Fiat unveiled its Fiat 500L Vans design concept at this past weekend's US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, Calif. In addition to being outfitted for beach duty, the concept sports design cues inspired by Vans' original hi-top sneaker.
The design concept sports some distinctive paintwork, featuring a surf-inspired white-on-blue color scheme. The interior of this Fiat 500L concept continues the Vans theme, with seats upholstered in palm tree-print canvas. The pedals and storage bins are covered in the trademark Vans Waffle Sole pattern, and a Vans logo is plastered on the instrument cluster and dash panel. The roof features the famous Vans Checkerboard design, and the step pad, grille, and body cladding make further use of the Waffle Sole pattern. A roof rack has been added, featuring a basket and a double-decker surfboard carrier. The 500L rides on 18-inch matte-black wheels, providing an aggressive, sand dune-ready appearance. Last year, Fiat unveiled two seaworthy Fiat 500 watercraft during the surfing competition.
Mechanically, the design concept is untouched. Under the hood resides the same 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that powers all Fiat 500L models, pumping out an adequate 160 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. In the design concept, the engine is paired to the standard six-speed manual transmission. Where the Fiat 500L really stands out is with its accessible cargo utility in a relatively small package. With all seats in place, the standard storage is a respectable 23 cu-ft. When we first drove the Fiat 500L, we found it to be a likeable car with plenty of character and utility, a worthy alternative to the Mini Countryman.