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The 500L is a Fiat super-sized (pictures)

Fiat is a brand best known for its small cars, which is what makes the super-sized and spacious 2014 500L Trekking so strange.

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Antuan Goodwin

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1 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2014 Fiat 500L Trekking

Taking it slow and easy is the best way to drive the 500L. It's a cruiser and any attempts at sporty driving were met with disappointment.

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2 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Relatively small

Despite being rather large for a vehicle wearing a Fiat badge, the 500L is fairly compact when compared to the small wagons and crossovers with which it competes.

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3 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Small footprint

The L's footprint is smaller than those of the Scion xB or Mazda CX-5, but the interior volume is larger than either vehicle.

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4 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Easy to park

This makes the 500L an easy car to park in the cramped confines of the city.

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5 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Relatively large

The 500L is significantly larger than the 500 coupe with which it shares its name.

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6 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Small engine

The 1.4-liter MultiAir turbocharged engine is the same mill that you'd find under the hood of a 500 Turbo.

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7 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Euro Twin Clutch

The engine is mated to either a six-speed manual transmission or a dual-clutch automatic gearbox, also with six speeds.

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8 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Interior

The 500L's cabin feels a bit cheap to me, even with optional comfort upgrades.

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9 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Koni suspension

The L rides on Koni suspension at all four corners (with MacPhersons up front and torsion beam on the rear).

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10 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

L for Large

The "L" in 2014 Fiat 500L Trekking stands for "large."

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11 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Interior volume

The most spacious ride in the Car Tech garage this week poses with the least spacious one.

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12 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Active lifestyle

Seen here in the Trekking trim level, the L features gray plastic accents that are meant to evoke a sporty, active lifestyle.

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13 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Keep it on the tarmac

However, with front wheel-drive being the only powertrain configuration available in the States as well as a "normal duty" suspension, the 500L isn't going off-road anytime soon.

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14 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

17-inch wheels

Enlarged, 17-inch alloy wheels fill the 500L Trekking's wheel wells but still seem too small beneath the plastic cladding and the bulbous body.

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15 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Design language

The 500L stretches Fiat's cutesy design language across a much larger canvas than before. Personally, I think the result is a bit awkward looking.

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16 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

The heart of a compact

Behind this enlarged 500's grille breathes the engine of a much smaller car.

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17 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

160 horsepower

Power is stated at 160 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. Acceleration is...acceptable.

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18 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Airy greenhouse

Generous greenhouse glass gives the 500L's spacious cabin a light and airy feel.

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19 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Power sunroof

The optional power sunroof opens nearly the entire roof with tinted glass to let the sun shine in.

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20 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Fiat's best feature

This is easily one of the best creature comforts that the 500L offers.

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21 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Smooth ride

The ride is smooth enough, but the top-heavy 500L doesn't corner very well.

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22 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Digital audio

The 500L does not feature a CD or DVD drive for physical discs. Users have access to an SD card reader, a USB port, and Bluetooth audio streaming for their digital media.

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23 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Uconnect tech

The Uconnect infotainment system is borrowed from Fiat's friends at the Chrysler group.

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24 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Beats Audio

This example's premium audio system has been upgraded with the optional Beats Audio system, which adds a powered subwoofer for strong bass.

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25 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Steering wheel

Steering wheel controls are logically laid out and feature rockers for volume and skip on the backside of the horizontal spokes.

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26 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Instrument cluster

Instrumentation is a bit difficult to read at a glance. The speedometer's numbers are cluttered, and the orange-on-yellow information display is low contrast.

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