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    Ask Me Anything: 2016 Fiat 500L Easy


    • I have a 2016 Fiat 500L Easy this week, and you have questions.

    It has been quite awhile since we did an interactive review (two years). But I thought it was time to bring it back. You might have questions for a particular vehicle and I can do my best to answer them. It also gives you guys a preview of what will be coming round the car review docket.

    So let us begin with this week's test vehicle - the 2015 Fiat 500L Easy. This is the biggest model in the Fiat lineup (until the Fiat 500X hits dealers), which really isn't saying a lot. I haven't spent a lot time driving the 500L since it came yesterday because I was feeling a bit sick. But I did spend some time poking around 500L and can give some thoughts.

    • Not quite sure about the 500L's looks. I think some of this is due to the red paint and the standard wheels on the Easy model. I would go for the Trekking model as it swaps wheels and adds some body cladding to make it slightly better to look at.
    • The interior feels very spacious thanks to the large amount of glass used on the 500L. Feels very airy.
    • Chrysler's UConnect system is present and quite easy to use. Unlike other Chrysler models, the 500L uses a 6-inch screen. I find it quite easy to use and look at a glance.
    • I do want to smack the designer who decided to put the HVAC controls way down in the center stack - they're hard to reach and glance at.
    • The back seat mostly earns positive marks. Fiat raised the seats to allow passengers a better view, and legroom is quite excellent. The downside is headroom. My 5'8" frame was touching the roof liner, so taller passengers will have to crick their head if they want to feel comfortable. This is due to my tester being equipped with a panoramic sunroof.
    • Base price of the 500L Easy is $20,545. My tester rings in $26,895 thanks to two options. A six-speed automatic for $1,350 and the Easy Collection 4 package which includes UConnect, sunroof, Beats audio system, dual-zone climate control, and other features for $4,100.

    I'll be updating this throughout the week with more impressions and answers to your questions.

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    having driven these,

     

    not bad and appealing from a space and function standpoint.

     

    lots of turbo lag though, and lots of major issues with their DCT.  I think FCA ordered up newer ones to mate to the regular six speed from now on.

     

    These things have a horrible rap for quality already.  I wonder if it will catch up with them.  Otherwise to me it would be possibly on a list to consider in future.

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    lots of turbo lag though, and lots of major issues with their DCT.  I think FCA ordered up newer ones to mate to the regular six speed from now on.

     

    These things have a horrible rap for quality already.  I wonder if it will catch up with them.  Otherwise to me it would be possibly on a list to consider in future.

     

    I haven't noticed any turbo-lag in my tester, and yes newer 500Ls do have a six-speed automatic. Although I have found that the programming is somewhat screwy as the transmission tends to hold onto gears much longer that I think it should.

    I have an update tomorrow on some first impressions.

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    lots of turbo lag though, and lots of major issues with their DCT.  I think FCA ordered up newer ones to mate to the regular six speed from now on.

     

    These things have a horrible rap for quality already.  I wonder if it will catch up with them.  Otherwise to me it would be possibly on a list to consider in future.

     

    I haven't noticed any turbo-lag in my tester, and yes newer 500Ls do have a six-speed automatic. Although I have found that the programming is somewhat screwy as the transmission tends to hold onto gears much longer that I think it should.

    I have an update tomorrow on some first impressions.

     

     

    How is road/engine/wind noise at speed?  The Fiats I've driven have been loud.

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    How is the initial first impression when you get in and close the door? Every time I get in one, it sounds like a cheap tin can and rattles, noise, etc. Just screams YUGO!

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    lots of turbo lag though, and lots of major issues with their DCT.  I think FCA ordered up newer ones to mate to the regular six speed from now on.

     

    These things have a horrible rap for quality already.  I wonder if it will catch up with them.  Otherwise to me it would be possibly on a list to consider in future.

     

    I haven't noticed any turbo-lag in my tester, and yes newer 500Ls do have a six-speed automatic. Although I have found that the programming is somewhat screwy as the transmission tends to hold onto gears much longer that I think it should.

