by Jez Spinks

The first official pictures of the new Fiat 500L have been released, confirming the Italian car maker’s move to copy the Mini Countryman.

The L in 500L stands for large and signifies how the model will feature notably bigger dimensions than the retro-inspired 500 that is a modern-day take on the 1950s model dubbed ‘Bambino’.

The 500L, which will debut publicly at the 2012 Geneva motor show in March, sits on a different platform shared with the Fiat Panda. At 414cm long, 178cm wide and 166cm high, the 500L is 60cm longer, 11cm wider and 15cm taller than the regular 500.

Local Fiat importer Ateco Automotive says a decision has yet to be made on whether it will introduce the 500L to Australia, though the company has told CarAdvice it’s unlikely to come at this stage. The company has already limited the local Fiat passenger-car range to just the 500 and 500C convertible, ignoring the likes of the Panda, Punto and Bravo hatchbacks.

The Fiat 500L styling borrows the retro look of the 500’s nose, such as the slot-style grille and larger lower air intake and bulbous headlights.

Five doors and a longer, flatter roof, though, help create the conversion from cute city car runabout to more serious MPV (multi-purpose vehicle). The ‘floating’ roof effect created by the blacked-out pillars takes a leaf out of the design book of the rival Mini Countryman.

Seating will be for five mainly, but a seven-seat option is anticipated.

The Fiat 500L will be offered mainly as a front-wheel-drive vehicle, though with a four-wheel-drive option.

The Fiat 500L will go on sale in Europe in late 2012 with three engines initially – a 0.9-litre two-cylinder ‘TwinAir’ petrol and 1.4-litre petrol, plus a 1.3-litre ‘Multijet’ turbo diesel.

The future distribution of Fiat passenger cars in Australia is currently the subject of speculation after Fiat-Chrysler boss Sergio Marchionne strongly hinted at January’s Detroit motor show that there might be changes within the next few months.

While Ateco currently looks after the Fiat brand locally, Chrysler Group Australia is responsible for the Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep brands.

  • Danimal


  • Al

    If they just called it ‘600’ or ‘multipla’ – it would have been better, I like the styling – but calling it a 500 doesn’t make sense.

  • Golfschwein

    There was me expecting a five door 500. Wrong! But I’m pleased to be wrong, because I really like this.

  • O123

    Bring it but don’t let Ateco touch it.  Maybe they will price it right then, 20k for this and about 22k for a base 500 makes sense. Rememer fiat isn’t a premium brand, And where is the Panda?!

    • Al

      Rumor has it that Fiat is dumping Ateco within a few months for Chrysler’s distribution, which could mean it comes to Australia at a reasonable price. Ateco pitching Fiat as premium was incredibly stupid – When my old man took delivery of his Ritmo in 2008 the sales lady remarked how it was a ‘prestigious European luxury car’ – and when i bought a used Punto late last year from a dealer, again they stated similar things. Hopefully Chrysler dealerships will be a bit more down to earth.

  • Daniel

    Looks like the bastard child of the Countryman and C3 Picasso

  • Ulpian

    Shouldn’t be called a 500 as it has nothing in common with the 500, but I’ll bet it’s a great car.  It’s a Multipla, and I reckon it should be called that, or 600, or PandaL  Anyway, it will get the 1.4 160 turbo in the US.

    • Blair Waldorf

      It’ll also need a torque converter auto for the US, hopefully not a single or dual clutch automated manual…

      • Ulpian

        Fiat is being careful about gearboxes for the American market, which is why the American 500 has a slush pump auto, which is unavailable elsewhere.

  • Jimbo

    No… Just No!

  • Luke Brinsmead

    I know what Fiat are trying to do, make more profit, but I think they’ve stretched it too far with this. 

  • Justjamie72

    Still can’t believe we haven’t got the Panda here yet!!

  • klowik

    Fiat 500 price is ridiculous in Australia, you can buy a bigger and better car with that sort of money. I wish when they switch dealer, the price would come down to a reasonable range.

  • Aus_poppa

    Fiat are doomed to remain a niche – very small niche – product unless they offer all their cars as autos. Australians don’t care what sort of auto – conventional, twin clutch or CVT – so long as it has a fully automatic D position on the selector. There is no future for FIAT unless there are priced down at no more than Toyota levels, because they are not premium products, not elsewhere in the world – especially not in Italy.

    All of this is a pity because the Fiat 500L – should be Multipla – could suit many here, but they will have to be inexpensive – not hard to do with the soaring Australian dollar – and mass marketed.

    • Ros

      The us version will get the ZF 9 speed tranny, which is why it is being delayed until beg-2013. I would think that Australia will get the same.

  • Ash

    Looks great can’t see what the fuss is about. Fiat have taken a great iconic design and just stretched it to appeal to the mass market. Looks like it has character hope it comes downunder.