2013 Fiat 500L Trekking review
- Rugged-looking version of the 500L driven
- Raised ride height and all-weather tyres
- On sale now, priced from £17,095
The Fiat 500L Trekking is designed to offer the looks — and some of the off-road ability — of a 4x4, but for less money.
Mechanically, it's near-identical to the standard 500L, but it gets an elevated ride height and chunkier styling. Fiat expects the Trekking to account for around 15% of 500L sales.
What's the 2013 Fiat 500L Trekking like to drive?
Like the regular 500L, the Trekking rides the UK's roads fairly comfortably. That said, its lower-profile, all-weather tyres make it feel slightly firmer than the standard car.
Road noise is also increased, but if you need to traverse poor surfaces on a regular basis, the Trekking is better equipped to cope, thanks to the tyres, increased ride height and a more sophisticated traction control system. Just don't expect to go too far off-road; this is still a front-wheel-drive car.
On the road, the Trekking's raised height doesn't translate into soft body control, but the steering is vague at higher speeds.
More impressively, a collision avoidance and mitigation system that operates at urban speeds is fitted as standard.
We drove the 103bhp 1.6-litre diesel model with a six-speed manual gearbox. The engine is flexible and strong enough to offer good performance in town and relaxed progress on the motorway, but it's very gruff when you put your foot down.
We also tried what Fiat expects to be its best-selling Trekking model; the 1.3-litre diesel. This engine doesn't offer much pull at low revs, but is quieter and more refined than the 1.6 while having better fuel economy and CO2 emissions, too.
The optional Dualogic automatic gearbox is best avoided, though; its jerky changes hinder any sort of smooth progress.
What's the 2013 Fiat 500L Trekking like inside?
A large, chunky steering wheel combines with a body-coloured dashboard and tough but appealing interior trim to give the cabin plenty of appeal, while the five-inch touch-screen that controls most functions is supremely simple to use.
It's disappointing that you have to pay an extra £100 for adjustable lumbar support, though, and the standard panoramic glass roof leaves taller adults short of rear headroom.
An adjustable boot floor lets you raise the loading height, so you're less likely to strain your back when lifting out heavy luggage.
Alternatively, it can be set at a higher level, which effectively divides the boot in two, and lets you get to items on the lower level without first removing those above.
Should I buy one?
The main reason for buying the Trekking over a regular 500L is because you like the tougher looks, but its more sophisticated traction control system and all-weather tyres ensure that light off-road excursions are easily coped with.
The fact that it has city braking technology as standard means insurance costs are cheaper compared with the equivalent 500L, too.
However, the Trekking commands a premium of around £800 over the regular 500L. That makes the better engines quite pricey.
What Car? says...
Specification 1.6 diesel
Engine size 1.6-litre diesel
Price from £19,590
Torque 236lb ft
0-60mph 12.0 seconds
Top speed 109mph
Fuel economy 60.1mpg
Specification 1.3 Dualogic
Engine size 1.3-litre diesel
Price from £19,490
Torque 147lb ft
0-60mph 15.1 seconds
Top speed 102mph
Fuel economy 70.6mpg
By Nigel Donnelly and Rory White
Used cars for sale
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