Mazda CX-5 Review

The numbers indicate the Mazda CX-5 would have been Australia�??s most popular SUV in 2012 if it had been available for the full year.

Since arriving as the replacement for the relatively short-lived CX-7 in February 2012, the Mazda CX-5 has been a formidable seller for the Japanese brand.

For 2013, the CX-5 line-up is strengthened with the addition of a new 138kW/250Nm 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine borrowed from the all-new Mazda 6 medium car with which it shares other components.

Until now, the Mazda CX-5 has been at its most convincing in diesel form with the more affordable versions let down by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol that felt underpowered.� It was compounded by a dithering six-speed auto that struggled to deal with the 2.0-litre�??s lack of torque.

Mazda has responded by adjusting the mapping of both engine and gearbox, lifting the rev ceiling from 6500rpm to 6800rpm and raising power and torque marginally to 114kW (up 1kW) and 200Nm (up 2kW). The change quickens the 2.0-litre model�??s accelerative performance by four-tenths of a second to 9.1 seconds, the company says.

Only the new Mazda CX-5 2.5 petrol was available to test on launch, so a test of the revised 2.0-litre that is replaced by the 2.5 in AWD variants but continues in front-wheel-drive models will come later.

Comparing the newer, more powerful 2.5L with the previous 2.0L, however, there is the desired improvement in performance.

At first, the difference isn�??t a night-and-day case. At lower revs, your right foot still has to push through some initial resistance from the throttle pedal that�??s not so evident in the lighter Mazda 6.

From there, and in situations where drivers typically require more urge, the 2.5-litre presses home its extra 22 per cent of power and extra 26 per cent of torque over the old 2.0L.

Whether overtaking or encountering steep hills, the Mazda CX-5 2.5 delivers sufficient grunt for the occasion where the 2.0-litre would be left floundering. The six-speed auto is certainly happier, now able to hold gears rather than change up only to change down again a moment later.

There�??s also that familiar smoothness and satisfying engine note experienced in the 2.5L Mazda 6 as you rev the engine out.

Mazda doesn�??t provide any in-gear acceleration figures for the CX-5, though from rest to 100km/h the 2.5 petrol is a full second quicker (8.5 seconds) than the original 2.0-litre.

For those who prefer the driveability and fuel consumption of diesel power, the 129kW/420Nm 2.2-litre turbo diesel CX-5 is still the quickest, at 0-100km/h in 8.0 seconds, and most efficient, rated at 5.7 litres per 100km.

The 2.5-litre officially uses 7.4L/100km �?" half a litre more petrol than the old AWD 2.0-litre and a full litre of petrol compared with the front-drive 2.0-litre that continues.

During our launch drive in and around Brisbane, with mixed roads, the trip computer of the two 2.5L models we tested ranged from 8.5 to 9.5L/100km.

The bigger engine can still run on regular unleaded, while another bonus is that the cost premium in the switch from 2.0L AWD CX-5 to 2.5L AWD is just $500 �?" with the 2.5-litre range starting from $32,880 before on-road costs are added.

You can read our separate story for a more complete guide to the pricing and specifications for the 2013 Mazda CX-5 range.

That range now includes a top-tier model called Akera that is a variant incorporating a Tech pack that was previously optional on the Grand Touring.

The pack includes blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning and headlights that can automatically switch between main and high beam.

A couple of interior technology updates across the line-up include a new Bluetooth mail function that allows SMS, MMS and email to be displayed on the CX-5�??s 5.8-inch touchscreen and for messages to be read out by an automated voice.

Occupants can also use their own voice to call up to 1000 phone contacts.

Otherwise the Mazda CX-5 cabin continues as the one we�??ve previously praised for its well judged blend of quality materials and stylish design.

The perception of quality compares favourably with the interior of a BMW X1.

It continues to miss out, though, on the rotary dial menu controller that gives the similarly designed Mazda 6 interior an extra touch of sophistication. Perhaps understandably, Mazda believed cupholders in the centre console were more important for the more practical-minded SUV buyer.

And the Mazda CX-5 is practical. Roomier inside than the old CX-7 despite more compact external dimensions, there�??s a decent amount of space for heads and knees in the back seat.

