One size fits some
Here’s the ideal car for the family. A very small family ...
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)