Fiat 500L S-Design Isn't Enough To Make MPVs Interesting Again

Fiat 500L S-Design 7 photos
Photo: Fiat
Fiat 500L S-DesignFiat 500L S-DesignFiat 500L S-DesignFiat 500L S-DesignFiat 500L S-DesignFiat 500L S-Design
After redesigning the 500X for the 2019 model year, Fiat remembered that it’s also selling a multi-purpose vehicle going by the name of 500L. While it may be chic because it borrows the styling from the 500, the people carrier has been struggling as of late to convince people to choose the 500L over crossover and sport utility vehicles. So what did Fiat do in order to address this problem? Launch a special edition, of course!
Boasting “sporty emotions styled for young families,” the 500L S-Design is somewhat of a mixed bag. 500 styling here, some 500X influences there, reminiscences of the Multipla's practicality, and an interior that looks five years old compared to what the industry churns out in this day and age. The matt-bronze bodywork and gloss-black roof aren’t helping either.

The ugliest Fiat on sale in Europe also features Myron accents on the mirror caps, door handles, skid plates, and grille, whereas the 17-inch alloy wheels are finished in gloss black. Fog lights and fabric upholstery come standard, along with a 1.4-liter engine that develops 95 horsepower.

Customers can also opt for the 1.3-liter turbo diesel (95 horsepower) or 1.6-liter turbo diesel (120 horsepower), engines that do their job without excelling at anything whatsoever. Trying to make an excuse for its existence, Fiat claims the 500L S-Design is “targeted in particular to men who are interested in the latest trends of fashion and technology.”

As much as I hate SUVs, automakers that try to make a people carriers seem interesting are in the wrong, deserving to be overwhelmed by the utility vehicle. Public relations and marketing have their roles in the automotive industry, but when Fiat is trying to fool its customers with insincere flattery, you can’t help but feel upbeat about the commercial failure of the 500L.

Speaking of sales, care to guess how many of these babies were delivered in August 2018 in the United States? 136 examples of the breed as opposed to 305 in August 2015. As the old saying goes, fake it till you make it.
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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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