2014 Fiat 500 L (1044)

Overview:

This week we’re looking at the 2014 Fiat 500 L that is a grown up version of the 500. I have to say I thought small cars would sell like VW Beetles did in the 50’s & 60’s when it was a departure in the world of large cars in America. Fuel cost wasn’t a consideration back then because the US was blessed with an abundance of oil and gas prices less than 50 cents a gallon. The VW Beetle or endearingly referred to as a Bug was homely, and to some even ugly, but there were enough who thought it “Cute” to make it a huge success. I thought the Smart car would also sell briskly but it did not. It is wildly popular in Europe but it didn’t take off in the US.

On the other hand Fiat is not hard on the eyes and it has grown in size that is more needed in the US market. The advantage of being quite roomy should help it to be received with open arms. Looking at it next to SUV’s / wagons dispels the image or perception of it being a “Small” car. It is a lot larger than I had imagined it would be.

In a world where big is always perceived as better, small cars still have a definite market in America. There are few pressures for people to buy smaller however, other than the high cost of gasoline now. We have large parking facilities and the size of spaces are generous generally. Big IS truly better, all things being equal, when you have a need to haul lots of people and stuff. But in a sense you can have your cake and eat it too because of improvements in fuel economy and service intervals of 100,000 miles.

Bottom line is that this Fiat will accommodate 5 adults and the cargo area is pretty good too. And it will do that and still get 33 mpg and only set you back $24,000.

General Information:

Parts from the US / Canada 0%; Italy 19%; Serbia 21%. It is assembled in Kragujevac, Serbia, Classification is Small Wagons. Cars from Fiat: 500, 500e 500 L.

Handling & Performance:

You will be impressed at how quick this Fiat is. A 1.4 liter turbocharged engine delivers 160 horsepower. No one has done it better than the Europeans who traditionally got 100 horsepower per liter or better. American car companies have rarely been able to or simply didn’t want to do that. Cheap gas prices allowed the luxury to afford big V8s with huge displacement, by comparison and moreover the consumer demanded it. We still had that cowboy spirit and would “do it ourselves” and Hop them up to be faster and prettier than OEM. Even today our gas prices are half that of most of the world and surely all of Europe so the size thing is still alive and well.

Styling:

A little boxy for my taste but that is the only way to get the most interior space out of a smaller body and footprint. It is however nice looking. Not beautiful but practical, and since beauty is in the eye of the beholder and only skin deep, as they say, you may find it more attractive than I do.

Fit and Finish:
Very good.

Cost:
Well priced with the closest competition and better than most.

Conveniences and comfort:

Features include most of the customary stuff we expect in this technologically advanced world we live in. No Wi-Fi but most would not find that customary. However although it is a remote keyless entry I’m spoiled and much prefer the push button start where I can leave the key in my pocket or purse (only when I wear a dress). For the life of me I cannot understand why it has hill start assist when it has an automatic transmission. What am I missing here?

Consumer Recommendation:

This field of competitors are all nice cars. I might suggest you consider seriously the VW Golf TDI for sure in this group and Hyundai is a must to include as well.

Recognized Competition:

Fiat 500 L $24,000, Chevrolet Equinox $24,000, Honda Fit $21,000, Hyundai Elantra $23,000, Hyundai Tucson $26,000, Kia Forte $21,000, Mazda CX-5 $25,000, MINI Paceman $26,000, Nissan cube $18,000, Nissan JUKE $22,000, Nissan Rogue $28,000, Subaru Outback $25,000, Volkswagen Golf $27,000.

Good News:
Well priced, roomy, fast and easy to maneuver.

Bad News:
Transmission is a little jerky and brakes grab until you learn to have a light foot.

Standard Equipment:

1.4 liter 160 horsepower inline 4-cylinder turbocharged engine, 6-speed automatic transmission, 4-wheel ABS power assist disc brakes, stability control, tire pressure monitor, power windows and locks, remote keyless entry with a key, cruise control, hill start assist, security alarm, variable intermittent wipers, rear window wiper washer and defroster, front, side and side curtain front airbags with driver knee airbag, LATCH system, 12 volt auxiliary power outlet, Uconnect, Bluetooth, AM/FM/ Sirius XM satellite radio, 6-speakers, leather wrapped steering wheel with audio and cruise controls, dual zone climate control, heated front seats, manual seat adjusters, front seat power lumbar adjusters, tilt and telescoping steering column, electronic information center, 16” aluminum wheels, daytime running lights, fog lights, deep tint sunscreen glass.

Gas Stats:
$3.73 / Gal avg. August 5, 2014

www.fueleconomy.gov
For more information.

24 City and 33 Highway MPG

Pricing:
MSRP $24,395.

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