breathtaking uncoolness

The All-Black-Edition Car Trend Just Jumped the Shark


February 25, 2019 Cars By

Fads have a finite timeframe. Even the best hit an inevitable saturation point. Your middle-aged uncle surprises you with a fist bump. Your 12-year-old cousin dabs on everyone at a holiday party. Your mom goes full circle and begins wearing mom jeans ironically. It’s time to move on.

The latest car fad has been blacked out detailing. Manufacturers offer a “Midnight Special” or “Nero Edizione” edition. Black paint, black accents and gloss black wheels deliver an edgier look. Manufacturers juice sales and pocket a few extra thousand. Blackout packages have become ubiquitous in the pickup, luxury SUV and sports car segments and disseminated outward. This fad has officially overextended itself with the Fiat 500L.

The Fiat 500L is about the most uncool car on the road. The original 500 was a work of art. Fiat didn’t do a bad job reinterpreting the 500 for the 2010s. The attempt to make it more practical bloated the 500 into a compact minivan. It looks wonky. It’s slow. It doesn’t get great gas mileage. We’d commend the 500L for its cargo space but the awesome Golf Sportwagen offers virtually the same capacity (more with the seats up) at the same price.

There’s a reason Fiat has a 329-day supply of 500Ls sitting on dealer lots. It’s not because legions of 500L enthusiasts are waiting for a boss, mid-engined 500L version to be released.

Fiat may have understood the 500L’s breathtaking uncoolness when it added a “Trekking” trim in between the “Pop” and “Lounge” versions. The Trekking trim now has a new “Urbana” edition ($24,000) for those making long, arduous journeys through the urban savanna. The Urbana edition adds – you guessed it – gloss black aluminum wheels and “Miron-black accents on door handles, body-side moldings, fog lamps, side mirrors and fascias.” It also has black leather seats and can be optioned for a black roof to compliment the 500L’s “distinctive Italian color palette.”

There’s no predicting who the first buyer to pick up a 500L Urban Edition will be. But he or she will, without question, be stopping for a cold brew coffee on the way home.

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