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Fiat 500 L 1.4 16V in the test

Hans-Dieter Seufert
Fiat 500 L 1.4 16V in the test
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F iat builds small car bestsellers, but when was the last time we had success in the compact class? Stilo? No. Tipo? Nope. Ritmo? Freedom to joke. 128? Maybe.

Now the new Fiat set up 500 L. Like the Ford B-Max or Kia Venga, it positions itself as a family-endowed compact car alternative. Its lush shape creates plenty of space for passengers. Pilots & Co. sit on comfortable seats that offer little support. The rear is furnished by an equally uncontoured bench that masters standard van tricks such as sliding lengthways as well as split folding.

Weak-chested 95 hp petrol engine

In any case, the Fiat 500 L is not lacking in everyday talents: The low loading sill makes loading easier, large doors easy entry. With forked A-pillars and large windows, it is easy to oversee, apart from the emergency braking system for 350 euros, the Fiat 500 L Easy is not missing anything important. Even infotainment with CD radio, Bluetooth and USB is standard. It is easy to use, like the entire L, which also impresses with its solid weight.

He struggles with it elsewhere. The 1.4-liter four-cylinder, which already drives the normal Fiat 500 unmotivated, pulls weakly, turns reluctantly and consumes too much. The driver has to eagerly shift through the tightly stepped, precisely locking six-speed gearbox so that the four-door at least gets up to an unhurried everyday temperament.

Driving dynamics is not the thing of the Fiat 500 L

Not that the chassis of the Fiat 500 L demanded more. Despite the tight coordination, it offers decent comfort. But the bit of agility that the servo-defying electric steering does not thwart with poor precision and moderate feedback culminates in early understeer. Everything is safe, but shows that it was about handiness, but not handling.

That doesn't change anything about the clever concept and the chances of success of the Fiat 500 L. It's not that compact, it's great.

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