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Fiat fattens up the 500

Living room: When the 500L Living launches in Europe next month, it will be the most compact MPV in its segment.

Tiny seven-seat 500L Living joins ever-expanding Fiat range

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Fiat logo24 Jun 2013

By TIM NICHOLSON

FIAT has stretched the long-wheelbase version its 500 hatch even more to include the option of a third row of seats and add yet another variant to its growing family.

The seven-seat (or “5+2” as Fiat calls it) 500L Living is 4350mm long, stretching an extra 210mm and reaching 10mm higher over the long-wheelbase 500L on which it is based. It is a full 804mm longer than the three-door 500 hatch.

It is also 175mm shorter than Kia’s radically restyled 4525mm-long Rondo compact people-mover, which – if it gets the green light for Australia -- will make the Living the smallest seven-seater on the market.

Fiat’s local operation is believed to be weighing up bringing the 500L Living to Australia. If it does, expect the 500L Living to arrive after the 500L hatch due here next year.

It would also mark the second vehicle in Fiat’s local line-up to feature seven seats, following on from the larger Dodge Journey-based Freemont SUV that went on sale in April.

European versions of the 500L Living will sell in two variants – Pop Star and Lounge – with the option of five or seven seats.

Engines include Fiat’s 71kW 1.4-litre four cylinder petrol or the much-loved 78kW 0.9-litre two-cylinder TwinAir turbo-petrol, as well as 1.6-litre and 1.3-litre turbo diesels.

Interior appointments include leather trim, a satellite navigation system and a reversing camera.

As with other models in the Bambino line-up, buyers can customise their 500L Living via a choice of 19 body colours, six interior trims and a number of alloy wheels that add up to a total of 282 combinations.

The 500L Living’s launch in Europe next month marks the sixth anniversary of the birth of the modern-day 500.

The Living adds to the already extensive list of 500 body styles, including the original hatch and cabriolet, the stretched-wheelbase 500L and the upcoming 500X crossover.

Earlier this year, Fiat Chrysler Group Australia announced an aggressive push for a minimum of 10,000 local sales from its Fiat and Alfa Romeo brands, with a renewed model line-up the key to expanding sales.

The company has since added more variants including an entry-level Pop that cut the price of 500 ownership to $14,000 driveaway, and limited-run models including the $23,200 Gucci.

Fiat will re-introduce of the Punto range in August, while the quirky Panda small hatch arrives late this year.

Along with the 500L, Fiat is likely to add the Doblo and Fiorino light commercial vans next year, while the 500X crossover should arrive in 2015.

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