The fourth addition to the Fiat 500 lineup, the all-new 500L, has been revealed ahead of its official world debut at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show in March.
The “L” in 500L stands for “large” and while this is the biggest model in the Fiat 500 family it will still be one of the smallest cars on the road when it goes on sale in Europe later this year and in the U.S. early next.
Fiat boasts that the 500L features the space of an MPV but with the taller ride-height and capability of a compact SUV.
Overall dimensions come in at 13.6 feet in length, 5.8 feet in width, and 5.4 feet for the height. Inside, there’s seating for five though a seven-seat version is expected to be launched for European markets at a later date.
Note, despite sharing its name and some styling with the Fiat 500, the new 500L rides on a platform shared with the larger Fiat Punto hatchback
. Though unconfirmed, both front-wheel and all-wheel drive variants should be offered. This should make it an ideal competitor for the likes of the Ford’s Fiesta-based EcoSport
as well as the Buick Encore
and MINI Cooper Countryman
As for engines, the European lineup will initially comprise two gasoline units (TwinAir and 1.4-liter) and a turbodiesel unit (1.3 MultiJet II). American versions will likely come exclusively with the 1.4-liter MultiAir unit, possibly with more power than the 101 horsepower and 98 pound-feet of torque found in the 500, though.
Production will take place at the former Zastava plant located in Kragujevac, Serbia, which previously built the Fiat-based Yugo.
Stay tuned for more details as well as live photos following the Fiat 500L’s debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month. In the meantime, stay up-to-date by following our dedicated show page