Items big and small are accommodated comfortably by various storage options.

Boot space of 403 litres is on the small side by segment standards, though. The new RAV4, for example, offers 506 litres with an optional full-size spare wheel or 577 with the standard space saver.

The Mazda CX-5 features a near-full-size spare wheel but even the Mazda 3�??s boot (430 litres) is larger due to its greater depth.

The CX-5 will still swallow prams comfortably, and the Mazda�??s rear seats fold completely flat to create a total of 1560 litres.

How those seats fold is also smart. The rear sides of the CX-5�??s boot feature automatic release levers �?" the left side with a small one that automatically releases the middle seatback and a larger one for the left seatback.

They have to be pushed to go all the way down but the rear seat pews tilt forward to allow that fully flat set-up not found in every rival SUV.

That�??s also the case with dynamic qualities, an area where the Mazda CX-5 shines.

Buyers should appreciate the accurate and nicely weighted steering whether they�??re keen motorists or not.

It complements a vehicle that has clearly been engineered to be enjoyed on roads that twist and turn, and one that provides immense stability and confidence through its competent all-wheel-drive system and grippy tyres even in monsoonal conditions �?" as we experienced during the Brisbane launch.

The trade-off is a ride that is firmer compared with some competitors, though the CX-5�??s suspension is adept at deflecting surface nasties away from the cabin. The Mazda is at its most comfortable on 17-inch wheels, and gets a touch fussier on 19s.

Mazda Australia is yet to follow the trend towards capped-price servicing but continues to do consumers a service by making metallic paint inclusive where it typically costs extra.

Pricing remains imperfect for buyers, though. While the new 2.5-litre starts only $500 higher than the previous 2.0L AWD, the new engine isn�??t available in the more affordable front-drive models.

And there�??s still no Maxx variant of the diesel, meaning the excellent 2.2-litre is out of reach if the budget doesn�??t stretch beyond $40,000 when on-road costs are included.

We�??ll have to wait for that test of the revised 2.0-litre petrol to see if it�??s no longer such a weak link in the line-up, but the new 2.5-litre four-cylinder ensures the Mazda CX-5 now comes with a good recommendation in petrol as well as diesel form.

2013 Mazda CX-5 range

Mazda CX-5 2.0 Maxx FWD (man)� $27,880*
Mazda CX-5 2.0 Maxx FWD (auto)$29,880*
Mazda CX-5 2.0 Maxx Sport FWD� $33,620*

Mazda CX-5 2.5 Maxx AWD� $32,880*
Mazda CX-5 2.5 Maxx Sport AWD� $36,620*
Mazda CX-5 2.5 Grand Touring AWD� $43,780*
Mazda CX-5 2.5 Akera AWD� $45,770*

Mazda CX-5 2.2D Maxx Sport AWD� $39,470*
Mazda CX-5 2.2D Grand Touring AWD� $46,630*
Mazda CX-5 2.2D Akera AWD$48,620*

*Before on-road costs

Mazda CX-5: pricing and specifications for revised 2013 range

A new, more powerful variant of the Mazda CX-5 has gone on sale in Australia, priced from $32,880.

The CX-5�??s new 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine makes its move into the popular SUV after debuting in the all-new Mazda 6 medium car.

It replaces the 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol in all-wheel-drive versions, adding $500 to the price of the corresponding trim levels.

The Maxx Sport and Grand Touring 2.5s are priced from $36,620 And $43,780 respectively. A new range-topping model labelled Akera includes lane departure and blind spot warning systems, and high-beam control and costs from $45,770 for the 2.5L petrol or from $48,620 for the 2.2L diesel.

The alternative AWD engine remains a 2.2-litre turbo diesel with 129kW and 420Nm.

The smaller-capacity, 2.0-litre petrol engine is retained in entry-level front-drive models.

Mazda�??s new 2.5-litre produces 138kW and 250Nm, giving the 2.5-litre a notable advantage over the 113kW/198Nm 2.0-litre that has been criticised for being underpowered.

