Road Trip to Port Aransas in the 2018 Fiat 500L

When my daughter first glanced at the car she asked me the color, I read from the keyring, “Arancio Orange.” She asked where in the world did they come up with that color? She then got a history lesson of this little Italian car.

The Fiat began production in 1957, initially known as ‘The Cinquecento.’ The small car had massive appeal, by 1975, four million cars had been produced. The Fiat 500 was not made after 1975….until, its 50th Anniversary. Fiat brought the car back in 2007. Once again, the Fiat was indeed a hit! In 2012, the one millionth Fiat rolled off of the assembly lines.

Here’s what I can tell you about driving the Fiat 500 from Dallas to Port Aransas…..I experienced first hand its ‘Best in class’ cargo room. We had luggage, blankets, pillows, towels, ice chest, snack bags and computer on board and though we were cozy, we were not cramped. I can also tell you that at the beach, it was a head turner, the Fiat seemed to fit right in with our sand and surf excursion.

The Fiat 500L has the distinctive look of the Fiat face. It is compact but muscular, functional and safe with lots of personality and flair.

Fiat gave attention to details in the cabin of the vehicle. As mentioned, plenty of cargo space with a number of different configurations for seating and storage, proving the vehicle is as innovative as it is stylish.

The dual-pane sunroof is something to talk about, giving all passengers an optimal view.

The Fiat 500L Trekking and Lounge trims come standard with leather-trimmed seats and heated front seats. You can also enjoy a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.

Front seat passengers can enjoy individualized comfort with Dual-Zone Automatic Temperature Control. I appreciated the larger controls in the Fiat, making convenience and ease a priority. 

I did feel like I was sitting more upright than what I was used to sitting. I played with the seating controls and well as the telescoping steering wheel and still seemed to be sitting more vertical than normal. Not bad, but not perfect either.

What was perfect was the BeatsAudio™ Premium Sound System. BeatsAudio™ is standard on the Trekking and Lounge trim, but the sound of high-definition music the way it was meant to be listened to would be well worth the upgrade (which will run about $2500). The system includes six premium speakers. If you’re a music lover, it will be worth it.

The Uconnect system has a standard 7.0 touchscreen. The infotainment software provides Bluetooth audio streaming, hands-free calling, voice commands for the radio, USB ports, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Probably my favorite thing on the Fiat 500 was the view. Visibility was never an issue on our road trip. The Fiat 500 comes equipped with a 1.4L MultiAir Turbo engine with a six-speed automatic transmission delivering 160 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. It is hard to think that this car would not be sporty, as engaging as it is, it was a bit sluggish. The vehicle has a short wheelbase, it handles just fine but the engine response is not as playful as one might hope.

We found the fuel economy to exceed expectations on a road trip. With a full tank of gas, we could go right at 400 miles without having to refuel. We received about 30 mpg on the highway and 23 mpg in the city.

The Fiat 500L is chock full of safety features, with seven airbags and a steel safety frame to keep you and your passengers safe. The standard Rear BackUp camera displays a wide-angle so you can view what’s behind you or even help you judge distances in tight spaces. Additional safety features are Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Path Detection, Forward Collision Warning with Active Braking ParkSense and Rear Park Assist System to help detect obstacles near the rear of the vehicle. The antilock Brake System on the Fiat 500L monitors the speed of each wheel and allows for each to brake independently, helping you to avoid hazardous road conditions. Security alarms monitor unauthorized entry into the vehicle. If triggered, audible alarms, and flashing headlamps will deter a would-be thief.

The base model of the Fiat 500L begins at $20,995 while the model tested begins at $23,325.

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