a few years? They start getting fat like Americans. And so it is with the 2014 Fat 500L which has gained mass, two doors and a plumper overall visage. We found a red model strutting its chunky stuff at the back of the Chicago Auto Show For some reason we weren’t allowed inside, but we were able to caress it through the open windows.

Fiat kept referring to the 500L as some sort of MINI Clubman competitor, but I tend to think only shoppers of the Countryman CUV will be looking at the larger Fiat. On the outside the 500L looks slightly overinflated with suspicious looking bulges everywhere. The inside is a different story however with interior bits that put MINI to shame. Not that they are overly luxurious but MINI’s parts bin is a hard plastic wonderland.

Fiat says the 500L will be front wheel drive only for the moment, although the rumor mill indicates the platform has been designed with AWD in mind. The same 1.4L turbo engine from the 500 Abarth is found under the hood giving the baby crossover 160HP and 184lb-ft of twist. Also on board is a 6-speed manual or Fiat’s dual dry clutch transmission. Infotainment options are also taking a step in the right direction bringing Chrysler’s slick uConnect system to an optional 6.5-inch touch scree in the dash. I spent some time playing with the display system and it looks to be better in my opinion than MINI’s rendition of iDrive and light-years ahead of what’s in the current 500. So far, nobody is talking pricing.

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  • Sportyaccordy Sportyaccordy on Feb 08, 2013

    Fiat would be smart to bring over the normal Panda. Brilliant chassis, practical packaging, cheap, cheap, cheap running costs. The gas model gets about the same mileage as my motorcycle and can do 100 MPH w/o a sweat. Fiat's attempt to market itself as a high fashion boutique brand is a mistake.

  • Joe Joe on Feb 11, 2013

    I saw one of these (in red) on the road. Well, parked next to a pizza place in Cleveland's Little Italy neighborhood. Fiat must be making pre-production 500Ls available as pizza delivery vehicles, which is a pretty cool marketing idea. For some reason, it looks better in pictures than in person. But my girlfriend loved it and wants it to replace her Escape. While I'm always happy to engage in public service and remove a woman-piloted SUV from the road, I'm wondering if this is the closest I'll get to an Abarth.

  • Abrar Very easy and understanding explanation about brake paint
  • MaintenanceCosts We need cheaper batteries. This is a difficult proposition at $50k base/$60k as tested but would be pretty compelling at $40k base/$50k as tested.
  • Scott ?Wonder what Toyota will be using when they enter the market?
  • Fred The bigger issue is what happens to the other systems as demand dwindles? Will thet convert or will they just just shut down?
  • Roger hopkins Why do they all have to be 4 door??? Why not a "cab & a half" and a bit longer box. This is just another station wagon of the 21st century. Maybe they should put fake woodgrain on the side lol...