It will go on sale in Europe this summer but won’t arrive in U.S. showrooms until early next year as a 2013 model.
The “L” in its name stands for large, which is appropriate considering the 500L will be the biggest model in the 500 lineup. However, at just 13.6 feet in length, it will still be one of the smallest vehicles available next year.
U.S. versions will be designed to seat five while European versions will offer seating for up to seven, according to Automotive News (subscription required). Key competitors will be Ford’s Fiesta-based EcoSport as well as the Buick Encore and MINI Cooper Countryman.
Beneath its sheet metal will sit a modified version of the platform underpinning the Fiat Punto hatchback sold overseas. Both front-wheel and all-wheel drive variants should be offered, as well as several different engine options including both gasoline and diesel units. In the U.S. the 500L will likely come exclusively with a 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 105 horsepower.
Production will take place at the former Zastava plant located in Serbia, which previously built the Fiat-based Yugo.
Stay tuned for updates as we approach the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, press days for which commence on March 6. In the meantime, visit our dedicated show page for our ongoing coverage.