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Old 06-08-2013   #1
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Considering a 500L....

Had a perusal through the 500L forum and there sure seems to be a mixed bag of comments ranging from 'it's a wonderful car' through to 'It's horrid.

I didn't really like it when it first came out but I have warmed to it.

We currently have a 500 1.2 Lounge which we love bar the lack of space in the rear particularly the inability to carry five people and the small boot. We need more carry capacity if we can get it and now need five doors again ideally. (elderly relative alert!!)

Coincidently we got a a call last night from the dealer who was enthusing about what a great deal he could do us at the moment (I'll be the judge of how great it is thanks) if we wanted to swap our 18 month old 500. There is clearly some sort of drive going on for the new 63 regs.

I've looked at a good few reviews on line and the 500L seems quite well regarded, My worry is that you don't actually see that many on the road and I'm wondering just how well they are doing. If they are not selling why is this, they look to be a decent competent well specd. car even at entry level. To me they look no better and no worse than many other mini MPV's.

We are going into the dealers this Friday for a chat and a possible test drive - any thoughts before we go in.

Oh I like the 4x4 Panda too but that seems to have much less space...

Cheers.....
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Last edited by MJG; 06-08-2013 at 10:25.
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Old 06-08-2013   #2
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Re: Considering a 500L....

Hello - like you, wasn't sure about the 500L at first, but saw loads of them around the South of France while on holiday in May. In the flesh, they look much better than in pictures - you get a better feel for proportion and dimensions.

Anyway, I was hooked following a test drive and am due to pick mine up this weekend. I'm a bit excited!
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Old 06-08-2013   #3
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Re: Considering a 500L....

Quote Originally Posted by MJG View Post
Had a perusal through the 500L forum and there sure seems to be a mixed bag of comments ranging from 'it's a wonderful car' through to 'It's horrid.

I didn't really like it when it first came out but I have warmed to it.

We currently have a 500 1.2 Lounge which we love bar the lack of space in the rear particularly the inability to carry five people and the small boot. We need more carry capacity if we can get it and now need five doors again ideally. (elderly relative alert!!)

Coincidently we got a a call last night from the dealer who was enthusing about what a great deal he could do us at the moment (I'll be the judge of how great it is thanks) if we wanted to swap our 18 month old 500. There is clearly some sort of drive going on for the new 63 regs.

I've looked at a good few reviews on line and the 500L seems quite well regarded, My worry is that you don't actually see that many on the road and I'm wondering just how well they are doing. If they are not selling why is this, they look to be a decent competent well specd. car even at entry level. To me they look no better and no worse than many other mini MPV's.

We are going into the dealers this Friday for a chat and a possible test drive - any thoughts before we go in.

Oh I like the 4x4 Panda too but that seems to have much less space...

Cheers.....
Hi MJG,

Interesting that your dealer is prospecting you about buying a new 500L only 18 months after purchasing your 500. Can't say it's a huge surprise though, there's no doubt that FIAT need the 500L to shift in big numbers given the ma-hoosive amount of marketing it has had

Re not many others on the road - I think you just have to take that with a pinch of salt. We bought our new shape Panda last April, which meant that it would have been one of the first ones about. It has taken quite a while for the Panda to gain in popularity (some might argue it still hasn't, but there are definitely more on the roads now, probably due to the good deals available). But we liked the car, so I think that is all that matters at the end of the day.

As for space, if you need a genuine five-seater for most of your trips then you are probably right in discarding the Panda. However, if you are only going to be carrying five people on the odd occasion, it would probably be alright - certainly four adults can travel in comfort. Space wise, the Panda's boot looks tiny, but it is very deceptive. When we swapped our 500 for the Panda, I didn't think the boot was an awful lot different. However it's definitely a lot more usable than the 500's boot.

What I would say though is that the 500L has got absolute tonnes of space. I was really impressed with it when I saw it at my dealers back in April (and so did my little boy!). And you are quite right regarding the equipment levels, the 500L Pop Star has got everything we would ever want in a car.

Maybe you can ask your dealer to let you test drive a Panda 4x4 on the same day too? Would be good IMO for you to see which one would really be best suited to your needs.
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Old 06-08-2013   #4
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Re: Considering a 500L....