    I have an update tomorrow on some first impressions.

     

     

    How is road/engine/wind noise at speed?  The Fiats I've driven have been loud.

     

     

    The 500L with wind and road noise is quite excellent. I did some highway driving over the past couple of days and was surprised how quiet it was when compared to the 500C I drove a few weeks back. Engine noise is somewhat apparent, but it doesn't bug me.

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    Also, I think the 500X is smaller than the 500L

     

    I just looked up the spec sheets on both models and they are almost the same size in length and width.

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    How is the initial first impression when you get in and close the door? Every time I get in one, it sounds like a cheap tin can and rattles, noise, etc. Just screams YUGO!

     

    I was surprised by how well built it was - that should be expected for a 3,000 mile example. No rattles or noises.

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    So I spent a few days in the 500L and I have to say I'm really impressed. Aside from the looks which I'm still not feeling, the rest of the car is really impressive. The engine is quite punchy and responsive. Ride is comfortable and quiet. I like the interior and most of the dashboard layout - aside from the HVAC controls which I complained about my original post.

     

    One issue I do have is with the optional six-speed automatic. It doesn't seem its perfectly matched to the 1.4T as the transmission doesn't shift till it reaches 3,000+ rpm. I'm wondering if this is an issue with this car or something else.

     

    Now I have this car for a couple more days, so if you have questions, get them in now.

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    Is there a sport mode in the transmission? Try that and see what happens to the shift points.

     

    There is not. I have been using the manumatic mode to make it a little bit better.

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    Transmission electrical airbags stalling consumer reports least reliable. Fiat forums are a bit of a hoot to read.

    500x I think is a squashed 500l. Might even have the same dash.

    Also some good fiat forums on the turbo lag. Maybe it's only evident on the stick or Dct.

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      Ram Truck brand sales were up 4 percent in February, compared with the same month a year ago. Sales of the Ram pickup truck increased 5 percent year over year in the month. The brand introduced new special-edition Night packages for Ram 2500 and 3500 HD pickup trucks at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show in February. The new Night editions further expand the Ram factory-custom truck family from the half-ton Ram 1500 announced in September 2016 to the brand’s three-quarter and one-ton models. Production of the 2017 Ram HD Night models began in early February.
       
      Dodge Brand
      The Dodge Challenger, Dodge Journey, and Dodge Viper each posted sales gains in February, led by the Journey’s 55 percent year-over-year increase. The Challenger turned in a 19 percent increase, while Viper sales were up 23 percent in the month. The Dodge brand unveiled the new 2018 Dodge Durango SRT – America’s fastest, most powerful and most capable three-row SUV – at last month’s 2017 Chicago Auto Show. In addition, Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com announced at the show that the Grand Caravan earned its 5-Year Cost to Own Award in the minivan category for the third time in four years. The awards honor the vehicles and brands (luxury and non-luxury) with the lowest projected ownership costs, based on Kelley Blue Book’s 5-Year Cost to Own data for new cars for the initial five-year ownership period.
       
      Jeep Brand
      Three Jeep brand models recorded sales increases in February. Both the Jeep Grand Cherokee – the brand’s volume leader for the month – and the Jeep Renegade posted 11 percent year-over-year sales increases. In addition, the Jeep Wrangler logged a 2 percent increase in February. Jeep brand retail sales were up year over year in February. The latest Wrangler – the new 2017Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Recon – debuted at the Chicago Auto Show last month, featuring improved off-road prowess with a stronger front axle, enhanced rock rails and heavy-duty cast differential covers. Also last month, KBB.com announced at the Chicago Auto Show that the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited earned its 5-Year Cost to Own Award in the Mid-size SUV/Crossover category for a third-consecutive year.
       
