“The Compact MPV that’s ready for when the going gets slippy”[/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column]
Introducing the latest ‘Trekking’ version of Fiat’s 500L compact MPV, which aims to provide the extra grip and security offered by four-wheel-drive, without the drawbacks of increased cost and emissions.
Visual differences differentiating it from regular 500L models include a ‘beefed-up look’, comprising a raised ride height, chunky plastic bumpers, along with rear privacy glass and bespoke 17” alloys.
It’s safe, too. This model builds on the 500L’s already impressive safety credentials, adding for the first time as standard equipment, a low speed collision avoidance system (City Brake Control).
Four engine options complete the engine line-up: 1.4-litre Fire petrol and the 875cc TwinAir Turbo, plus a 1.3 (with manual and automatic transmissions) and 1.6-litre MultiJet 2 turbo diesel.
Trekking spec models are priced above the 500L’s already high Lounge trim, so equipment levels are generous and include a 5 inch touch-screen based multimedia system, cruise control, climate control and a panoramic ‘Skydome’ glass roof.
The interior is a spacious and airy place to be and has an all-round modern and funky feel to it. Trekking trim gets mesh effect covered seats with faux-leather sections, which are more in-line with the ‘active’ lifestyle that this car has been designed to accommodate. Ergonomically it scores highly, too, with well laid-out controls and instruments… a nice touch being the aircraft-style parking brake lever. Overall there’s a quality feel, with only some bits of trim letting the side down.
Most drivers will be able to get comfy behind the wheel, as there’s ample steering and seat adjustment. However taller folk may find the raised left foot rest a nuisance. Unfortunately the seats themselves are also a bit short, so may also lack leg support for some.
Up front, head, shoulder and elbow room are all generous, although the glass roof does reduce rear headroom to only average levels.
The 400 litre boot has a flat load area and features ‘Cargo magic Space’, which allows different compartments to be sectioned off into wet and dry sections. An impressive 22 different cubbies in the 500L Trekking’s cabin are further proof that this car has been built for families – as is the clever ‘Fold&Tumble’ rear seat, which when collapsed along with the front seat allows the Fiat to carry loads up to 2.4 metres in length.
The combination of raised driving position and large glass area afford Trekking with excellent visibility. This coupled with light controls and steering make the Fiat feel very wieldy around towns and cities. Yet, once you venture out onto faster A-roads and onto motorways you’ll find enough poke from the sweet 104 bhp 1.6-litre diesel to inject enough pizzazz into proceedings and an agile chassis and composed body control make for an assured B-road machine, too.
Of course the standard 500L would do all of the above. What Trekking brings to the table (thanks to mud and snow tyres and its Traction+ advanced electronic traction control system) is the ability to keep going when the going gets a bit slippery: be it on mud, grass, gravel or snow. Don’t expect the all-out off-road ability of the Fiat Panda 4×4, however.
The 500L Trekking’s ride is firm but comfortable, although refinement doesn’t appear to be the car’s strongest attribute, as road and wind noise border on the intrusive at higher motorway speeds. However, at lower speeds this is much less of an issue.
Fiat has taken an already successful compact MPV formula and endowed it with the appealing ‘go-anywhere’ factor that is usually the preserve of more conventional 4×4 vehicles. It’s not just a marketing ploy either, as the combination of different tyres and electronic trickery do allow the Trekking to venture where no other two-wheel drive car dare venture.
More good news is that all the fun and funky style of the standard 500L remains, with no obvious drawbacks – apart from the higher price tag.
However, whether the 500L Trekking will lure buyers away from more established and equally appealing rivals in the form of Mini Countryman, Nissan Juke and Skoda Yeti, remains to be seen
Read about the latest New Fiat 500L Beats Model in Collaboration with Dr.Dre
Fiat 500L 1.6 Multijet Trekking
Top speed 109mph
Fuel economy 60.1mpg
Engine 4 cyls, 1598cc, turbodiesel
Gearbox 6spd manual
Power 104bhp at 3700rpm
Torque 320 Nm at 1750rpm
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