First Drive: Fiat 500L Beats Edition
Sector: Crossover Price: £14,999–£23,899 Fuel: 48.7–55.4mpg CO2: 134–153g/km
Two new engines – one diesel, the other petrol – plus the addition of a new range-topping trim, the Beats Edition, has done much to freshen up Fiat’s compact MPV, the 500L.
There’s a choice between either a 1.4-litre T-Jet petrol unit or a more powerful version of the 1.6-litre MultiJet diesel. Both are four-cylinder units, both push out equal amounts of power, 118bhp, and both will be available across the range.
Out of the two, it’s the new 118bhp diesel which holds the most appeal, costing £500 more than its lesser-powered diesel brother. Once driven, it becomes apparent the additional expense is a worthwhile investment. The extra power is generated from a variable-geometry turbocharger, and while an further 14bhp doesn’t sound like much it gives the 500L a real sense of urgency, much more than its published performance figures would first indicate.
That’s not to say the T-Jet is not worth considering. It is by far the more refined unit, and will cost around £1,000 less than the diesel. It is also 110kg lighter than the MultiJet, and is slightly nimbler as a result. Nonetheless, it’s actually a third less fuel efficient – 40.9mpg with 159g/km CO2 for the T-Jet verses 61.4mpg and 120g/km CO2 for that of the MultiJet.
All test cars showcased the Beats Edition trim, based on the crossover-styled Trekking spec 500L, which has never lacked for standard equipment. The Beats Edition, for a premium of around £1,600, adds even more kit. The most noticeable part of this package is the BeatsAudio system; a seven-speaker, 520W, eight-channel DSP amplifier, which has been developed specifically for this car by Dr. Dre (not a PhD in engineering or medicine, but rather the music producer and rapper).
But this is a no brainer. If you’re not too fussed about your in-car entertainment system, then your money would be better spent opting for the 500L Trekking with the 118bhp MultiJet engine.