      FIAT Brand
      Sales of the Fiat 500 were up 1 percent in February, compared with the same month a year ago. Sales of the new Fiat 124 Spider were up 26 percent compared with the previous month of January. The 124 Spider was named in February as one of the Best Cars for the Money in the Sports Car category by U.S. News & World Report. In addition, the Fiat 124 Spider Abarth, according to the valuation experts at Hagerty, is one of 10 vehicles this year that stand out as the likeliest to grow in value and appeal to classic car enthusiasts. That puts the 124 Spider Abarth on the “Hagerty Hot List” for 2017. 
       
      Chrysler Brand
      Sales of the all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica – the most awarded minivan of 2016 and 2017 – were up in its second month of year-over-year comparisons, and increased 36 percent compared with sales in the previous month of January. The Pacifica continues to earn a plethora of awards and accolades in 2017. In February, the Pacifica was named Best Minivan for the Money by U.S. News & World Report, 2017 Family Vehicle of the Year by the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), and MotorWeek’s 2017 Drivers’ Choice Award for Best Minivan. The Chrysler 300 full-size sedan turned in a 2 percent year-over-year increase in February.
        
      Alfa Romeo Brand
      Alfa Romeo brand sales of 443 units were up 843 percent compared with the same month in 2016.
       
      Maserati Brand
      Maserati brand sales of 1,087 units were up 49 percent compared with the same month a year ago.
       
      U.S. Sales Summary February 2017
                Month Sales
      Vol %
      CYTD Sales
      Vol %
      Model
      Curr Yr
      Pr Yr
      Change
      Curr Yr
      Pr Yr
      Change
      Compass
      2,737
      8,893
      -69%
      5,901
      15,164
      -61%
      Patriot
      5,512
      11,363
      -51%
      10,212
      19,947
      -49%
      Wrangler
      13,641
      13,349
      2%
      24,975
      24,336
      3%
      Cherokee
      13,615
      15,353
      -11%
      26,166
      32,136
      -19%
      Grand Cherokee
      18,925
      16,990
      11%
      36,226
      30,965
      17%
      Renegade
      7,915
      7,115
      11%
      17,280
      13,282
      30%
      JEEP BRAND
      62,345
      73,063
      -15%
      120,760
      135,830
      -11%
      200
      2,194
      6,259
      -65%
      4,055
      10,944
      -63%
      300
      5,386
      5,304
      2%
      10,094
      10,969
      -8%
      Town & Country
      108
      11,645
      -99%
      246
      23,028
      -99%
      Pacifica
      9,042
      71
      New
      15,712
      110
      New
      CHRYSLER BRAND
      16,730
      23,279
      -28%
      30,107
      45,051
      -33%
      Dart
      1,683
      5,824
      -71%
      3,080
      11,104
      -72%
      Avenger
      0
      6
      -100%
      0
      15
      -100%
      Charger
      6,930
      8,765
      -21%
      14,083
      17,547
      -20%
      Challenger
      6,107
      5,142
      19%
      9,500
      10,803
      -12%
      Viper
      54
      44
      23%
      107
      72
      49%
      Journey
      9,906
      6,375
      55%
      22,542
      17,961
      26%
      Caravan
      13,682
      13,978
      -2%
      24,452
      24,933
      -2%
      Durango
      5,516
      6,851
      -19%
      10,223
      12,852
      -20%
      DODGE  BRAND
      43,878
      46,985
      -7%
      83,987
      95,287
      -12%
      Ram P/U
      39,046
      37,087
      5%
      72,815
      69,651
      5%
      Cargo Van
      0
      0
      0%
      0
      2
      -100%
      ProMaster Van
      2,648
      2,697
      -2%
      5,999
      5,039
      19%
      ProMaster City
      1,091
      1,509
      -28%
      2,016
      2,665
      -24%
      RAM BRAND
      42,785
      41,293
      4%
      80,830
      77,357
      4%
      Giulia
      412
      0
      New
      482
      0
      New
      Alfa 4C 
      31
      47
      -34%
      69
      115
      -40%
      ALFA BRAND
      443
      47
      843%
      551
      115
      379%
      500
      1,131
      1,120
      1%
      2,349
      2,101
      12%
      500L
      72
      370
      -81%
      178
      727
      -76%
      500X
      640
      1,161
      -45%
      1,240
      2,202
      -44%
      Spider
      302
      0
      New
      542
      0
      New
      FIAT BRAND
      2,145
      2,651
      -19%
      4,309
      5,030
      -14%
      TOTAL FCA US LLC
      168,326
      187,318
      -10%
      320,544
      358,670
      -11%
          Total Car & MPV
      47,134
      58,575
      -20%
      84,949
      112,468
      -24%
          Total UV's
      78,407
      87,450
      -10%
      154,765
      168,845
      -8%
          Total Truck & LCV
      42,785
      41,293
      4%
      80,830
      77,357
      4%
                    MASERATI BRAND
      1,087
      728
      49%
      1,976
      1,253
      58%