The 2.0-litre, however, has also been upgraded with the aim of improving acceleration via a remapped engine software that now sees the engine rev to 6800rpm rather than 6500rpm.

Mazda CX-5 models powered by the 2.5-litre engine uses 7.4 litres of fuel per 100km according to the official consumption cycle, compared with 6.9L/100km for the 2.0-litre.

The diesel is the most fuel efficient at 5.7L/100km.

Technology upgrades across the revised Mazda CX-5 include Bluetooth that allows SMS, MMS and email to be displayed on the SUV�??s 5.8-inch dash touchscreen, and voice command phone book.

The Mazda CX-5 colour range also gets a subtle shake up with revised shades of red (Soul Red), black (Jet Black) and grey (Meteor Grey).

2013 Mazda CX-5 range

Mazda CX-5 2.0 Maxx FWD $27,880*
Mazda CX-5 2.0 Maxx Sport FWD $27,880*

Mazda CX-5 2.5 Maxx AWD $27,880*
Mazda CX-5 2.5 Maxx Sport AWD $36,620
Mazda CX-5 2.5 Grand Touring AWD $43,780
Mazda CX-5 2.5 Akera AWD $45,770*

Mazda CX-5 2.2D Maxx Sport AWD $39,470*
Mazda CX-5 2.2D Grand Touring AWD $46,680*
Mazda CX-5 2.2D Akera AWD$48,620*

*Before on-road costs

BMW 1 Series, 3 Series High-line editions launched

BMW Australia has introduced High-line editions of its 1 Series and 3 Series coupe and convertible models, enhancing the specification and value of its small- and mid-sized two-door line-ups.

Fifty 1 Series coupes and convertibles will be offered �?" 25 of each body style �?" adding up to $4000 of value with a number of interior and exterior upgrades.

Available in either Mineral White, Space Grey and Black Sapphire paint, the 1 Series models score unique 18-inch alloy wheels, chrome line exterior highlights, white/chrome kidney grille slats, dark chrome exhaust outlets, and a silver-brown soft-top roof for the convertible.

The interior features �??Tabasco�?? Boston leather upholstery with Platinum contrast stitching across the seats and steering wheel, fineline stream trim, �??Edition�?? designation on the doorsill trim and an anthracite roofliner in the coupe.

The 1 Series High-line limited edition models are further enhanced by the standard inclusion of the Innovations package, which adds the Business navigation system and bi-xenon headlights with high-beam assist.

Meanwhile, there will be no cap on the number of 3 Series High-line models available, with the enhanced package now part of the mid-sized coupe and convertible line-up.

The High-line specification adds between $10,000 and $15,000 in interior and exterior upgrades across the range.

The 320d High-line is the big winner, adding new 18-inch alloy wheels, front parking sensors (adding to the already standard rear sensors), anti-dazzle rear-view and side mirrors, automatic transmission with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, electric seats with memory function, Professional Navigation system and harmon/kardon surround sound system.

The 325i High-line matches the specification of the 320d and upgrades to 19-inch alloys, while the 335i High-line comes standard with the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission with paddles and metallic paint.

All 3 Series High-line convertible models are also fitted with a wind deflector as standard.

Both High-line ranges will be available from March production.

BMW 1 Series and 3 Series High-line manufacturer�??s list prices:

  • 118d Convertible High-line �?" $56,262
  • 120i Convertible High-line �?" $56,262
  • 125i Convertible High-line �?" $68,200
  • 123d Convertible High-line �?" $70,562
  • 120i Coupe High-line �?" $50,462
  • 125i Coupe High-line �?" $58,662
  • 123d Coupe High-line �?" $61,262
  • 320d Coupe High-line �?" $64,900
  • 325i Coupe High-line �?" $69,900
  • 335i Coupe High-line �?" $99,900
  • 320d Convertible High-line �?" $77,900
  • 325i Convertible High-line �?" $82,900
  • 335i Convertible High-line �?" $112,900

Suzuki finalises small-scale hydrogen fuel cell production line

Suzuki has taken another step towards launching its first hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicle, unveiling a fully operational small-scale facility capable of producing its next-generation propulsion technology.

