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Our Fleet Test Drive: Fiat 500L - 1st Report

Date: 17 February 2014   |   Author: Guy Bird

Funny how times change.

In 2011, I remember taking delivery of a long-term Mini Countryman while agonising over its bigger size compared with its recent supermini reincarnation (and its original late-50s forebear). I ended up quite liking it, and it didn't seem half so big when handing it back as it had at the beginning. 

Forward-wind two years and I'm taking charge of a Fiat attempting the same trick but with even more expanded proportions - the 500L is 50mm longer and 104mm taller than the Countryman, let alone the new (or old) 500 - but I'm already less worried about the transformation.

The 2.0-tone Bossa Nova white bodywork with black roof suits the larger proportions [1] while the interior and dashboard [2] has a Tonka toy-style fun to its simple shapes, with a large and easy to handle gear knob and handbrake.

Seating high up and within a cabin flooded with light due to the standard and massive 1.5m2 fixed panoramic glass roof [3], all sorts of things become viewable and increase the connection to what's outside.

With the 500L pitched at the couple who once owned a three-door 500 but then had a family, it's important what the kids think of the car.

My 10-year old daughter immediately recognises the interior quality is a cut above the MG6 she sat in the week before and loves the panoramic roof, while her younger sister is fully sold, enthusing over the seat tables for rear passengers and describing the whole ensemble as "epic" (which means 'very good' when you're eight).  

The decent 105hp 1.6-litre Multijet diesel unit has enough power to propel the car with four up and some luggage while still offering a 117g/km CO2 rating and a combined 62.8mpg for no first-year VED and a 18% BIK tax rate for 2013/14.

Real-world economy is rightly coming under greater scrutiny of late so we'll be keeping a close eye on how this 500L fares in our company compared with those official figures.

As BusinessCar's first Fiat long-termer for as long as anyone on the staff can remember, we'll be looking forward to reporting on its performance over the next six months with even great interest than usual.

Going large indeed.

Fiat 500L
Mileage 4766
Claimed combined consumption 62.8mpg
Our average consumption 48.8mpg
Forecast CPM 45.6p
Actual CPM 46.4p
P11D price (without options) £18,835
Price range £14,995-£19,590
Depreciation cost £16,095
Fuel cost £6003
SMR cost £1731
VED £60
National Insurance £1508
Insurance £2880
C02 (tax) 117g/km (18%)
BIK?@?20/40% per month £57/£113

Verdict


  • Character, interior space and flexibility
  • A brand extension too far?

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