Fiat 500L 1.6 Multijet 105 Pop Star
Week ending February 28
Driven this week 102 miles
Our 500L long-termer is nearing the final three months of its year-long stay with us, and one thing I haven’t experienced yet is the delight of fresh coffee on the move, courtesy of the Fiat.
Yes, the 500L offers the option of having your very own built-in Lavazza coffee maker, which, to me, as a confessed bean-to-cup junkie, makes perfect sense. It sits in the place the storage bin would normally occupy between the two front seats, so I could easily sacrifice this space for my daily caffeine hit.
The coffee maker costs £200, too; although this may sound a bit on the steep side, if you buy, say, a £2 latte every day, in around four months you would’ve broken even.
However, there is just one snag: apparently the coffee maker can only be fitted when you first spec the car, so isn’t officially available as a retro-fit option.
I’m currently trying to find a way around this, so here’s hoping I can get coffee in my car soon.
By Melanie Falconer
Week ending February 14
Driven this week 65 miles
I’ve been driving other 500Ls this week, while my one has been languishing in business parking at Heathrow.
I’ve sampled the new ‘Beats Edition’ 500L, which, as the name suggests, is a tie-up by Fiat with the popular audio brand Beats by Dr. Dre. I’m already familiar with Beats, as I have a pair of their headphones; the new seven-speaker 520W system, complete with sub-woofer, is pretty impressive. It’s plenty loud enough, but manages to produce a fairly balanced, yet admittedly bass-laden sound throughout the cabin. It’s certainly much better than the standard system in my car.
This new 500L Beats Edition is based on the Trekking version, and is also available with two new engines: a 1.6 Multijet turbo-diesel plus a 1.4 petrol, both producing 118bhp.
Having driven both of them, I still prefer the diesel motor: the extra power (118bhp compared with 104bhp for the diesel motor in my 500L) is nice to have.
Prices are yet to be announced, but the new version is expected on sale mid March.
By Melanie Falconer
Week ending February 7
Driven this week 123 miles
It's not often I get to try family cars for Pistonheads, so I was keen to sample a car that had stood out to me in the What Car? car park, even if it was for all the wrong reasons. The way the 500L looks is, erm, challenging, more in a Ssangyong Rodius way as opposed to the quirky cool of an early Fiat Multipla.
However, I wanted to have a go in the L as the normal 500 is a car I admire. It wasn't a good start; the diesel engine was louder than that found in the latest Ford Transit, but I headed home in the dark, struggling hard to read dials, while manhandling the gearknob that's apparently been lifted from a Scania truck.
The return journey was a revelation. I could appreciate the great dashboard design (and the dials are more visible in daylight), the traffic was lighter and I realised that the noisy diesel was actually quite sprightly.
Sadly, the light meant I could see the 500L’s embossed seats, but the space inside wasn't to be sniffed at and I guess the car is reasonable transport for the average family. I got to the office with a changed heart, but as I stepped out I was reminded of how the 500L looked and wished I'd taken a Ford instead.
By Paul Garlick