1.6 MultiJet Trekking
single letter can make a huge
difference. According to pop
psychology, you can turn failure
into success simply by dropping
to make I
Similarly, add an L
you jump from a chic city car to a
groovy maxed-out mini-MPV...
AT 4.3m LONG, 1.8m wide, and standing a manly 1.7m tall, the 500L is far
more than the 'L'-for-longer Fiat 500 hatch you might be imagining. Neither
is the Trekking version an ordinary 500L. In fact, if you have a need for some
cool space and you fancy injecting some adventure into your life, the Trekking
version with its Traction+ feature could be your ideal macchina…
Looks-wise, while it's clearly related to its three-door 500 sibling, the five-door
500L is a stand-out eye-catcher. And the more rugged-looking Trekking version
ramps it up to another level thanks to a higher ground clearance, side mouldings,
protective silver underbody shields, and black wheelarch extenders defining
arches packed out with diamond-finished 17-inch alloy wheels. The colpo di
scena is the dramatic Hip Hop Yellow bodywork crowned with a pure white
roof. Mamma mia!
best term to describe what awaits you in the cabin is 'open plan'
a feeling both created and boosted by a huge sunroof that floods the cabin with
natural light, calling attention to its lively two-tone treatment and smart,
come with 145mm of
equipped with Fiats
Traction+ system along
tyres for added grip
ensuring the Trekking moniker is not just
a catchy name...
A large touchscreen makes light work of managing the audio, media and phone,
while the knurled AirCon controls are large and easy to use on the move. Phone,
audio and voice remote controls are also mounted on the snazzy tan-and-black
leather-wrapped steering wheel. Also a cinch to use is the new paddle-style
handbrake which calls for far less effort than a traditional pull-up lever
and it wasn't just the ladies who liked it!
There's generous headroom throughout, even though you're sitting high off the
floor which is great for visibility as well as lower leg comfort.
For the driver it guarantees a commanding position, enhanced by plenty of wheel
and seat adjustment; the front seats themselves are well-bolstered and supportive,
particularly around your shoulders. Foot room is also good both sides of the
centre tunnel; if you're doing the driving there's a rest set at a comfy angle
for your left foot when in cruise mode.
Access to the rear cabin is through big doors that open wide so no problems,
and they're also car park-friendly: you don't have to open them fully to get
in and out. Once aboard you sit six inches higher than those in front.
There's masses of foot room (for three pairs; and, yes, the middle seat position
is fine for adults to journey in), the rear backrests adjust through three recline
settings and the average adult will enjoy a good eight inches of space between
their knees and the front seatback. Both the two-seat and single section rear
seats slide independently of each other; forward and back, through five inches.
An extra and unlooked-for feature is the foldable front seat, which can be 'closed
down' to form a table or to allow a particularly long and bulky item to be transported.
Inner storage is well thought-out, with two gloveboxes separated by a non-slip
open shelf; the upper glovebox is chilled, and having one 'normal' and one cooled
is a very civilised approach. In addition to that you'll find bottle-holding
door bins, plenty of handy storage pockets and cupholders, along with a drop-down
The Trekking's standard equipment tally is high included are all
the essentials such as AirCon, power windows (all one-shot auto) and door mirrors,
automatic lights and wipes, 5-inch touchscreen (radio, media, phone, etc), Dualdrive
electric power steering, Bluetooth, cruise control and speed limiter, rear parking
sensors, tinted windows with privacy glass from the B-pillar back, auto-dimming
rearview mirror, leather steering wheel with audio controls, side mouldings
and body kit, height adjustable boot load platform, front fog lights, and 17-inch
also get the Traction+ system, M+S (Mud+Snow) all-season tyres, Electronic Stability
Control, Hill Holder, City Brake Control, six airbags, space-saver spare wheel,
heated rear window, and Start&Stop (we especially like the fact that if you
turn it off it stays off, even after a restart, and only comes back on when
you want it to).