    • By William Maley
      FCA US Reports January 2017 U.S. Sales
      Ram Truck brand up 5 percent; pickup truck posts 4 percent increase Three Jeep® brand vehicles record sales increases in January; Jeep Renegade sales up 52 percent Jeep Grand Cherokee sales up 24 percent in January Fiat 500 sales up 24 percent compared with same month a year go February 1, 2017 , Auburn Hills, Mich. -  FCA US LLC today reported U.S. sales of 152,218 units, an 11 percent decrease compared with sales in January 2016 (171,352 units).
       
      In January, fleet sales of 42,868 units were down 31 percent year over year as FCA US continues its strategy of reducing its sales to the daily rental segment. Fleet sales represented 28 percent of total FCA US sales in January. FCA US retail sales of 109,350 units were flat for the month, and represented 72 percent of total January sales.
       
      Ram Truck brand sales increased 5 percent in January, compared with the same month a year ago, as the pickup truck posted a 4 percent sales gain. Three Jeep® brand models recorded increases in January, led by a 52 percent increase in Jeep Renegade sales. Sales of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the brand’s volume leader in January, were up 24 percent for the month. Sales of the Dodge Journey mid-size crossover were up 9 percent, while Fiat 500 sales grew 24 percent year over year.
       
      Ram Truck Brand
      Sales of the Ram pickup truck increased 4 percent in January, compared with the same month in 2016. In addition, the Ram ProMaster van turned in a strong 43 percent sales gain. Ram Truck brand sales were up 5 percent year over year in January. At the 2017 North American International Auto Show in January, the brand introduced a special edition of the popular Ram 1500 Rebel – the Rebel Black. The Ram Rebel Black special edition traces its origin to one of the truck brand’s fastest-selling off-road powerhouses, adapting dark features as a design component. The package is offered with all available Rebel colors, adding black wheels, brush guard and theme-matched all-black interior.
       
      Jeep Brand
      Three Jeep brand models posted sales increases in January, led by the Jeep Renegade and its 52 percent year-over-year sales gain. The Jeep Grand Cherokee – the brand’s volume leader for the month – recorded a 24 percent sales increase in January. The Jeep Wrangler logged a January increase as well. Last month, FCA US confirmed the addition of new models to the award-winning Jeep lineup – an all-new Jeep pickup truck and the storied Jeep Wagoneer and Jeep Grand Wagoneer. These actions are planned to be completed by 2020.
       
      FIAT Brand
      The Fiat 500 recorded a 24 percent sales increase in January compared with the same month a year ago. The Fiat 124 Spider was named “Best New Convertible” of 2017 by the experts at Cars.com. The all-new Spider delivers the ultimate Italian roadster experience with driving excitement, technology and safety combined with iconic Italian design.
       
      Dodge Brand
      Two Dodge brand vehicles recorded sales gains in January. The Dodge Journey mid-size crossover turned in a 9 percent increase, while Dodge Viper sales were up 89 percent. The Dodge brand announced in January that its new ultimate performance halo – the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon – will be unveiled during the New York International Auto Show week in April.
       
