Monday, October 29, 2012

Autocar Online - News

Autocar Online - News

Four new Fiat 500s for UK

Posted: 29 Oct 2012 01:00 AM PDT

Fiat 500 range set to grow from February with new five and seven-seat MPVs and rugged crossovers

The UK will get four new variants of the Fiat 500 over the next 12 months, starting with the launch of the 500L in February.

This five-seat compact MPV will be followed in September by a seven-seater (tagged 500XL in development), a rugged 500L Trekking by the end of 2013 and, in spring 2014, a 500X crossover to take on the Mini Countryman.

The 500XL is described by insiders as a "further development of the 500L". It will be "longer and wider" and sit beside its smaller sister car just as the Ford Grand C-Max and Ford C-Max do.

The biggest Fiat 500 variant yet is expected to be launched at Geneva in March, but is not expected to carry the 500XL label due to the potential for confusion with the 500X.

The Trekking will have a raised ride height, rugged body cladding and electronic traction control to give it some of the off-road abilities of an all-wheel drive vehicle while remaining front-drive only, much like the Panda Trekking.

The 500X was previewed at the launch of the 500L in the summer, but Fiat has yet to announce its Countryman rival. Insiders say it is still some way off production, but is being conceived with bigger, more powerful engines and sleek crossover styling to give the 500 range its most upmarket and expansive push yet.

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