Cheers - yes I think the call comes on the back of a comment I made in the dealers when we were in the other day (daughter was considering a 500 but in the end went for a Ka).

I mentioned about our trips to France in the 500 we had bought from them and that it would be nice to have a bit more space, so I think he smells a possible sale.

As to boot size these are the figures (in litres) I have been able to glean -

FIAT 500L

Seats up - 343
Seats down - 1310

FIAT Panda

Seats up - 225
Seats down - 870

FIAT 500

Seats up - 185
Seats down - 550

So yes as rather you would expect the 500's is the smallest and the Panda is perhaps bigger than one would expect - possibly the higher roof??

I like the Panda particular the 4x4 as it has a degree of 'character' that the 500L perhaps does not have and the 4x4 system would be useful in winter around where I live.
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Old 06-08-2013   #5
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Re: Considering a 500L....

Really interesting to see those figures! But yes, the high roof of the Panda along with the flat "vertical" boot gives it that extra space. Bit of a comical example I know, but if you take the parcel shelf off, you can fit a Little Tikes car in the boot of the Panda with ease

One really good thing about the Panda is that it retains all of the fun of the 500 when driving - the layout of everything is virtually identical, so it never felt like an alien environment at all. The downside though is probably the standard equipment - I think the Trekking and 4x4 models have some extra goodies, but basic stuff like split/fold seats etc shouldn't IMO be cost options.

In that respect, the 500L is a completely different beast. All I can say is that I thought it was a real quality car when I sat in it; I'd need to actually test drive it before I could comment further on how it drove.
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Old 06-08-2013   #6
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Re: Considering a 500L....

Quote Originally Posted by MJG View Post
I like the Panda particular the 4x4 as it has a degree of 'character' that the 500L perhaps does not have and the 4x4 system would be useful in winter around where I live.
I would echo Super Uwe and say to test drive both a 500L and a new Panda, preferably a 4x4 or Trekking variant if that's what you'd probably go for. According to reviews the ride is a lot better in the 4x4/Trekking to the other 'standard' Panda's. Not sure if they've exaggerated - as far as I've read on here all the new Panda's ride better than the previous Panda & 500 - but I'd imagine the dealer would have a 4x4 or Trekking to drive to confirm.

The degree of off-road ability could also be answered in the form of the 500L Trekking, which has the ability to deal with snow & ice, but won't be in the same league as the Panda 4x4 when it comes to fields - just depends how much you need it. Only trouble with the 500L Trekking is it's a lot more than the most expensive Panda, so that's another thing to think about.

Both seem well regarded cars, getting 4 stars in most of their road tests in various magazines - more than Fiat's often get. The 500L is a lot more generous on equipment. It's more expensive than the Panda, but after looking online at Pandas I really think some of the extras like height adjustable drivers seat & height adjustable seat belts should be standard regardless of price.

Another car to consider if you're after a 5 door similar to the 500, is the Chrysler Ypsilon. It's just a re-badged Lancia (as Fiat now own Chrysler) and underneath it's a 500/Panda. They can be had for about the same price as a Panda as the discounts are hefty. Not sure on interior size but they strike me as marginally bigger than a Panda, but not as big as the 500L.
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Old 08-08-2013   #7
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Re: Considering a 500L....

Some good pointers here regarding the "L" and the Panda.

The standard L rides better (softer) than the Trekking if you decide to go down that route as we did. It's better equipped with City Brake Control and the benefits of reduced insurance groups. The trekking though is a tad noisier on the road due to the Mud and Snow tyres and the harder suspension.

A good suggestion regarding the Ypsilon too. It's actually not a bad car at all. It would be incredibly tempting to do a DIY rebadge and make it into a Lancia
The equipment is quite impressive too. The Magic Parking is a pretty neat party piece for a car in its class..

One thing I'd warn against the Panda Trekking and 4x4 is that the faux leather seat squabs seem a tad chunkier that the standard Panda seats. I found that this was great for increasing visibility but it did make embarkation and alighting a tad trickier. It's not as if you need to hoisted out or need a ladder it's just it's something that isn't an issue (IMHO) with the standard car.

