The 2014 Fiat 500L goes on sale this weekend, and it starts at $19,900 including an $800 destination fee. That's about even with a 2013 Ford Focus hatchback but less than a Mazda3 hatch, a four-door Volkswagen Golf or a Mini Countryman.
The price gets you a stick-shift 500L Pop, which comes well-equipped. Standard features include chrome door handles, power accessories with remote entry and one-touch windows all around, a tailgate spoiler, manual air conditioning, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel and manual height-adjustable seats for the driver and front passenger. It also includes cruise control and a 5-inch touch-screen stereo with USB/iPod compatibility, steering-wheel audio controls and Bluetooth phone and audio streaming.
For $20,995, the 500L Easy adds chrome side mirrors, upgraded seat fabric and padded dashboard trim (versus the exterior-matched trim in the 500L Pop). It also gets 16-inch alloy wheels, an upgraded stereo, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a front center armrest with covered storage underneath. For 2014, a 6.5-inch touch-screen with navigation, rear parking sensors and a backup camera are also included — normally a $1,745 Premier Package, Fiat says. That makes the 500L Easy, well, an easy choice over the Pop.
Trekking versions ($22,995) revert to a painted dash and get a unique, two-tone exterior appearance with fog lights and 17-inch alloy wheels — and, yes, we also have a hard time seeing where the $2,000 went. Finally, Lounge editions ($25,795) revert to 16-inch alloys (17s are optional) but add dual-zone automatic climate control and heated leather upholstery with power lumbar support for both front seats. You also get a number of small conveniences — vanity-mirror lights, a rear center armrest — that are optional in lesser trims. Lounge versions include Fiat's dual-clutch six-speed automatic, which is a $1,350 option on the Easy and Trekking. (Pop versions come only with the stick shift.) If you find the dual-clutch auto shifts too abruptly, Fiat says a conventional torque-converter automatic will come later.
A panoramic moonroof and Beats audio are optional on all but the 500L Pop, and many Lounge features come in option packages on the Easy and Trekking. Seven airbags, disc brakes plus the required antilock brakes and electronic stability system are standard across the board.
Check all the boxes, and Fiat says the 500L tops out around $27,500.