The ready-to-scale production plant opens just 12 months after Suzuki Motor Corporation and UK-based technology company Intelligent Energy joined forces to create �??SMILE FC�?? with the goal of developing and manufacturing air-cooled fuel cell systems for cars and other applications.

SMILE FC president and Suzuki executive vice president Osamu Honda explained the opening of the production line marked the successful transfer of the proven semi-automated production technology to the real world.

�??It brings us closer to delivering on our commitment to achieve efficient and cost-effective production of fuel cell systems for integration into clean energy vehicles,�?� Osamu said.

Intelligent Energy CEO Dr Henri Winand said the Yokohama-based production line was evidence of the �??rigorous, results-oriented collaboration�?� between the two companies.

�??Fuel cell systems provide one of the best solutions to reducing carbon emissions from vehicles,�?� Winand said.

�??This [small-scale production line] demonstrates how our focused commercial approach accelerates and de-risks our partners and customers�?? deployment plans.�?�

The next step in the program is to scale up the manufacturing centre to supply fuel cell stacks for Suzuki vehicles. The joint venture has access to Intelligent Energy�??s fuel cell technology under a non-exclusive licence, accelerating Suzuki�??s commercialisation of hydrogen-powered vehicles.

Suzuki has been developing its fuel cell technology for a number of years, and in 2009 unveiled the Suzuki SX4 FCV (top) at the Tokyo motor show.

BMW recalls 750,000 vehicles worldwide; local cars affected

BMW has been forced to recall about 750,000 vehicles around the world over a defect with the cars�?? battery cable connectors that can cause the engine to stall.

The recall �?" the second-largest in the German car maker�??s history �?" affects BMW 1 Series, 3 Series, X1 and Z4 models manufactured between March 2007 and July 2011.

Approximately 570,000 of the defective vehicles were sold in North America, as well as roughly 100,000 in Japan and 50,000 in South Africa.

BMW Australia has confirmed 17,500 local vehicles are affected by the recall, including variants of the current-generation 1 Series coupe and convertible, X1 crossover and Z4 sports car, and variants of the previous-generation 1 Series hatch and the 3 Series sedan, wagon, coupe and convertible.

The official recall notice published by the US Government�??s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) describes the defect, explaining the connector for the positive battery cable connector and the corresponding terminal on the fuse box may degrade over time.

�??The high current flow and heat from electrical resistance may lead to a breakage of the connection, and a loss of electrical power to the vehicle.

�??If there is a loss of electrical power to the vehicle, the vehicle may unexpectedly stall, increasing the risk of a crash.�?�

BMW Australia is contacting owners of affected vehicles by mail to alert them to the issue and assist them in arranging a time to have the recall service completed. It says the recall, which involves replacing the positive battery cable connector, should take about two hours.

The battery-related defect follows a separate recall of the BMW X5 announced earlier this week. That action �?" related to a defect with the cars�?? brake boosters �?" affects 60,000 vehicles worldwide, including 1600 local cars.

Chery J3 Review

It would be easy to take cheap pot shots at the Chery J3, one of the most recent Chinese-made vehicles to enter the Australian market.

It may be an understatement to say Chinese brands are continuing to find their way on the quality and safety front.

But while it would be a gross exaggeration to suggest this Corolla-sized hatchback signals the start of a four-wheeled �??invasion�?? of top-notch models from the world�??s most populous nation, the Chery J3 is a landmark car, a learning curve, and also a surprise.

The J3�??s external dimensions measure up slightly beyond that of the 11th-generation Toyota Corolla that recently launched at $19,990 plus on road costs, or about $23,000 driveaway.

It isn�??t as well packaged as the �??big T�?? product, but the Chery J3 costs $12,990 driveaway �?" or about 33 per cent less. That�??s also around the same price as the significantly smaller Suzuki Alto, Mitsubishi Mirage, Nissan Micra and Holden Barina Spark.

For that sub-light price the Australian importer of Chery products, Ateco Automotive, says it has ticked every box available to bring a single-specification, regular-small-sized J3 to our market.