We too are trading in our 500 1.2 Lounge for a 500L 1.3 MJET Dualogic Trekking. We will very much miss our 500 and my partner stipulated that our next car MUST have City Brake Control. We have to have a dualogic due to his automatic licence. The Panda would've been on contender but you have to have the T**tAir and I absolutely, bloody hate it That was that out of the equation very quickly

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Old 09-08-2013   #8
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Re: Considering a 500L....

Funny that, I totally loved the TA when I drove it, I'd not had so much fun in a car for ages. I can't imagine why you don't like it.
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Old 09-08-2013   #9
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Re: Considering a 500L....

OK they suckered us in and the deal is done.

The decision in the end was a 500L Pop Star 1.4 in BNW to be collected on 1st September. The deal was sweetened by a substantial deposit contribution from FIAT which effectively knocked a grand off the car. Clearly FIAT are keen to get these cars moving.

We probably could have managed with a Panda but TBH space wise we didn't feel we were getting much more space over our 500 but were clearly getting loads more with the 500L and lots of in cabin storage too - great for the trips to France and lugging stuff to and from our boat.

Dynamically it's clearly not as 'roller skatish fun' to drive as the little 500 but that is a sacrifice we will have to make. I'll also miss that neat little gear shift on the 500 which has always been one of my favourite things about the car.

Really liked the seat configurations, the 6 speed box and the standard equipment list is impressive, way better than other stuff we looked at.

As for the Chrysler Ypsilon, a neat car but it doesn't seem to get great reviews and again not gaining us much interior space, though obviously a five not a three door.

The dealer also had Hyundais so we had a look at an iX20 but the interior is awful and the drivers seat so uncomfortable, the test drive on that lasted about 2 minutes!

So thanks for everybody's thoughts it helped in the decision.
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Old 09-08-2013   #10
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Re: Considering a 500L....

Well done

The 500L is a great car and I'd have one if I could afford it. One day maybe.

I totally agree about the gear lever; Fiat seems to be moving away from this most ergonomically perfect arrangement. But the fabulously smart and colourful interiors sweeten it a lot.

I see more and more 500Ls on the roads, so they must be hitting a sweet spot somewhere. And thank god they look the way they do - interesting, in a good and serviceable way - these Elantras and the rest all look totally bland and even the badges are hard to distinguish sometimes. Like most Fiats the L is a statement car, and all the better for it
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Old 12-08-2013   #11
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Re: Considering a 500L....

Quote Originally Posted by MJG View Post
OK they suckered us in and the deal is done.

The decision in the end was a 500L Pop Star 1.4 in BNW to be collected on 1st September. The deal was sweetened by a substantial deposit contribution from FIAT which effectively knocked a grand off the car. Clearly FIAT are keen to get these cars moving.

We probably could have managed with a Panda but TBH space wise we didn't feel we were getting much more space over our 500 but were clearly getting loads more with the 500L and lots of in cabin storage too - great for the trips to France and lugging stuff to and from our boat.

Dynamically it's clearly not as 'roller skatish fun' to drive as the little 500 but that is a sacrifice we will have to make. I'll also miss that neat little gear shift on the 500 which has always been one of my favourite things about the car.

Really liked the seat configurations, the 6 speed box and the standard equipment list is impressive, way better than other stuff we looked at.

As for the Chrysler Ypsilon, a neat car but it doesn't seem to get great reviews and again not gaining us much interior space, though obviously a five not a three door.

The dealer also had Hyundais so we had a look at an iX20 but the interior is awful and the drivers seat so uncomfortable, the test drive on that lasted about 2 minutes!

So thanks for everybody's thoughts it helped in the decision.
Great to hear you have ordered your new 500L! If we had the money, I am 99% certain we would also go for the 1.4 Pop Star too; it sounds like it has got absolutely everything you need.

I agree though that it is a real shame they couldn't fit a similar gear shift position in the 500L as is in the 500 and Panda. It is IMO the best feature of either car by a country mile, not least because it makes life much easier for my wife who has hypermobile joints. But hey ho...you can't have everything!

One thing is for certain - you won't be stuck for space any more!
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