Last week we were finally able to take the all new 2014 Fiat 500L for a first drive at the Chrysler Proving Grounds in Chelsea, Mich.
Fiat made several of the 500L vehicles available for drives at this annual line preview event and we randomly selected a very nicely appointed 2014 Fiat 500L Lounge trim level model in Rosso Perla (Red) with the Black/Grey interior for our test drives.
Getting right to it, we immediately jumped in and headed out to the Ride Road Course and let the 500L fly. The acceleration was impressive as the Turbocharged 1.4L MultiAir engine producing 160 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque with its automatic six-speed Dual Dry Clutch Transmission (DDCT) quickly ran our 500L up to over 95 mph well before we got to the first turn.
Running down the backstretch with various difficult (think Michigan roads and highways) road surface conditions simulated, our 500L rode over each set with comparative ease providing very little road control challenge for the driver.
On the final straightaway we simulated emergency lane changes and found the stability, steering and braking of the 500L presented minimal control difficulty for the driver.
Leaving the Ride Road Course, we entered the Evaluation and Handling Loop Course where the twists and turns, running one after another, at varying degrees puts the stability and traction of the vehicle to the test.
Our intent was to run this course through the most serious sets of curves at 45 to 50 mph and found that, in most, we were able to stay in that range. In a couple of the S-curve turn sets we had to drop down to just under 40 mph in order to feel comfortably in control in these turns.
We would note that our 500L Lounge was equipped with the 17-inch wheels and tires which likely gave us an extra margin of control when compared to the standard 16-inch wheels on some models.
Pulling back into the staging area following our second set of runs, a Fiat marketing person asked us for a quick comment. Our response was that we had “only” detected a slight “bit of road noise” in the cabin at speeds above 95 mph and that given that speed, it was no problem.
Our quick summary is that buyers of the new 2014 Fiat 500L will not only be very pleased at its design, features and room throughout, but that the performance on the road will meet their expectations as well.
Now that we have had a first drive, we would love to do a road trip in the 2014 Fiat 500L
The 2014 Fiat 500L Lounge that we tested has a base MSRP of $24,195 plus a destination charge of $800.
Already very well equipped, our 500L Lounge was also equipped with the Premier Package that includes ParkSense rear-park assist, ParkView rear back-up camera and Uconnect 6.5 with a larger 6.5-inch touchscreen and navigation. The Uconnect 6.5 features voice operation of navigation, AM/FM and mobile phones; handsfree phone and Bluetooth-streaming audio, text message reader, personalization settings, premium media hub with SD card reader, auxiliary jack and USB inputs.
Fiat is offering this package at no cost on the Lounge (also Trekking and Easy models), calling it a launch package for the first year of production of the new 500L.
Other options included on our test 2014 Fiat 500L were the 17-inch Machined Aluminum Wheels with Black Painted Pockets for $500 and the expansive Power Sunroof for $950.
Delivered, this 2014 Fiat 500L Lounge would cost you about $25,445.