THE METEORIC RISE of the crossover means that even the humblest small cars have had to grow up and diversify, hence Fiat’s freshly facelifted 500L has now spawned three separate models.

Indoctrinated into the family for the first time is the faux 4x4 Cross, the seven-seat Wagon and this - the bread-and-butter Urban version. Fiat claims that 40% of the components are new, yet changes over the pre-facelift model are subtle, with a new infotainment system, a revised cabin and tweaked exterior styling - including a more Fiat 500-like front end - the major updates.

What hasn’t changed is the way it drives. Potential customers may not be fussed by the lack of driver enjoyment and abundance of body roll, instead focusing on the safe, predictable handling and well-judged ride quality. You’ll experience a firm but not uncomfortable gait 95% of the time.

Less enjoyable is the 118bhp 1.4-litre T-Jet engine. It’s quiet and refined until you begin to thrash it, something you’ll find yourself doing quite a lot. There’s very little oomph low down in the rev range and the gear ratios are far too long, meaning the engine needs to be worked right up to its 6000rpm redline in order to make real progress.

Stick to the 1.6-litre diesel, however, and the 500L Urban is a capable family companion - just so long as you don’t spec the panoramic glass sunroof… Standard fit on Lounge models, it slashes rear headroom and makes back-seat passengers feel like unwelcome guests.