One size fits some

Here’s the ideal car for the fam­ily. A very small fam­ily ...

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News -

ex­tends the 500 fam­ily from the hatch, Abarth and cabrio mod­els. The com­pany says its cre­ation was in­spired by the 600 Mul­ti­pla from the 1960s, and not the cute lit­tle 500-based wagon-de­liv­ery van called the Giar­diniera.

‘‘ The Mul­ti­pla was a five­door car with six seats. The new Fiat 500L is along those lines,’’ says lo­cal Fiat spokesman Ed­ward Rowe.

The 500L re­places the Fiat Idea and moves into a crowded class of baby fam­ily wag­ons that in­cludes the Citroen C3 Pi­casso, Ford B-max and Opel Meriva. SUVS are far more pop­u­lar in Australia but Fiat be­lieves the 500L will con­nect.

‘‘ We’ll wait and see what the prices and spec­i­fi­ca­tions will be. It won’t be re­leased for sale in main­land Europe un­til the fourth quar­ter of the year,’’ Rowe says.

‘‘ That in­di­cates it won’t be in right-hand drive un­til (mid2013). We won’t have final de­tails for quite some time.’’

But he knows Aus­tralians will not even con­sider the 500L with­out an au­to­matic, per­haps not un­til there are ri­vals— among them the Citroen C3 Pi­casso, which also would be han­dled by Fiat im­porter Ateco.

‘‘ We’ll need a self-shift­ing gear­box, suit­able en­gine and suit­able pric­ing. That mar­ket seg­ment doesn’t re­ally ex­ist in Australia. But by then the Citroen C3 Pi­casso could be avail­able with an au­to­matic gear­box,’’ Rowe says.

The 500L is 4.1 me­tres long and 1.66 me­tres high, and will be avail­able in Europe with 1.4-litre petrol and 1.3-litre turbo diesel en­gines.

What’s old is­newa­gain: The next model 500 re­calls mi­cro Fi­ats of the 1950s (be­low and top of page)

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