Electronic stability control (already mandatory in Victoria) is promised next year, but standard now are power steering and windows, remote central locking with alarm, trip computer, rear parking sensors, a CD player with USB connectivity, semi-automatic air conditioning, auto lights and wipers, 16-inch alloy wheels, foglights, �??leather�?? trim, six airbags, rear map lights and an illuminated passenger vanity mirror.

First impressions are not positive, however. Despite the equipment, the Chery J3 has poor fit and finish. The gap between the headlights and front bumper is large, yet uneven, and the paint appears thin.

Expectedly for the price, the dashboard plastics are hard and the surfacing a mish-mash of texures. But the way the panels join together is merely approximate. The storage bins have uneven joins, the lids are flimsy, and every control rotates with either a stickiness or looseness, depending on which one is being turned. The seats feel overstuffed, the stereo unit looks wrenched from the 1990s, and rear headroom is limited.

Look closer and there are promising signs, however. The roof grab handles are damped, flicking back with a soft-close mechanism, and the A-pillars appear thick and therefore at least appear strong (althought crash test results aren�??t yet available).

The boot is large �?" although Chery doesn�??t quote volume �?" and a full-size alloy spare wheel resides under a nicely finished carpet. The boot gets a small light, as do the front doors, the passenger vanity mirror, and the roof above the back seat.

On the 30-degree test day, the air-conditioning worked with unfailing force, even with the engine working hard.

A genuine sense of solidity elevates the Chery J3 beyond some members of the sub-light class, such as the Holden Barina Spark. The Chery isn�??t noisy or tinny, and its suspension provides a greater level of compliance around town. The 205mm-wide, 16-inch Maxxis tyres skim over small irregularities in road surfacing, and only larger potholes make their presence felt.

The 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine, borrowed from Mitsubishi, makes decent numbers �?" 87kW of power at 6150rpm, and 147Nm of torque at 4300rpm. It�??s an old workhorse, this engine, feeling more like a diesel in the way it provides a bit of oomph right down low in the rev range and is strained through the middle band of the tachometer. Unlike an oiler, it at least delivers some degree of outright urge towards its 6500rpm cut-out.

Most modern four-cylinders have valve actuators that alter their phasing to �?" literally �?" �??lift�?? the performance of a regular four cylinder through the middle part of the rev band. But the Chery is cardboard-flat through its middle rev range, and its slow off-the-mark response is below average even by the standards of the sub-light-car segment.

At least the five-speed manual, the only gearbox available, is generally positive in its shifts, with the rubbery, stiff and long-throw action not inhibiting the overall experience. Even the pedals are well spaced, and the brakes strong.

The whole powertrain isn�??t helped by a 1350kg kerb weight, though, which makes the Chery J3 by far the heaviest car in its class. The Chery J3 will pull fifth gear at 60km/h revving at 1900rpm, which makes it more tractable and less stressed than a 1.8-litre Hyundai i30 at low revs, but it�??s also by far the thirstiest car in the class. Although rated at 8.9L/100km combined officially, we saw 12.2L/100km on test.

Perhaps most surprisingly, the Chery J3 is a decent car to hustle in the bends. There are a few asterisks that follow that statement �?" like the fact the Chery lacks any dynamic polish or sophistication. But it does the basics surprisingly well.

The steering is light yet accurate; not particularly sharp but at least pleasingly consistent. The body sits reasonably flat in corners, particularly given the good around-town ride comfort delivered in some rivals at the expense of handling.

Even control over larger bumps is more than acceptable, although mid-corner bumps shiver through the steering wheel and make an awful thump through the suspension that sounds like a strut tearing out of its tower.

The Chery J3 can raise a smile on the driver�??s face. Perverse fun is derived from flogging the engine, but also the basic balance of the chassis is rather good.

It�??s a determined understeerer �?" pushing at the front early in a corner �?" but it also grips better than its no-name rubber might suggest and is responsive to a lift of the throttle to tighten its line.

For some buyers, a return to basic values won�??t be seen as a bad thing. Technically, the car is about two decades adrift of the small car standard, but then it�??s important to remind ourselves that it costs about a third less than similarly sized rivals.

Compared with sub-light-sized price point rivals it actually compares favourably with the likes of the Barina Spark and Suzuki Alto, if not the Mirage and Micra, in every way except fit and finish.

