Scaling up a semi-notch to take on the likes of the Mini Countryman, the new 2014 Fiat 500L will open at $19,900 when it rolls into dealer salons across the country next month. The first 4-door 500 model to be introduced here will be available in four different trim levels: Pop, Easy, Trekking and Lounge. Each will be powered by a 160-horsepower version of the automaker's 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine and backed by a 6-speed manual gearbox or a 6-speed Euro Twin Clutch DDCT (Dual Dry Clutch Transmission) automatic.

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Built off of a modified version of the Fiat/Chrysler "small-wide" architecture platform, the 500L has exceptional torsional rigidity and strength. Dimensionally, it's more than two feet longer and six inches wider than the standard Fiat 500 Hatchback and roughly 700 pounds heavier. With 12.2-inches of additional wheelbase, this 5-passenger hauler also boasts 42 percent more interior volume, including 23 cu ft of stow space with the rear seat up and 45 cu ft with it folded.

Even the sub-$20K 500L Pop includes an impressive roster of standard features that range from a full array of power assists, air conditioning, and a Uconnect 5.0 infotainment/telematics system with Bluetooth audio/text streaming, to a tilt/telescoping steering column, Hill Start Assist, Koni frequency selective damping shocks and seven airbags. The $20,995 500L Easy replaces the Pop's 16-inch steel wheels with alloys and gets a 520-watt premium audio system plus a host of interior trim enhancements. At $21,995, the Trekking steps up its game with things like more aggressively rendered front/rear fascia treatments, 17-inch alloy wheels with 225/45 tires and unique interior/exterior trim items. The range-topping Fiat 500L Lounge builds on the Easy variant, netting a host of specific trim elements, dual-zone climate control, the DCCT autoshifter, premium heated leather front seats with power four-way adjust and two-way power driver's side lumbar, and a 60/40 folding rear seat with segment-exclusive fore-aft adjustment plus recline/tumble features.

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To further sweeten the deal on the new 500L launch, Fiat will toss in the Premier Package -- an upgrade that reflects over $1,700 worth of additional goodies -- at no extra charge on the Easy, Trekking and Lounge models. This limited-time spiff includes ParkSense rear-park assist, ParkView rear back-up camera and Uconnect 6.5 with a larger 6.5-inch touchscreen and voice-activated navigation system. Buyers of the Easy and Trekking also can opt for a Premier Package+Beats/SiriusXM that brings satellite radio plus a Beats Audio studio-quality sound system with six premium speakers, 6.5-inch dual-voice coil (DVC) subwoofer with trunk-mounted enclosure and eight-channel amplifier with Beats Audio digital sound processing (DSP) algorithm. One other notable option on the new 2014 Fiat 500L is a dual-pane panoramic glass roof.

"The all-new Fiat 500L expands the reach of the Fiat brand in North America, appealing to customers who like the contemporary Italian style of the Fiat 500 but need more space and functionality to match their lifestyle needs," said Jason Stoicevich, Head of Fiat Brand North America, Chrysler Group LLC. "The Fiat 500L offers the whole package, with best-in-class interior space, class-leading horsepower, exclusive technology features and the style that only Italians can create."

You Should Also Know...

The all-new 2014 Kia Soul is heading to U.S. showrooms this fall

The Honda Urban SUV Concept will become a production model later this year

A new generation of Mini Cooper goes on sale here in 2014



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