The 500L, which came out a couple of years ago, was the first model developed as part of Fiat’s strategy of tapping into markets outside Europe where larger vehicles are in demand. Much like what Mini did with the Countryman, Fiat took the iconic 500 microcar and transformed it into something much more spacious and practical. And when we drove the car in Italy in 2014, we found that although it doesn’t drive like a hot hatch, but retains much of the Cinquecento’s quirkiness.

Looks like Fiat is already working on an update to the crossover. The spy shots we have received this week show a heavily disguised 500L being transported on a truck bed. Despite the camo, we can see that the front end has been changed substantially, complete with a new grille and possibly restyled air intakes. Even the headlights appear to have been redesigned incorporating new LED signature lighting. The rear of the car also wears some heavy camouflage, suggesting extensive changes, mostly to the bumper, taillights and the tailgate door.

The updates are expected to be just cosmetic though, with most of the mechanical bits likely to carry over. While the car we drove in Italy was powered by a 1.4-litre turbocharged engine that’s good for 118bhp and 215Nm of torque, what is available in our market now is an even more powerful version of the 1.4-litre Multiair block that puts out out 160bhp and 250Nm of torque. So it’s likely that the facelifted Fiat 500L will have the same motor under its bonnet when it reaches our shores in less than a couple of years. As these are the first spy photos of the upcoming midlife makeover, we are looking at a global reveal not earlier than 2017, with sales set to start sometime early 2018.