The J3 also does some things better than big-name, more expensive cars. It feels gruntier around the suburbs than a petrol Hyundai i30, offers a better relationship between throttle and clutch than a Kia Cerato Koup, and keeps occupants cooler in summer than a Honda Jazz.

A full 20 million cars were sold in China last year, compared with just one million in Australia. With epic growth seen in the Chinese market, which for years kept its lower-middle classes on scooters, cars like the Chery J3 are shifting the home population into safer, more comfortable four-wheeled transportation in increasing numbers.

Limited quality and various key unknown factors �?" crash worthiness, reliability and resale value �?" means the Chery J3 can�??t find a place on our �??recommended�?? list.

But in global terms this is a sort of �??people�??s car�?? of China. And just like the original Volkswagen Beetle and Citroen 2CV, it too is endearingly basic.

Holden Cruze to get 1.6-litre turbo engine in March

An eagle-eyed CarAdvice reader has snapped a duo of lightly-facelifted 2013 Holden Cruze hatchbacks being tested in Sydney ahead of its March launch.

But the big news surrounding this updated Holden Cruze won�??t be the new colour palette �?" which will adopt VF Commodore colours including the �??hero�?? Fantale orange metallic shown �?" nor the redesigned alloy wheels, but what�??s under the bonnet of, and inside these, SRi-V test cars.

An all-new engine will debut in the 2013 Holden Cruze range, a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine already seen in the Cruze�??s close relative, the Opel Astra, where it produces 132kW and 230Nm.

According to a Holden source, the engine has been locally tweaked, so the new� Mazda 3� SP25-rivalling Cruze flagship may produce more power and torque. It was initially thought local engineers would tune the existing 1.4-litre turbocharge four-cylinder engine, however Holden has stumped for a larger capacity engine.

Holden is also promising a hugely improved steering, ride and handling package than that offered by the current Cruze, which launched here in 2009 and switched to local manufacture in 2011. It claims Australian engineers have done extensive work on the current car to deliver major dynamic gains.

Holden�??s MyLink infotainment system, seen in the Barina CDX and VF Commodore, will feature on the revised Cruze, the seven-inch touchscreen integrated into a new look dashboard previewed earlier this year on the facelifted Chevrolet Cruze. The new GM global software will offer the ability to download �??apps�??, including live music streaming via a Bluetooth connection to utilise mobile phone internet, with apps called Stitcher and Pandora.

Unfortunately, the 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine will remain part of the base engine line-up, with Holden engineers only tweaking the old engine to improve its performance and economy. Likewise the 2.0-litre turbo-diesel and 1.4-litre turbo petrol will carry-over from the current model.

This will be the current, first-generation Cruze�??s final facelift before the all-new model arrives in 2015 or 2016.

The big news when this 2013 Holden Cruze launches inside of two weeks, however, will be the 1.6-litre turbo SRi-V caught testing here�?�


Fiat 500L 1.6 MJT 105 CV

500L combines the iconic nature of the 500 style with traditional Fiat design functionality. The "City Lounge", as the car has been dubbed, is the result of a very special alchemy. It is a new city car concept that redefines the compact category for the modern family in an emotional vein by expanding on a few styling features of the 500 in unprecedented forms.

The model is reasserting its position as the first car for many families, and often the only car of choice of young families because it combines a number of apparently irreconcilable features all in one: the compact exterior size of a B segment car with the ample passenger room and the full equipment typical of a C segment model. All this comes at an accessible city-car price and with added-value you cannot find elsewhere: the distinctive personality of Fiat 500, the Italian design icon.

In brief, Fiat 500L has shown that growing is an opportunity not a limit. Today, the range is complemented and gets even bigger bringing the performance ratings of a C segment vehicle, too. Merit of the new 1.6 MultiJet II 105 HP turbo diesel engine and of the 0.9 TwinAir Turbo 105 HP petrol engine, two different expressions of how to deliver the same power.

