2014 Fiat 500L is road-trip ready with route tracing and trip-data analysis

With a 6.5-inch touchscreen and some handy navigation features, the new 2014 Fiat 500L proves it’s not just a longer version of its mini-car cousin, which could barely sync with your phone. It’s a car with useful tech for touring—and incidentally, also more headroom, which will help on any road trip.

Check out the "trail" button on the nav screen. Before you head out, press the button. As you drive, the car keeps track of your turns and saves them in a route. Anyone who uses the car can then follow the same route, or you can use the route again to help with tweaking travel times—for instance, making a different turn that gets you there faster. Alas, there’s no way to export the recording to your phone and share with other drivers.

Using the 6.5-inch touchscreen, you can control a bevy of useful navigation features.

A new trip computer system also helps with routing. Many cars have minimal trip computers—they’re more like calculators—that only show the miles since you started driving. The most advanced feature is an A or B trip tracker.

On the Fiat 500L, you press a button on the nav screen to see the miles travelled, average speed, time spent moving, time stopped, max speed, average speed, and other variables. For a commuter trying to save fuel, the computer can help you determine whether a different route takes longer or involves more stopping. It's also helpful on vacation if you want to save fuel and time on favorite day trips or vacation spots. It's also fun to see if you can improve your total time.

Together, the trail option and the trip computer go beyond the basics of entering a destination and following a route. They’re helpful tools to save time and fuel, still important even on a gas-sipping car like the 500L.

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