Are you looking for something quirky to drive? If so perhaps some consideration could be directed towards Fiat’s latest more masculine Fiat 500L Trekking. The 500 family has certainly grown up in recent years, not only is the L variant appealing in standard shape, you can now opt for the 7-seat MPW or the Trekking which we have on test.
The Trekking starts at €24,000 and comes with a choice of three different engines. You can opt for the 105hp 900cc Twinair, 85hp 1.3 Multijet Diesel, or my test cars 105hp 1.6 Multijet Diesel. Admittedly these cars are not for everyone but I would urge you to at least test-drive one. First things first let’s discuss the looks. The quirky body shape has been given some rugged appeal with the addition of beefed up front and rear bumpers, skid plates and protective arch mouldings. It sits on Diamond Black 17-inch alloys wearing mud and snow threads with heightened suspension by 13mm. These additions give it an almost SUV like stance on the road with ample visibility all round.
There are 17 different exterior colour choices available and although quirky I would opt against the yellow and white combination, which does nothing to aid in achieving that masculine look. Do me a favour before you pass judgement and log on to www.fiat.ie where you can configure the Trekking colour combinations. Select Darkwave Black, Heavy Metal Grey or even Beatbox Green and you get a very different car. Inside, you can opt for one of two combinations that include black and white or this classy grey brown which is in my test car. The leather trimmed steering wheel and gear knob are welcome additions along with a 5-inch touch screen with Bluetooth connectivity. Driving aids are plentiful also with ESC stability control, city brake control, cruise control, air conditioning, rear parking sensors, electric windows front and rear, automatic headlamps, rain sensors, and an electro-chromatic rear-view mirror. You really won’t be disappointed in the spec!
To drive I was expecting a bit of a wet fish if I’m honest. I mean, if you raise an already slab-sided car, you would expect it to handle sketchy to say the least but how wrong I was. I clocked up just shy of 1000 kilometers in my weeklong test. I drove it to Fintona, County Tyrone for an agricultural machinery event and really put it through its paces. With cold muddy conditions I was able to rely on Fiats unique Traction + system which continuously monitors the grip levels in slippery conditions and directs engine torque to whichever wheel has the most traction. In a way, it’s a clever get out of jail card without the heavy four-wheel drive system that would eat into fuel consumption.
You engage this system with a button positioned just below the gearlever and it works once you are below 30km/h. Honestly it is very impressive! Fuel consumption was also admirable with the Trekking easily returning up to 60mpg when driven sedately. So after having the test car for seven days how did I find it and could I honestly recommend one to a friend? Well the answer is yes and I will tell you why. The Fiat 500L Trekking drives as well as it looks and right now Ireland is a sea of mundane vehicles that lack character. The Trekking is a great daily driver that rewards with its charm and I for one would buy one over similarly priced vehicles any day of the week! The big question is, will you?
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