2014 Fiat 500L

2014 Fiat 500L

Episode 3350
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

There is saying here that “everything is bigger in Texas”. Well to the rest of the world, everything seems bigger in America. And for the Fiat 500 to really be a success here in the states, it was a given that the line-up would have to expand, with additional models and additional size. Well, both are now realized in the boxy Fiat 500L. So, let’s find out if that other saying “bigger is better” is also true.

The 2014 Fiat 500L is a multi-purpose vehicle clearly designed with the youngest of families in mind: parents that desire a unique and stylish ride yet still need room for all of the equipment that seems to accompany just about any family outing. 

As for what MPV-like space does for the quirky style of the 500, well it looks as if it has entered its awkward teenage years where all of the parts don’t quite seem to fit. 

To be fair, neither of its main urban utility rivals, the Kia Soul or Mini Countryman, are great beauties either. But, the 500L really calls for a double take with details like split A-pillars and bug-eye headlights. 

The 500L architecture is unique, not at all a stretched version of the 500 hatchback. It’s over 2-feet longer, with 12.2-inches of additional wheelbase. The chassis will also support Jeep’s forthcoming Renegade CUV.

Our 500L also sported a funky 2-tone, almost Taxi-like, Trekking theme. Though it’s far from the extreme compared to some of the color options that are available.

On the really weird front, Europeans can opt for an onboard espresso maker for their 500L. We won’t be getting that option, or the 3-row version. Imagine that, European cars have gone from not even having cup holders to having in car coffee brewing.

Regardless, while it is a much bigger 500, it’s still relatively small compared to most on the road. That allows for a surprisingly refined and quite European driving experience. A relaxed cruiser on the highway that can also handle switchbacks nicely.

Only one engine is available, and how you feel about it largely depends on which transmission is attached to it. It’s the turbo version of Fiat’s 1.4-liter MultiAir I4, here producing 160-horsepower and 184 lb-ft. of torque. 

If you choose to go the automatic route, you’ll get a 6-speed twin clutch transmission that’s clunky, herky/jerky nature had most of our staff wishing for a true automatic. If you don’t mind doing the shifting yourself, the standard 6-speed manual makes for a much better experience, and helps the engine at least feel more powerful.

With the twin clutch tranny at the track, it’s hard to tell whether you’re waiting for the turbo to kick in or just waiting for the engine to hit its power band. But it’s not until you get the RPMs up that power comes on pretty strongly. It took a full 9.0-seconds to hit 60; and 17.0 to run out the quarter mile at 85 miles-per-hour. 

And as for our handling course, we confirmed our on-road impressions. While the 500L is definitely tuned for comfort, it proved to be quite a lot of fun when dodging cones. Steering, though lacking in feel, is very direct; body roll is minimal, for what looks like a top heavy vehicle; and the chassis has a nimble feel with very little computer intervention. 

Brakes were not quite as impressive, as we did see some fade and only an average stopping distance of 128-feet from 60. But, it remained very stable. 

Even if you’re a starting center for your basketball team, you’ll find plenty of head and leg room inside, though the seats are flat and a bit short for long distance comfort. Visibility is great all around, and that includes a rear seat child minding mirror. There is clearly a minivan feel to the interior that includes room for 68.0 cubic-ft. of cargo.   

Most of our testers liked the “aero” vibe to the cockpit. The layout is far more “normal” than the 500 hatchback. And that extends to spread out, easier to read gauges.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 24-City, 33-Highway, and 27-Combined. We averaged a very good 28.8 miles-per-gallon, but of Premium. The Energy Impact Score is better than average at 12.2-barrels of yearly oil use with CO2 emissions of 5.4-tons. 

There are four 500L trim levels, covering a pretty decent range of prices, starting at $19,995 for Pop trim and going to $25,195 for Lounge, with our Trekking nestled in between at $22,195.

Being the first passenger vehicle available here in that is assembled in Serbia is just another thing that makes the 2014 Fiat 500L “different”. Like the slightly smaller Kia Soul, and Mini Countryman, the 500L packs a lot of space, comfort, and utility into a small, family friendly package. And that may be just what it takes for Fiat to really gain a foothold here, and hang on to it.