      Chrysler Brand
      Sales of the all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica – the most awarded minivan in 2016 – were up in its first month of year-over-year comparisons. Cars.com editors named the Pacifica the “Best of 2017” at their annual 2017 Best of Awards show hosted in Detroit during the North American International Auto Show. The Pacifica also was named the 2017 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year by a panel of automotive experts last month at the auto show. The award is unique and considered by many to be one of the world’s most prestigious based on its diverse mix of automotive journalists from the U.S. and Canada who serve as the voting jurors.
       
      Alfa Romeo Brand
      Alfa Romeo brand sales of 108 units were up 59 percent compared with the same month in 2016.
       
      Maserati Brand1
      Maserati brand sales of 889 units were up 69 percent compared with the same month a year ago.
      U.S. Sales Summary January 2017
                          Month Sales
      Vol %
      CYTD Sales
      Vol %
        Model
      Curr Yr
      Pr Yr
      Change
      Curr Yr
      Pr Yr
      Change
        Compass
      3,164
      6,271
      -50%
      3,164
      6,271
      -50%
        Patriot
      4,700
      8,584
      -45%
      4,700
      8,584
      -45%
        Wrangler
      11,334
      10,987
      3%
      11,334
      10,987
      3%
        Cherokee
      12,551
      16,783
      -25%
      12,551
      16,783
      -25%
        Grand Cherokee
      17,301
      13,975
      24%
      17,301
      13,975
      24%
        Renegade
      9,365
      6,167
      52%
      9,365
      6,167
      52%
        JEEP BRAND
      58,415
      62,767
      -7%
      58,415
      62,767
      -7%
        200
      1,861
      4,685
      -60%
      1,861
      4,685
      -60%
        300
      4,708
      5,665
      -17%
      4,708
      5,665
      -17%
        Town & Country
      138
      11,383
      -99%
      138
      11,383
      -99%
        Pacifica
      6,670
      39
      New
      6,670
      39
      New
        CHRYSLER BRAND
      13,377
      21,772
      -39%
      13,377
      21,772
      -39%
        Dart
      1,397
      5,280
      -74%
      1,397
      5,280
      -74%
        Avenger
      0
      9
      -100%
      0
      9
      -100%
        Charger
      7,153
      8,782
      -19%
      7,153
      8,782
      -19%
        Challenger
      3,393
      5,661
      -40%
      3,393
      5,661
      -40%
        Viper
      53
      28
      89%
      53
      28
      89%
        Journey
      12,636
      11,586
      9%
      12,636
      11,586
      9%
        Caravan
      10,770
      10,955
      -2%
      10,770
      10,955
      -2%
        Durango
      4,707
      6,001
      -22%
      4,707
      6,001
      -22%
        DODGE  BRAND
      40,109
      48,302
      -17%
      40,109
      48,302
      -17%
        Ram P/U
      33,769
      32,564
      4%
      33,769
      32,564
      4%
        Cargo Van
      0
      2
      -100%
      0
      2
      -100%
        ProMaster Van
      3,351
      2,342
      43%
      3,351
      2,342
      43%
        ProMaster City
      925
      1,156
      -20%
      925
      1,156
      -20%
        RAM BRAND
      38,045
      36,064
      5%
      38,045
      36,064
      5%
        Giulia
      70
      0
      New
      70
      0
      New
        Alfa 4C 
      38
      68
      -44%
      38
      68
      -44%
        ALFA BRAND
      108
      68
      59%
      108
      68
      59%
        500
      1,218
      981
      24%
      1,218
      981
      24%
        500L
      106
      357
      -70%
      106
      357
      -70%
        500X
      600
      1,041
      -42%
      600
      1,041
      -42%
        Spider
      240
      0
      New
      240
      0
      New
        FIAT BRAND
      2,164
      2,379
      -9%
      2,164
      2,379
      -9%
        TOTAL FCA US LLC
      152,218
      171,352
      -11%
      152,218
      171,352
      -11%
            Total Car & MPV
      37,815
      53,893
      -30%
      37,815
      53,893
      -30%
            Total UV's
      76,358
      81,395
      -6%
      76,358
      81,395
      -6%
            Total Truck & LCV
      38,045
      36,064
      5%
      38,045
      36,064
      5%
                        MASERATI BRAND
      889
      525
      69%
      889
      525
      69%
