After the success of the Maruti Ertiga, Fiat has been studying the option of launching a seven-seat version of its 500L micro-MPV.
Based on a modified Punto platform, this extended version of the five-seat 500L will have a large rear overhang, flat folding seats on all three rows and some really clever packaging. The car pictured here is only a computer-generated image based on the recently shown 500L.
What’s immediately evident is that this car’s neo-retro styling works well, despite the slightly ungainly MPV proportions. The non-aggressive, round-edged details lend this MPV a cheerful demeanour. The nose is pure Fiat 500 (albeit with elongated headlights), the big wraparound glasshouse looks stunning, the surfboard-like roof is super cool and the elongated tail-lights match the long lights at the front. The big, squared-off wheel arches look a bit out of character though.
Interior space will be maximised by compacting internal fittings and fixtures, and the insides will have coloured inserts on the dash that match the colour of the car. Fiat has used slim pillars and wrap-around glass to lend an airy feel to the cabin and the neo-retro look has been carried onto the dash of the car too.
Fiat is likely to use the updated 90bhp version of its 1.3 diesel (called Multijet II) to power this car. The updated engine features advances in areas of injection, turbocharging and internal friction.
This extended seven-seat version of the 500L is expected to replace the Fiat Idea in Europe, and Fiat is expected to sell it in other grown-up markets like the US as well. That will mean the 500L will be engineered to meet global crash-test norms and that certainly bodes well for India as well.
If Fiat fully localises this car, expect nothing more than an Ertiga-matching price of between Rs 8 to 10 lakh.