Funny car, the Fiat 500L. Remember our surprise when we first saw it? To think eyebrows were raised at the MINI Countryman…
Now they’re in the field though, it’s looking more acceptable, less overinflated and disproportionate. Particularly in some of the pretty colour combinations available on the crossroader-style Trekking – of which one was delivered to MR this week.
Metallic BRG, white roof, spangly wheels, Trekking accoutrements… you have to admit, it’s pretty rich-looking. Same goes for the inside, with tan leather that’s a bit supercaresque and some nice design that shows thought, time and attention has been spent on it.
My first 5 Minutes here is split across two very short drives. The first one saw me soak up all the usual Fiat slight oddities: the close-set pedals, ultra-short clutch pedal travel (and immediate bite), some early 1990s plastics and similarly aged trip computer display, light yet quick steering and a driving position that just… wasn’t… quite… there.
I was left slightly underwhelmed. Then thought about it some more. And heard how much the missus likes the look of it. And mused on the budget-restricted headaches that may have gone into its development. So thought I should look past a scratchy electric window pack and focus on less immediately jarring details.
The second drive was thus much more positive. I love the panoramic visibility (particularly the brilliant surround-view front pillars). The diesel engine is effervescent enough. The dials and detailing are lovely. It’s huge inside. It’s really well thought out. It’s a cheery, happy car. I even got the driving position sorted, I think.
I reported back that, yes, we could live with one as a family car. If we had from £15k (or had the £20k of the test car – this isn’t a cheap machine). More importantly, I could live with it, I reckon, quite happily.
A bit of a surprise, then. Will it continue once the First 5 Minutes is up? We shall see…