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The 2014 Fiat 500L adds additional utility to the regular model's deft blend of fun and charm.
Spacious seating; more cargo capacity; more flair than the typical small hatchback.
Sunroof still cramps headroom.
The 2014 Fiat 500L is an all-new model.
Two years ago, Fiat started its return to American shores with its 500 mini hatchback. Now the Italian brand is expanding its presence with its first "Cinquecento" variant, the 2014 Fiat 500L.
The 500L boosts the regular model's utility with two more doors and increased cargo space. Almost 27 inches longer and 6 inches taller and wider than the original, the 500L more than doubles the room behind the rear seats with 23 cubic feet of luggage space and 45 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. Overall, though, it's still a pretty small car, about the same size as the similarly conceived Mini Countryman.
In terms of design, the 500L isn't quite as stylish as the regular 500, but it is more functional. There's a new set of gauges as well as a new infotainment system. A 5-inch touchscreen comes standard, along with Bluetooth phone and audio streaming and a text message reader. A dual-panel sunroof, leather upholstery, a 6.5-inch touchscreen with a navigation system, a rearview camera and a six-speaker Beats by Dr. Dre sound system are also available, in addition to a color buffet of exterior and interior trim combinations.
For power, the L will get a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine generating 160 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed traditional manual transmission or an available six-speed automated manual routes power to the front wheels.
The 500L will offer four trim levels: Pop, Easy, Trekking and Lounge. The six-speed automatic comes standard on the Lounge, while the Trekking model features 17-inch wheels and revised front and rear fascias that lend the 500L a quasi-adventure look.
Expect the 2014 Fiat 500L to start around $18,000, enough of a gap to make it an alternative to the Mini Countryman (although, unlike the Countryman, the 500L won't offer all-wheel drive).
Check back for a full review of the 500L, including specs, driving impressions and buying advice, as it becomes available.
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