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2013 Fiat 500L Debut

Fiat's answer to Mini's Countryman


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What's New

The 2013 Fiat 500L is all-new and is set to be launched in Europe at the tail end of 2012. As for those of us Stateside, we won't see the 500L until the beginning of 2013. The 500L sits on the regular 500 platform but it has been stretched out two feet, widened six inches, and given two extra doors. Under the hood, the 500L will be propelled by the same 1.4-liter MultiAir inline-4 that powers the 500 hatchback and cabrio. The MultiAir engine is rated at 101 horsepower and a dollop of torque, 98 pound-feet to be exact. We expect to see the same choice of a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions like the ones offered in the regular 500 configuration.

Who's It For

Fiat has stretched out the 500L in order to gain a wider consumer base her e in the U.S. The Italian automaker has decided to introduce the larger 500L (the L stands for "large") into the U.S. market in an attempt to pick up the slack left by sagging 500 hatchback sales figures. Sized similarly to the Mini Countryman, the 500L could make a compelling Italian alternative for those who want a stylish five-passenger wagon and good fuel economy.

Key Features

Fiat hasn't seen the same amount of success it had forecasted for the U.S. market since the 500 hatchback was reintroduced stateside last year. By expanding the overall size of the vehicle Fiat hopes it can appeal to a bigger American audience while still delivering respectable fuel economy numbers. Here are some key features we can expect on the Americanized 500L:
  • The 1.4-liter MultiAir engine. We've already seen what it can do in the 500 hatchback variant so decent fuel economy figures should be expected.
  • More space. The 2013 Fiat 500L has grown two feet longer and gotten six inches wider in an effort to fit the average American while still being able to sip fuel.
  • Good outward visibility. The 500L's top is almost all glass with the occasional support pillar sticking out.
  • Expanding studio availability. Fiat dealerships or "studios" as they're known as are popping up all over the U.S. making routine maintenance easy
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What We Think

Overall we at Automotive.com think the 2013 Fiat 500L has a potentially exciting, but clouded future. The idea of a bigger yet still small and fuel efficient hatchback always has a place in the American public's hearts. However it remains to be seen if the general public will be receptive to a brand that has been lagging in sales numbers as it is. After its debut in Geneva it appears to have been received warmly, but there is still some mystique surrounding it. We think if it can legitimately stand up to the Mini Countryman there will be a battle for Euro-chic compact hatchback supremacy.

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