For American shoppers unfamiliar with the Fiat brand other than since the company’s recent re-entrance into this market, the newly released 500L crossover might seem like a bit of a departure from the norm. But, if you cast your eye toward the Continent, you’ll notice a history peppered with such vehicles – even before the term “crossover” was applied to cars. The 500L officially replaces the Idea, a mini MPV with sliding rear seats and a tidy, if generic, profile. Spiritually, though, the 500L sticks closer in character to the Multipla compact MPV and the 600 Multipla variant of the 1960s to which the newer model can ascribe its name.
Stock photos courtesy of Chrysler Group Media Relations
Back in January, we brought you a first drive of the 2012 Fiat 500, which we found to be a respectable cute-commuter entry in the subcompact market. Since then, Fiat’s studios (their word for dealerships) have been popping up left and right, and to further augment their product lineup after a 27-year hiatus in the United States, they’ve brought out their first Cinquecento variant, the Cabrio–or in Fiat’s own shorthand, the 500c.
Don’t call it a “Five Hundred.” It’s a Cinquecento. After a 27-year absence, Fiat has returned to the largest auto market in the world with a heritage nameplate on a subcompact that packs some serious style and a whole lot of substance. SSL crossed the country to check out Chrysler’s new compact standard-bearer in sunny southern California, and left quite impressed with the little car that proves that premium styling and performance don’t have to come with a premium price.
We’re going to try something new here at S:S:L, and provide a feed of all the outlets covering the Chrysler Business Plan Media Event on twitter. Should be a good mix of perspective from Autoblog, Jalopnik, Detroit News, Edmunds, Automotive News and several others. Follow along and see what Chrysler has in store for the next 5 years.