We’re still getting to grips with the looks of the 500L – tottering-stance et al – and of the fact that Fiat plans to expand the 500 into a wider range; nee sub-brand.
So there was a degree of trepidation when we heard about the 500L Trekking here in LA. But the reality of it is that the 500L Trekking might be the version that really makes the 500L make sense. The lower body cladding and front mask – although it gives the car a bit more of a chin – actually lends the car some attitude. It grounds the stance a little better and there’s now some much needed accent over the wheels, dragging your eye down and taking some of the perceived weight out of the body side.
And maybe it’s just us, but this dark lower cladding, yellow body and white roof colour scheme worked better than previous cars we’ve seen too. Neat lamp graphic too – how come we’re not getting this in Europe Fiat?
And in anecdotal news that will be music to Fiat’s ears, the three American journalists we sat in the 500L with – who came from middle American states – were keen to tell us just how much more successful they thought Fiat would be with this car than the regular 500. Seems that the adage is true. In the US, bigger is always better.
by Joe Simpson
The Forte is a more important car than you might first think. The c-segment sedan market is a huge growth area right now. We might still be wedded to the hatch in Europe, but in both the US and perhaps more importantly China, without a C-sedan, you’re stuck. Cars like Audi’s new A3 sedan (seen up until now in concept form) suggest the breed’s come of age – a well judged C-segement sedan is now actually as big as a three-generations ago D-segment A4 or 3-Series. And that’s allowed the proportion to really breath – no longer feeling crunched up, and really helping the design.
And so it proves with the Forte. For our money, like the European Cee’d, the cab and A-pillar is still a little too far forward. But other than that, there’s very little we can pick fault with. This is a very handsome, mature and immaculately surfaced car. The details – particularly the front and rear light graphics – are very modern, and feature more advanced technology than some would-be premium brands. Sold also as the K3/Cerato in other markets and first seen as long ago as July, this is nonetheless our first really look a the Forte and on this viewing it deserves – and we expect will – do well in the US market. It also makes us look forward to the forthcoming Coup version, always a college kid favourite in the US. It’s great to see a mainstream production car that really stands up to scrutiny and looks great in the metal.
by Joe Simpson