When Fiat brought out the current 500 in 2007 the whole world of motoring press declared that it was the new king of the segment.
In my mind it still is the cutest and coolest car that you can own. It’s only a bit of a problem when you have kids - there’s only two doors which are workable for putting kids in which can be problematic at times.
Fiat have just blown that problem out of the water with the 500L, a new 5-door version that is actually bigger than a Punto while still managing to be small and cute just like the 500.
Even though it’s gotten longer, wider and taller than its namesake, it still retains that charm and quirks that the 500 brought us.
There are also some new things like getting a coffee machine installed in the car so you can brew coffee on your way to work.
It’s an option as I’d love fresh coffee in the morning without having to stop for the overpriced treacle that passes as coffee in most petrol stations.
The 500L is huge inside, I know that statement is a bit blunt but it’s massive.
I could set the driver’s seat as far back as it can go and still fit behind it.
The back seat slides about on runners so you can have more leg room or more boot space, not that you’ll need the boot to be any bigger because that’s massive too as it starts at 400ltrs!
Even at the press conference in Turin last week to launch the car, that Fiat madness made an appearance.
Just when I thought we were in for the usual fare of “we have the best car in the world” stuff, they talked about family and life right before driving a 500L through a false wall and then moving a stand full of the world’s press - including your Leinster Leader correspondent - 50 feet to the left on a moving podium.
It was the first press conference It was that was more like a theme park than a car launch; I mean they made it rain indoors before putting us into the cars and letting us loose on the streets of Turin.
Fiat say that they spent 10,000 hours on making the car quiet, and you can tell the hours have been spent wisely because there’s little or no noise in the cabin.
The handling has been worked too. The streets of Turin are very bumpy in places but you didn’t notice it too much, but the car feels a little top heavy at times.
The 500L hits the Irish showrooms later this year and you can expect much talking about it.
In the short drive I had in the car I can already see the practicalities shining through.
There are no official Irish prices yet but you expect it to be around the €20k mark.
I’m looking forward to the 500L coming to Ireland; it will give me another happy car to drive.
Tested by Bob Flavin in Turin