beats audio headphones review 2014 Fiat 500L drive review

beats by dre headphones colors 2014 Fiat 500L drive review

In true Italian style,

The 2014 Fiat 500L, which is on sale now, marks a big (pun intended) step for the brand that is hoping to steal sales from the utilitarian boxes in the $20K $30K range. The company said that 80 percent of its conquest sales now come from C segment or larger drivers. Apparently downsizing is the new black, especially in California, where

The bulky 500L is 27 inches longer than the basic Fiat 500, as well as 6 inches wider and 6 inches taller. Fiat says it has the best interior volume in its class, which, after experiencing the glassy greenhouse, is easy to believe. and European markets. The upper cabin is nearly all glass, including the bit in front of the A pillars, which gives better visibility, but still looks a little funky to our eyes. We will admit that all the glass plus the giant, panoramic power operated sunroof made the interior feel light and airy.

The steering wheel is styled to be circular on the outside, but contrasting materials give a square look on the inside. Radio controls similar to its

We aren’t completely sold on the interior materials, which seem a little more Spartan than we’d like. The seats are made of a nylon like material, while the lower portion of the dash uses a stone look finish. It looks and feels cool, but we could imagine greasy fingerprints streaking the surface over the lifetime of the vehicle. We do appreciate the second row of seats, which fold down for extra utility.

The 500L feels big inside. There is enough headroom for at least a point guard in the NBA, if not a small forward. Three average size humans can easily sit in the back row. During the event, my driving partner also commented that her son’s hockey bags would be no problem for the rear section, something she couldn’t say about the 500. The Beats by Dre system is also impressively loud.

We’re going to jump in now with price: Everything we’re saying needs to be considered with the knowledge the base Pop model starts at $19,990, including destination. The Easy trim is $20,895, Trekking is $22,995 and the top Lounge model comes in at $24,995. With all boxes checked, the 500L will sticker for about $27,000. For comparison, the , the 500L’s natural competitor, starts at $22,000 and tops out at about $35K. As a bonus, for the first year of sales, Fiat is adding the Premium Package upgrade, a $1,745 value, for free. That includes Chrysler’s excellent UConnect touchscreen, navigation, backup camera and backup sensors.

Curbside, the Fiat 500L does remind us of the Countryman, complete with a contrasting roof color, oblong headlights and fender flares at least on the Trekking model. It looks bulky, but not exactly muscular. The rounded edges and a floating center grille feel akin to a happy panda the animal, not the Fiat Panda though it looks a bit like that too.

The only engine offered in the 500L is the 1.4 liter turbocharged four that currently sits in the Dodge Dart, making 160 hp and 184 lb ft of torque. It provides good power in the 3,200 pound car but does suffer the same turbo lag. That means a rolling second gear start will take a bit longer than expected, though once cruising it feels like plenty of power.

We tested the Euro Twin Clutch version as well a $1,350 option and we feel that it was as good as its competitors, though we’ll have to wait to see if it jives with American tastes. A standard six speed automatic will be available later in the year. Before we forget, the auto stick function is in the proper, up is downshift format.

On the curvy back roads of rural Maryland, the 500L felt light on its feet, but a little squishy. The Countryman we drove hugged the road better, but also crashed over bumps harder. The 500L uses an electric power steering system, which takes some road feel out, but we didn’t get to push the car too hard anyway since the roads were still soaked from recent thunderstorms. If your drive consists solely of curvy, rolling roads, the Countryman would be more fun. But in mixed driving, the Fiat is far more agreeable.

The front MacPherson strut setup on the 500L is made by the pros at Koni, and it shows via a linear feel the majority of the time; the cylinders also include a blow off valve that lets off pressure quickly over deep potholes and speed bumps. That helps provide a sporty but still comfortable ride, according to Fiat.

We don’t expect the Fiat 500L to come in like a Baltimore tornado and take the MPV market by storm. It also won’t win any autocross events, though Fiat brass have hinted at an all wheel drive version. In its competitive set with the Countryman, Mazda 5 and Kia Soul, we like its chances. Buona fortuna!2014 Fiat 500L

Base Price: $19,990

On Sale: Now

Drivetrain: 1.4 liter turbocharged I4; FWD, six speed manual

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beats audio headphones review 2014 Fiat 500L drive review