Both turbo charged and technologically evolved, the two 105 HP engines provide answers to the needs of a broad, multifarious clientele with different inclinations, ages and daily use needs of their cars. More specifically, the 105 HP delivered by the 1.6 MultiJet II position 500L in the heart of the segment with an engine which is "efficient" but also fun to drive by offering the best of a diesel in terms of range and comfort and the brilliant performance of second generation MultiJet technology.

The 105 HP of the 0.9 TwinAir are different and ideal for customers who are concerned about reducing fuel consumption and emissions particularly in cities. In brief, this "aware and responsible" engine is particularly appreciated in countries where the ownership and use of high-emission cars are severely restricted and highly taxed. It is no wonder that emissions are so low that the engine complies with the European standards of 2020 already today.

Combined with a manual six-speed gearbox - C514 for 0.9 TwinAir Turbo and C635 1.6 MultiJet II - the two Fiat 500L engines carry the "cool & capable" concept also under the bonnet: both are smart for the technology they implement, for the different personality they impart to the vehicle and for their low running costs. At the same time, the engines are low on emissions and fuel consumption and generous on performance, securing real, quantifiable advantages to customers. 

The 105 HP TwinAir is already available and the orders are open for the 105 HP 1.6 MultiJet, which will be in Fiat showrooms in the major European markets as from the second half of March. The launch plan of the model across Europe will be completed in right-drive countries and will be started in North Africa by the end of the month.
C635 1.6 MultiJet II

The commercial range of Fiat 500L in Europe is growing together with its horsepower: indeed, the 100 and 120 HP range covers 25% of the total sales of the segment. A very interesting range which will certainly contribute to consolidating the excellent performance of the Fiat City Lounge which in only five months has totalled approximately 38,300 orders in Europe, over half of which outside Italy. Particularly in Italy, it is the best-selling medium sized car and ranks second among the diesels. What is more, even before the entire launch plan has been completed across Europe, Fiat 500L is the only model to be experiencing a constant rise in its segment in Europe, despite the difficult economy of the continent.

This is understandable because the new city lounge is the perfect expression of Fiat's anti-crisis recipe and a car which raises the bar in the segment: an icon of style, compact on the outside and roomy within, remarkably versatile, safe (as certified by five prestigious EuroNCAP stars), cost-effective to run and competitively priced. Thanks to these special features, the car was named "New Model of the Year 2013" by the readers of the Italian auto magazine Quattroruote ahead of the toughest German competitors.

Interestingly, 57% of 500L customers come from other brands and 61% from very different vehicles types among them: 37% from the B segment, 16% from the C segment and 8% from the A segment. This points to the fact that 500L is a trans-segment car that satisfies a large clientele with different inclinations, age and daily use needs of their cars. For instance, the functional features of the Fiat City Lounge appeal to the adult families, or empty nesters, who are most traditional customers of the higher segment models because they want functional, roomy and comfortable cars.

0.9 TwinAir Turbo

Similarly, the smiley, fun-loving look of the 500L appeals to a clientele which is much younger that the segment average, who like its sophisticated but easily accessible technological solutions and its contents which provide practical answers to the needs of daily mobility and rising environmental awareness. Incidentally, Fiat is the brand with the lowest average CO2 emissions of cars sold in Europe - only 118.2 g/km - for the fifth year running.

Finally, the new Fiat model is the first car of young families, the cool nesters. So, in line with the creative concept that "With the 500L, growing up is cool", the innovative Fiat City Lounge is growing to carry about the small pleasures and big emotions of life all together: children, friends, holidays, music and communities. So, the 500 family is following the changes in today's families and providing non-conventional answers to new lifestyles and new ways of being a family. 500L is a smart, generous model which also provides all-round protection as confirmed by the prestigious EuroNCAP 5-star rating with an overall score of 83/100, achieved 94% thanks to adult occupant protection, 78% thanks to child occupant protection, 65% thanks to pedestrian protection and 71% thanks to the driving assistance safety systems. Not least, the range has recently been complemented with the addition of the innovative City Brake Control active safety system which detects the presence of vehicles or obstacles in front of the car and automatically brakes if the driver fails to promptly intervene to avoid collisions.

Images : 2013 FIAT 500L

[Source : FIAT]