Select a year
- Highs Generous cabin space, superb outward visibility, intuitive infotainment system.
- Lows Underwhelming powertrain, lazy handling, truly bizarre exterior design.
- Verdict The Fiat 500L is simply a half-baked attempt at a small wagon, and there are better choices out there, trust us.
The Fiat 500L delivers generous amounts of passenger room and cargo space, an excellent infotainment system, and good outward visibility thanks to its upright shape and large windows. What holds the 500L back is its total disinterest in providing an engaging drive. Lazy handling and a roly-poly ride conspire to spoil the party, as does the preponderance of cheap materials used throughout the interior. Okay, while we’re being a little mean, is there a more awkward looking small SUV/wagon on the market? Compared to the jellybean-like 500L, the answer is no.
What's New for 2018?
The 2018 Fiat 500L receives a modest makeover that updates the front and rear bumpers. This gives Fiat’s quirky wagon a slightly cleaner appearance than before, but it’s still no beauty. More appreciated is the newly standard rearview camera, a larger infotainment screen, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity across all trims.
- Pop: $22,240
- Trekking: $24,570
- Lounge: $25,140
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Under the 500L’s petite hood is a 160-hp turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Available only in front-wheel-drive format, this powertrain sounds like a moderately entertaining combo—in theory. On the road, however, straight-line speed is lacking, highway passes take patience, and loads of body lean during cornering will leave you wishing you’d handed your local Fiat dealer cash for a 500 Abarth instead.
EPA fuel-economy testing and reporting procedures have changed over time. For the latest numbers on current and older vehicles, visit the EPA’s website and select Find & Compare Cars.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
When it comes to sheer stretch-out space and headroom in the first and second row, the 500L is pretty darned impressive. This Fiat’s strange shape at least pays off when it comes to cabin room, not to mention cargo space. Behind the rear seats you’ll find roughly 22 cubic feet of trunk volume. Too bad the 500L’s seats themselves are short on support, plus there are far too many budget-priced plastics everywhere you look. In the positive column, large windows impart an airiness to the interior and outward visibility is excellent.
Infotainment and Connectivity
To be fair, while we think there are better small wagons and SUVs out there, the 500L does feature a very user-friendly infotainment system. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, and the menus within the 7.0-inch touchscreen are simple enough to be navigated with mittens on. All but the base Pop trim come with navigation, satellite radio, and a seven-speaker Beats audio system.
Safety Features and Crash Test Ratings
For more information about the Fiat 500L‘s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites.
Some older vehicles are still eligible for coverage under a manufacturer's Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program. For more information visit our guide to every manufacturer's CPO program.