Specifications

  • Engine: 1.4-liter MultiAir I4
  • Horsepower: 160
  • Torque: 184 lb-ft.
  • 0-60 mph: 9.0 seconds
  • 1/4 mile: 17.0 seconds @ 85 mph
  • EPA: 24 mpg city/ 33 mpg highway
  • Energy Impact: 12.2 barrels of oil/yr
  • CO2 Emissions: 5.4 tons/yr
2024 PHEV Roundup 1

2024 PHEV Roundup

You Don’t Have To Go Full EV To Live The EV Lifestyle

Episode 4338
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

You’ve heard us say many times that PHEVs– plug-in hybrid electrics– rather than BEVs– pure battery electrics– are a sound choice for many folks thinking about owning an electric vehicle. Well, buyers do seem to have gotten the message, as while recent sales of all-electric BEVs are down, PHEVs are suddenly skyrocketing. So, we thought we’d give you a close look at the range of PHEVs that are available today.

An EV when you want it, a fuel-efficient hybrid when you don’t; that’s the reason that PHEVs are so appealing, and why we feel they’re the perfect starter vehicle for this time of transition from internal combustion to all-electric. So, buckle up for an alphabetical rundown of all the mainstream PHEVs that are currently available.

BMW has many plug-in options, starting around $46,000 with the 2.0-liter I4-based 330e sedan and its 22 miles of EV range. There’s also a 750e sedan with more than 30 miles of EV range, and an xDrive50e X5 utility with closer to 40 miles of EV range, plus a high-performance XM with 738 horsepower. For partner Mini, a small 1.5-liter I4-based setup is available in the Cooper SE Countryman ALL4 utility with 18 miles of EV range, going for around $42,000.

Ford has been in the plug-in game for some time, and currently gets a great 37 miles of EV range out of their 2.5-liter I4-based setup which is available in both the Escape for about $36,000, and in its upscale Lincoln Corsair counterpart which goes for around $55,000.

Hyundai offers a pair of plug-in SUVs, the Santa Fe priced at around $43,000 and the Tucson which goes for about $40,000; both use a 1.6-liter I4 turbo engine. It shares with their corporate cousins over at Kia. The Sorento, which starts around $51,000, and the Sportage, beginning at $40,000, along with Kia’s Niro at $35,000. All get more than 30 miles of EV Range.

For the high-rollers, Land Rover has a six-cylinder P550e plug-in option for both the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport with 51 miles of range, starting around $119,000.

Mazda is very new to the plug-in game, with their inline-six based setup just recently becoming available in the new CX-70 and CX-90 SUVs, both with 26 miles of electric-only range, starting at $41,000.

Mercedes-Benz has offered quite a few PHEVs over the years, though currently their lineup only consists of the $70,000 GLE450e SUV with a 2.0-liter I4 and 48 miles of EV range; and a $128,000 3.0-liter I6 S580e sedan with 46 miles of range. Though a high-performance 671 horsepower AMG C 63 S E Performance will be blasting onto the scene soon.

We’re very familiar with this second-gen Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, having had both generations as part of our long-term fleet. The current Outlander PHEV goes for $41,000 and gets 38 miles of EV range from its 2.4-liter I4-based setup.

Stellantis has a wide array of PHEVs available across their many brands, starting with the 3.6-liter V6 Pentastar-packing Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. It arrived way back in 2017 and currently delivers 32 miles of EV range for $40,000.

More recently, they’ve added the technology to the Jeep brand with 4Xe versions of the Jeep Wrangler for $52,000 and the Grand Cherokee at $61,000. And their most recent setup has just arrived in the compact crossover segment with 33 miles of battery in both the $45,000 Alfa Romeo Tonale and the $42,000 Dodge Hornet R/T.

All of this started with the Toyota Prius of course, which you can now get a Prime version of for $34,000 with a 2.0-liter I4 and 40 miles of range. The RAV4 Prime goes for $45,000 getting 42 miles. Plus, there’s a trio of Lexus PHEV’s rolling with bigger batteries on board, the NX450h+, the RX450h+, and the TX550h+, starting around $58,000.

Volkswagen PHEVs stick to their premium brands, starting with the $58,000 2.0-liter I4-based Audi Q5 55TFSI e quattro SUV with 22 miles of battery range.

Bentley adds electric-motor assistance to a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 for both the $206,000 Bentayga SUV, which gets 18 miles of EV range, and the $217,000 Flying Spur sedan, which stretches it to 21 miles. That same setup is available at Porsche in E-hybrid versions of both the $93,000 Cayenne SUV and $110,000 Panamera sedan, getting up to 19 miles on battery power.

Finally, Volvo has had a plug-in version of their turbocharged 2.0-liter I4 since the T8 arrived with the XC90 back in 2016. Now with a Recharge label, an updated version is available in just about every vehicle in their lineup; the S60 and S90 sedans, XC60 and XC90 SUVS, and yes even in the V60 wagon, starting around $53,000 with up to 40 EV miles.

So, there you have it, the Bs-to-Vs of PHEVs. They really are an easy way to live the EV lifestyle today, without going all the way.