Fiat were in reverse in Ireland over the past few years when their market share all but disappeared. The renaissance is underway, however!
And Fiat are promoting the name of that diamond in their ranks, the ever popular 500, to help regenerate and attract interest back to a brand that commanded fair respect here.
The 500 now has a band of brothers, all bigger, with new names like the 500L and the 500L MPW part of the expanded family.
And Fiat are driving with real confidence, and are offing a 5-year Warranty as standard. Striking colours, colour mixes, styles and lengthy feature lists are part of the new Fiat range, and there is substance to back up the visuals.
Part of the 500L range is a version called the Trekking, a tall, eye catching SUV style model that comes with all season tyres and a Traction+ feature to optimise traction on a slippery surface. The Traction+ is interesting; not an absolute necessity, but in the worst of weather and places it would be a gift.
Stand out car
The Trekking is a stand out car - a can’t miss yellow body with full glass roof and white wing mirror caps. It comes with bespoke front bumper, different wheels and plastic cladding around the wheelarches, sills and rear bumper. Ordinary looking it ain’t!
Driven by a well chosen 1.6-litre diesel engine, the Trekking will have no bother meeting the demands of regular family motoring. If you push the engine into a sprint, it will tell you. Otherwise it carries what is a big bodied vehicle well, and offers decent flexibility. Overall the drive is comfortable.
The higher ride height has obvious advantages for off road spins, but in regular mode it has it advantages too. You actually feel safe in the cabin. There is a nice bit of style to the interior, and lashing of light via a huge glass area all round.
Lots of room
There is lots of leg room front and back, and access benefits from large doors and an almost flat floor. With family needs in mind, the boot is a decent size which is a must when it comes to holiday time.
Fiat took their eye off the ball here. Winning back market share won’t be easy. The latest 500 additions will help!
Standard features - Traction+, 17” Trekking alloy wheels with mud and snow tyres, Trekking suspension with increased ground clearance, high ride, air con, 5” Touchscreen radio with Bluetooth, 6 airbags, ESC, including ASR/MRS, hill hold, ABS and EBD, ERM, DST and BAS, cruise control, space saver spare wheel, remote central locking, height and reach adjustable steering, dual power steering, Stop&Start, 12v socket.
Fiat 500L Trekking 1.6 Multijet €27,000, 1598cc, 4-cylinders in line, 105bhp at 3,750rpm, 320Nm at 1,750rpm, 6-speed manual; 0 to 100kph in 12 seconds; maximum speed 175kph; consumption 4.7l/100km (combined), 4.1l (extra urban), 5.6l (urban); C02 122g/km; annual road tax €270.