Originally Fiat expected
the 500L to appeal to
500 hatch owners who
were, most usually for
their city cars
but as it turns out,
to date three-quarters of
500L models have
been snapped up by
Must-have extras fitted to our test car that are most
likely to get their boxes ticked on the options list included the cool pastel
paint (Hip Hop Yellow) with the white roof and white mirror casings (£850), automatic
dual-zone climate control (£300) and HiFi by Beats (£600).
boot is easy and once open there's room for a fair showing of family kit or lifestyle
equipment: a capacity of 343 litres with the rear seats slid as far rearwards
as they go; 400 with them as far forward as they'll slide; and 1,310 with the
back seats folded to form a usefully long loadbay. The back seats also fold and
tumble for an alternative format cargo hold.
A height-adjustable boot
floor (three levels) enhances the versatility while a knee-height sill and pop-out
bag-hooks make post-supermarket unloading less taxing. And if you need to use
the boot at night, the wing-mounted rear light units can be seen by traffic while
the tailgate's open. Additionally the Trekking has a braked towing capacity of
1,000kg, making it perfetto for those family camping trips.
Fiat expected the 500L to appeal to 500 hatch owners who were, most usually for
family reasons, outgrowing their city cars but as it turns out, to date three-quarters
of all 500L models have been snapped up by conquest customers.
Trekking versions come with 145mm of ground clearance and are equipped with
Fiat's Traction+ system along with all-terrain, all-seasons mud-and-snow tyres
for added grip ensuring the Trekking moniker is not just a catchy
For town traffic the Trekking
also has Fiat's City Brake Control function basically, forget to
brake at low city speeds and the system does it for you. Something not even a
back-seat driver can manage. And without all the nagging…
Adding to the
appeal for many customers is a wide range of extra cost options for personalisation
in fact, you can even tick the box for an on-board Lavazza coffee
machine (yours for just £200).
500L buyers are more interested in what it does, how it goes is not completely
unimportant this range-topper Trekking comes with Fiat's 1.6-litre
MultiJet ll turbodiesel unit under its bonnet. A four-cylinder in-line turboed
and intercooled diesel unit, it kicks out 236lb ft at 1,750rpm. That's sufficient
to push it off the line to 62mph in 12 seconds dead. Top speed is an autobahn-friendly
he cabin it's quiet on the move and there's sufficient power to endow the Trekking
with an easy top-gear gait in the mid-eighties so 70mph motorway cruising is very
smooth and stress-free. By the way, making best use of the manual gearbox's six
gears is no hassle; the change is easy and accurate.
quiet on the move and theres sufficient power to endow the Trekking with
an easy top-gear gait in the mid-eighties, so 70mph motorway cruising is very
smooth and stress-free. By the way, making best use of the manual gearboxs
six gears is no hassle; the change is easy and accurate...
CO2 emissions of 122g/km are tax-friendly: road tax costs nothing for the first
year; thereafter it's still a reasonable £105 a year until you're done with
the car. Officially the Trekking could return 60.1 in the combined cycle. On
test with MotorBar it averaged 48.9mpg. Lighter-footed drivers should be able
to cross 50 on their way to 55mpg and beyond.
Handling-wise the Trekking satisfies with a flat, level and generally
comfortable ride, decent grip (notably through the twisties and when cornering),
tracks straight and true on the motorway plus body lean is well controlled and
the general steering setting is fine (in town and for parking its selectable lighter
weighting is welcome); all of which let you press on reassuringly when needs must,
solo or with seats two through five also filled.
Traction+ provides some
extra surefootedness to the Trekking version, enabling it to take on rain, mud,
snow and ice and win. It's activated in a jiffy by pressing the
switch just behind the gearlever. Traction+ works by braking back the front driving
wheel with the least grip and sends more drive to the stronger gripping one. Simple
and effective at speeds up to 30mph, it makes for more confident progress in all
tricky weather conditions.
In Trekking spec the 500L offers more character than its rivals; it's also an
easy drive with Dualdrive electric power steering to make light work of city
driving. Out of town, along country tracks and off road, it's also an easy rider.
Factor in low running costs, stand-out looks and its ability to satisfy a family's
transport needs and it deserves a high spot on anyone's short list. Thumbs up
all round for the Trekking! MotorBar
Fiat 500L Trekking 1.6 MultiJet
Maximum speed: 109mph | 0-62mph: 12 seconds |
Test Average: 48.6mpg
Power: 103bhp | Torque: 236lb ft | CO2: 122g/km