A larger 500L for a larger family

It may be called Fiat 500L Plus. Photo by: cochespias.net

It may be called Fiat 500L Plus. Photo by: cochespias.net

Fiat gets ready for the introduction of the large 500L, to be officially presented in the summer in Italy. It is the same 500L with two more seats and some more centimeters in the back. The result is a very weird minivan that, in my opinion, doesn’t honor its shorter brother. Since the beginning Fiat made clear that there was going to be a larger version for bigger families (USA), as the regular model will be available in that market this summer, and then the larger one won’t take to long to arrive as well. According to Fiat estimates, this version should be the best-selling one in USA and therefore would have a positive impact on production levels at the Serbian plant. But more room isn’t for free. The good and equilibrated design of the 500L was severely affected in this version, and, at least in my opinion, it doesn’t look good at all. Of course this opinion is based on what I’ve seen in the streets of Turin and some pictures released by Autoblog Español and Autoblog Italia. I am one of those who think that before judging a car it is necessary to see it in person. It may be to soon to conclude about the aesthetics of this new Fiat, but I’m quite sure that it will not change from what I’ve seen so far: a disproportioned minivan.

The new enlarged version will support the 500L sales in Europe and USA. It is expected to be 20-30 cms larger. In the photo, the regular 500L for US market

The new enlarged version will support the 500L sales in Europe and USA. It is expected to be 20-30 cms larger. In the photo, the regular 500L for US market

At this point, there is one thing I would recommend Fiat to do. Based on the characteristics of the large 500L, Fiat should work on positioning it as the very first SW/MPV available in the market. The car looks very long, close to a SW, but it is at the same time a MPV. Italians love SW, so why not to position the new large 500L as a roomy SW for 7 passengers? If anyone sees Italian car sales data, it will be possible to notice that SW versions of ‘C’ and ‘D’ segments are very very popular. I know, the 500L makes part of B-MPV segment and is not even close to C or D segments, but that’s my point. Except for the Dacia Logan MCV, there is no other B-Segment car to offer room for 7 people. This Fiat could become the first MPV in form of SW to satisfy this requirement. If you can’t say it is beautiful, well you can say at least that it is really functional and very close to consumer’s needs. Don’t you think?

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23 responses to “A larger 500L for a larger family

  1. I agree this model does not look great, especially compared to the much nicer shorter sister. But in my opinion it will target clients that buy it not for the design, but more for the possibility to have a rather cheap MPV with larger room for storage in the back. People shall buy it for its funtionality, and as a not expensive SW/MPV it may sell rather well.

    • Buying for sizes and functionality is fine — but wasn’t the 500 family supposed to be a series of premium models, as compared to the Panda? And premium pricing generally requires premium design, too.

      • Spot on – the utilitarian nature and styling of the 500L+ stands in stark contrast to the premium aspirations of the 500 series to which it belongs.

        I guess it will be interesting to see how the market will react to this model.

      • The 500 family has never has ‘premium’ aspirations. It is positioned as a stylish car with its own personality, which is different. The 500L is a godd example of how a simple MPV can become stylish and original. The 500L Plus is suposed to be the same but focus on more room. It is still a B-MPV but will be a cheaper alternative to C-MPVs such as the Ford C-Max or Renault Scenic.

  2. Well… Juan, have you ever see Chevrolet Spin? Check it here to see:

    Its ugly, but, GM got a good amount of sales with this car, probally people that don’t care about the exterior.

    Ciao!

  3. I’m expecting it curiously… i am one of those that love the 500 L but it’s a bit too short for me (i usually buy cars with lenght approx 4,50 m) .. i noted as you rightly said this bad proportion and let’s wait for the real car at the dealership… than i ll take my decision…. may be also a more powerful diesel would be a good idea… we ll see ciao Ant

  4. Juan Felipe. It would be better if realy you were less harsh with your comments it realy is a case of beauty being in the eye of the beholder!
    I for 1 thing it is ( for an MPV ) very stylish and certainly prettier than some of the Mini derivatives. Please Juan for Fiat’s sake go a little easy on the comments?

    • You mean I was to harsh with my opinion about the 500L plus? look, I love almost all vehicles of the group but this one I find it disproportionate. Anyway, as I always say, is better to wait to see it in person.

    • If Fiat Group is in trouble because of Juan Felipe’s frank comments (which I personally value) then either this blog has way bigger readership than I thought, or the group’s situation is far more fragile than anyone has realized!

      Juan Felipe is clearly a fan, but I appreciate the fact that he doesn’t wear blinders, and can also see where Fiat needs to improve.

      • Jaja, nice ‘thysi’. I’m a fan but not a fanatic of the group. I mean I love it but I’m not blind and I don’t deny there are several problems with ti. My critics are always looking to open the discussion on those points that I think should be improved.

        I just hope my ‘harsh’ comments about the 500L Plus don’t impact its sales! I’m afraid not! jajaj

  5. Guys,who thinks 500L is an incorrect name?
    I don’t get it,why they didn’t reuse the 600 brand! If tomorrow they want to enlarge the 500 family are they going to call them 500 M,N,P etc?!

  6. And..on the 500L you can’t have the roof rails!On the countryman sure you can and they give a sense of “sporty offroad” ::)

  7. the 600 was another icon fiat in the 50 s and 60 s .could be confused….being these succssfull markets results with 500 the fiat 500 L (large) has the correct marketing name i think

  8. Yes,specially because they didn’t think about the 500X while they were
    planning the L version so it was correct in that time..ipotetically the next 500 can be in many versions: 500 Z (Zagato) 2 seats/ 500+ like the clubman/500 L small suv/mpv/500L+ small 7 seats mpv/500X we don’t know much yet and other versions in the future..wasn’t correct creating a “hundred family X00” than a 500 alphabet?

  9. There is some confusion here.
    The Fiat 500L+ is not meant to the USA.
    The management was clear about only selling the regular version (the stylish one) on that market, in wich they want to position FIAT as a “Lifestyle”, design oriented brand.

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