Say S for Supermini: Fiat adds more style to the 500L model range
Fiat's 500L - the big brother to the iconic Fiat 500 - has had a revamp, with a new S-Design model adding glamour to the range.
Most people are familiar with the Fiat 500L by now. Take one regular 500, pump it full of growth hormones and what you're left with is the 500L - a compact MPV style car, or a compact super-mini with a higher roof if you prefer.
Whatever the moniker, it is in itself a more practical take on the hugely popular little city car for anyone with a family.
Fiat has continually refined the 500L, adding a range of new models and editions, including the rugged and more SUV-like 500L Cross and an estate version called the 500L Wagon.
Now, Fiat has decided to inject a dash of style into the range with the latest S-Design model.
Looks and image
Where the regular 500 is a car that is well-loved for its cute, retro-inspired image, taking that same aesthetic and blowing it up to a larger car is a different proposition.
Fiat rose to the challenge, and it works on a practical level, but is less elegant than the retro-inspired original model.
The 500L S-Design hopes to change that by adding interesting style tweaks and changes.
S-Design is a style makeover already seen on other Fiat models, including the Tipo and 124 Spider.
It is available on 500L Cross models upwards. Since the 500L is more of a small MPV, the Cross models are more SUV-like (which is more in keeping with market trends these past years).
With a raised stance, it offers SUV styling which is enhanced with front and rear bumpers with skid plates, side mouldings and wheel arch mouldings from the Cross trim.
So, based on the Cross trim level, the 500L S-Design stands out for its exclusive matt paint, dark accents and wheels, which, when combined with the latest technology, are aimed at offering a car more suited to modern families who want dynamic looks and to stay connected.
So what you get with the new edition includes exclusive matt Donatello Bronze paint paired with black roof and Myron finish accents, including side mouldings, door handles, front grille, rear light cluster bezel, and door mirror covers.
The sporty look is further enhanced by dark tinted rear windows and new exclusive 17-inch alloy wheels with Myron finish.
In addition to the exclusive bi-coloured matt Bronze paintwork with black roof, the new 500L S-Design is also available in metallic Donatello Bronze paired with a black roof and in pastel Darkwave Black.
Under the bonnet
There's good news on the mechanical front, too, with the 500L S-Design being paired exclusively with Fiat's 1.4-litre petrol engine with 6-speed manual transmission, producing 95hp.
The 1.4 95hp engine complies with the latest euro6D emissions standard, which means it is generally very efficient and reasonably non-polluting.
Tech and driver assists
As you'd expect with a latest model in a highly-competitive segment, the latest Fiat technology is included.
It offers Fiat's latest Uconnect 7-inch HD LIVE touchscreen, which is Apple CarPlay ready and Android Auto compatible as standard.
The next-generation Uconnect system features high-resolution 7-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth hands-free interface, audio streaming, text reader and voice recognition function, Aux and USB ports with iPod integration and controls on the steering wheel.
Apple CarPlay enables road directions optimised according to live traffic conditions and it can be used to safely take phone calls, send and receive messages and play music while remaining focused on the road.
Apple CarPlay also works with other apps on your iPhone, such as audio, messaging, and voice apps. CarPlay features Siri voice control and is specially designed for driving scenarios.
The system is compatible with Android Auto, as well, to continue the Android experience in the car, by "projecting" apps and services of the central display and is designed to make retrieving information while driving easy and safe.
The driver can use Google Maps to obtain route guidance and easily access music, multimedia contents and their favourite messaging apps.
Easy, immediate interaction with devices guarantees the convenience of maintaining the same operating system even in the car, for constantly connected and safe driving.
New range changes
Fiat has added some further model refinement to the range. Following the introduction of the S-Design special edition, the Fiat 500L range has been updated for 2019.
It sees the introduction of the City Cross trim level, standard equipment updates and range simplification.
To simplify the product offering, the Fiat 500L is now available exclusively with the same 1.4-litre 95hp petrol engine that's available in the S-Design.
The range is also aligned to that of the new Fiat 500X, which sees the ene range renamed as Urban, reflecting its design inspiration, as well as the introduction of the City Cross trim level.
The City Cross trim is the new entry point to the Cross look Fiat 500L. With a raised stance, it offers SUV styling which is enhanced with front and rear bumpers with skid plates, side mouldings and wheel arch mouldings from the Cross trim.
The City Cross also offers the latest in-car connectivity, adding Uconnect 7-inch HD LIVE touchscreen with Apple Carplay and Android Auto to its standard spec.
The new Fiat 500L S-Design lands in showrooms this month, priced from £18,610 on the road, while the Fiat 500L range now starts from £16,710 OTR for the Urban 1.4 95hp model.
Who would buy one?
Anyone with a family who admires the cute and retro Fiat 500 but who needs extra space and the latest tech should put the 500L on their consideration list.
And if you're more of an SUV person than an MPV, the 500L S-Design, with its more rugged Cross-based spec and added style might just be the car for you.