                      [1] The Maserati Brand is distributed in the United States by Maserati North America, Inc., an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. All other brands listed in this release are distributed by FCA US LLC.
    • By William Maley
      The last time I drove a Fiat 500C Abarth, it with six-speed automatic. I found it to be quite a cheeky vehicle with an exhaust note that makes you think you’re driving something a bit more powerful and a look that helped it stand out. But I couldn’t help but wonder how the Abarth is with the manual transmission. About a couple of months ago, I slipped behind the wheel of another 500C Abarth, this time with the manual. The end result was a bit of a letdown.
      The manual transmission in question is a five-speed and it isn’t any fun to use. The throw is somewhat long and imprecise. A few times, I found myself going into the wrong gear because I couldn’t tell where I was in the gear pattern. Not helping matters is the clutch which not only has a long travel, but it isn’t easy to find the takeoff point. This is one of those vehicles where the automatic makes more sense. The turbocharged 1.4L four-cylinder produces 160 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. The engine is quite the performer with power coming on strong at low rpm. Engage the Sport mode and the engine becomes more spritely. Some reviews criticize the 500 Abarth’s suspension for being a bit too soft for a performance model. I really don’t see that as I think the Abarth strikes a good balance between handling and ride comfort. Yes, the Abarth will show a little bit more body roll in the corners. But it doesn’t detract from the quick direction change the vehicle is able to pull off thanks to its short wheelbase. The ride is slightly bouncy over bumps, but it isn’t to the point of annoyance. One area that the Abarth could use some improvement is in the steering. A little bit more road feel and weight would not be a bad thing for a performance hatch. If you happen to be a shrinking violet, then pass on getting the yellow paint like on my tester. The level of ‘LOOK AT ME’ is turned up to 11. Fiat will say the 500C is a convertible, but it is more of a targa - the roof rails and pillars stay up, and the canvas roof folds. But I do like that you can open or close it at speed. Visibility must have a different meaning in Italian than English since the view from the rear is almost nonexistent with the top up or down. The interior hasn’t changed much which is both good and bad. The good is the retro styling that adds a bit of charm. The bad are how the front seats feel like you're sitting on a stool. If there was a height adjustment for the seats or a telescoping adjustment for the steering wheel, this would ok. But since there isn’t, you’ll find yourself in a somewhat awkward seating position. As for pricing, the 500C Abarth with the manual begins at $26,695. With options, the as-tested price came to $31,695. The automatic if you wondering adds $1,350 to the price. But there is some good news over the horizon. Fiat will be cutting prices on a number of their models for 2017, with the biggest ones coming to the 500C. It might be worth waiting for the 2017 model since a lower price could make it slightly easier to convince yourself that you can live with something that is quite small, but packs a lot of character. But be sure to go with the automatic.  
      Disclaimer: Fiat Provided the 500C Abarth, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2016
      Make: Fiat
      Model: 500C
      Trim: Abarth
      Engine: Turbocharged 1.4L 16-Valve MultiAir Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Five-Speed Manual, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 160 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 170 @ 2,500-4,000 
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 28/34/30
      Curb Weight: 2,545 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Toluca, Mexico
      Base Price: $26,695
      As Tested Price: $31,965 (Includes $995 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      17-inch Forged Aluminum Hyper Black Wheels - $1,400.00
      Popular Equipment Package - $975.00
      Beats Audio Package - $700.00
      Giallo Moderna Perla (Modern Pearl Yellow) - $500.00
      Nero (Black) Mirror Cap with Body Side Stripe - $450.00
      Nero (Black) Trimmed Lights - $250.00

      View full article
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