We travelled to Longleat Safari Park, an ideal location to test drive the Fiat 500L Trekking, a rugged alternative to the regular 500L.
What is it? Fiat’s more rugged version of the 500L mini-MPV. Sitting at the top of the 500L range, the Trekking gets some extra plastic cladding to give it an off-road look. It’s not all style over substance – with a raised suspension, Mud&Snow all-season tyres, and a Traction+ control system, the Trekking can handle any difficult terrain or low grip conditions that the average motorist might encounter.
First impressions of the new Fiat 500L Trekking: It has a quirky look that makes it really stand out, especially when finished in Hip Hop Yellow, an exclusive colour option to the Trekking. With the extra plastic cladding, raised ride height and 17” alloys, it looks purposeful and utilitarian.
What about the interior? The 500L Trekking is spacious inside with generous headroom and legroom for driver and passengers. The interior is modern and stylish and the controls are chunky and easy to use. There is a 5” touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth fitted as standard. The driving position is good and the seats offer good support.
There is 400 litres of bootspace and the back seats can be folded down or slided forward when the extra cargo space is needed. There is an adjustable boot floor too so the dirty wellies can be kept away from the picnic on one of those off-road excursions.
And on the road? At the launch in Wiltshire we drove the 105bhp 1.6 MultiJet diesel engine which will happily cruise but lacks a little bit of grunt in the higher gears.
Fiat 500L Trekking and the city: The light steering made it easy to manouvre around town and there is good visibility for parking.
Fiat 500L Trekking and the open road: The steering is light but accurate. The 500L Trekking feels composed in the corners, with the nose going where you want it. It will cruise comfortably on the highways and byways but the 1.6 MultiJet diesel engine felt a bit sluggish on some of the uphill bits of the test route. The 6-speed gearbox had to be worked quite a bit to maintain pace on the twistier country roads.
How Much? The engine line-up for the Fiat 500L Trekking will be the same as on the standard 500L, with a choice of four engines. Start&Stop is standard on TwinAir and MultiJet engines. The entry level Trekking model fitted with a 95bhp 1.4-litre petrol engine is priced at £17,095 and the 105bhp 0.9-litre TwinAir petrol is priced at £18,590. The 85bhp 1.3 MultiJet diesel model is priced from £18,590 but the same model can be fitted with Fiat’s Dualogic automatic gearbox for £19,490. The top-of-the-range 105bhp 1.6 MultiJet tested here starts at £19,590.
How Safe? The 500L Trekking comes with front, side and window airbags and has been awarded a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating. Although already an option on the 500L, the Trekking boasts City Brake Control as standard. This innovative safety feature detects the presence of vehicles or obstacles in front of the car and automatically applies the brakes if the driver fails to do so in order to avoid the collision or to reduce its consequences. Especially useful in city traffic, this function is active at speeds of up to 19mph.
What about my options: If you like your coffee on the go you can specify your Trekking with a Lavazza espresso coffee machine. There is also a panoramic glass sunroof option and if music is your thing you can have a HiFi by Beats sound system fitted. There is a choice of seven different body colours for the Trekking and the option of adding a black or white roof at an extra cost to give a two-tone effect.
3 words to describe the Fiat 500L Trekking: Quirky, Capable, Spacious
23rd July, 2013