In a time when minivans are anything but miniature, it almost seems out of place to say that a brand like Fiat, known for its itsy-bitsy 500, would bring a small van to market. And yet, the 500L is coming. The 500L is similar in size to a Mini Countryman, making it slightly smaller than the next-smallest van on the market, the Mazda5.
Fiat is taking this one step further, though, and giving its pint-sized family hauler a little bit of off-pavement prowess, too. This year at the Geneva Motor Show, Fiat will debut for the European market the 500L Trekking, a small van with a handful of all-terrain features. The 500L Trekking was originally debuted in November at the LA Auto Show. This macho’d-up minivan comes with higher ground clearance for mounting curbs, an electronically-controlled front differential for extra traction, and a few cosmetic add-ons, too.
While the 500L and 500L Trekking vans aren’t nearly large enough to offer the practicality of bigger guys like the Honda Odyssey or Toyota Sienna, we think the Trekking makes a lot of sense for a small family with an active lifestyle. We see the ability to hop over a curb and park in the grass as an ultimate convenience for tailgating at the kids’ soccer games, and the small size should make for an improvement on fuel economy over the bigger guys, too.
We expect to see the 500L and 500L Trekking go on sale later this year, though prices haven’t yet been announced. Stay tuned next week for more information from Fiat at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show.