2020 Fiat 500L
Starting at $23,995
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- Highs Huge cargo space, good outward visibility, standard Android Auto/Apple CarPlay.
- Lows Turbo lag and a lazy transmission slow it down in traffic, clumsy handling, no driver-assistance features offered.
- Verdict Awkward to drive, awkward to look at, the 500L gets no love from us.
Americans have taken a shine to small crossovers, but the 500L isn't one of them. Although the 500L offers serious cargo space, that's really the only thing to recommend this oddly proportioned wagon. Driving it in traffic is a chore, as acceleration is sluggish, and when the road opens up, you still have to tolerate the Fiat's uncoordinated ride and handling. Interior furnishings are cheap, and you can't get modern driver-assistance aids such as blind-spot monitoring or adaptive cruise control. If you're looking for a small wagon or crossover with a smidge of style and utility, the Kia Soul, Mazda CX-3 and Nissan Kicks are far better choices.
What's New for 2020?
There are no changes to the 2020 500L, but Fiat has confirmed that this will be the model's final year on the market.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
Equipment levels are similar among the trim levels offered for the 2020 Fiat 500L. If you want leather upholstery, heated seats and 17-inch wheels, you'll need to start at the Trekking or Urbana (a Trekking with a slimming blackout appearance package) trim versions. The Lounge has a few more standard features, including lumbar adjustment and rear parking sensors, but these are optional on the Trekking. Ultimately, your decision will come down to personal taste, as each version of the 500L has slightly differently styling.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The 2020 500L is equipped with a 160-hp turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine. A six-speed automatic transmission drives the front wheels; all-wheel drive is not available. At our test track, the Fiat 500L returned a 8.0-second result in our zero-to-60-mph test. That's on par with the CX-3 and significantly quicker than the Nissan Kicks, but numbers don't tell the whole story here. The pudgy 500L feels lethargic when you try to accelerate in traffic: The engine exhibits considerable turbo lag, and the automatic transmission exacerbates the issue with its slow downshifts. Enthusiast drivers will be similarly disappointed by the 500L's handling. Pitched into a corner, the wagon's tall body leans heavily and the steering, though fairly quick to respond to driver inputs, fails to provide adequate feedback for spirited motoring. Things don't get any better on the highway, where the Fiat lacks composure and bounces over expansion joints.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Fuel economy is well below average for this class, as the EPA rates the 2020 Fiat 500L at 22 mpg city/30 mpg highway. Over our 200-mile highway fuel-economy test route, we managed 31 mpg.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Both front- and rear-seat passengers will find ample space to stretch out inside the Fiat 500L's cabin, though the seats themselves provide little support. Large windows provide excellent outward visibility. An available panoramic sunroof provides an airy feel, but you should skip this option if you're more than six feet tall. Cargo capacity is impressive for this class, with 22 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 68 cubic feet when they're folded. Cheap materials are the main letdown inside the 500L, and we've noted poor build quality in our test vehicles.
Infotainment and Connectivity
All 2020 Fiat 500L models come with a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment interface with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration. A Beats audio system is standard on all but the base Pop trim, on which it's optional. An in-dash navigation system is included on Trekking, Urbana, and Lounge models. There is one USB port with data transfer/charging capability.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Although the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not released crash-test ratings on the Fiat 500L, the IIHS has tested this small wagon. It earned Good ratings in the moderate-overlap front and side crash tests but received a Poor rating (the lowest) in the Institute's small-overlap front crash test. Fiat offers rear parking sensors on the 500L (as a supplement for the back-up camera) but don't expect more advanced driver-assistance features such as automated emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring or adaptive cruise control. Rivals offer these features, and the Kia Soul can even be equipped with lane-keeping assist. Key safety features include:
- Available rear parking sensors
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Fiat offers solid limited warranty coverage, but the 500L's powertrain warranty is skimpy for this class. Most rivals offer 5-year/60,000-mile coverage, while the Soul tops all competitors with its 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain guarantee.
- Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance