The Fiat 500L is an OK car, but "OK" isn't enough to stand out among the crowd of high-quality wagons and hatchbacks. The 500L's cargo hold is massive when you lay all the seats down (and respectable when the back seat is in use), it comes with one of the best infotainment systems around, and it tends to cost less than most other wagons. As appealing as these traits are, they do little to compensate for the 500L's faults: Its engine takes its time to get up to speed, it gets terrible gas mileage, handling is middling at best, and the seats aren't very cushy.
Nic from London
On July 7th 2015 I collected my brand new Fiat 500L Auto Popstar. After approximately 3/4 months wait I was delighted to pick up my new car. To my added surprise my husband had organised a personal number plate for me. Before purchasing the car to my own specification I did test drive a 500L but could only do so on a manual car as there was not an automatic car available locally. I was not worried about this as I was trying to get a feel for the car itself, headroom, interior etc, not the engine as I have driven automatic cars for over 30 years from driving my mums around which is a Micra to my husband's Q7, automatic feels pretty similar to me. On picking up the vehicle and driving for a couple of weeks I was a little unsure about the drive of the car. It feels quite like driving a manual as I found I was having to use my handbrake when faced with any incline. This was new to me as I have never had to use this unless of course when I was driving a manual car many years ago. I was then told by the garage that the car was duologic and the gears were slightly different. I was never told this and had I been told I would have made sure that I found an automatic car to test drive. I was not even aware what this meant! I have driven automatic cars for 30 years and this feels very different. After a couple of weeks the car cut out on me three times. Always when stationary. I took the car back to the dealership where I waited for approximately one hour but a fault could not be found. Around the beginning of September it happened again. I took the car back again and was given a courtesy car by the local car rental garage. A new throttle body was put in which apparently has something to do with the air control? I was given a courtesy car from a local car rental garage. Around three weeks after that, the car went back in. Yet again the car had cut out on me a few times. Something else was carried out to do with the RPM sensors, something that controls the speed? A week later the same thing happened again. This time at a very busy junction at the traffic lights a long way from home. The car is now back at Fiat and I have had another courtesy car for a week now. I am told Fiat engineers have looked at it and another part is being delivered for them to fix the car. Apparently something to do with a part that controls the engine?! I have now taken the new Fiat back four times, each time having to drive the car over to the garage. I have called Customer Services and logged the problem and now have a case number. I have called them and asked that someone call me back, ie a manager. I did get the feeling they weren't that interested and probably reading a script, someone will get back to you etc. I have had a problem with the radio too. Seems quite minor compared to the engine problems but still a fault! On many occasions whilst listening to the radio I have often heard the same line of a song twice. The only way I can explain what this is like is as if you were playing a vinyl record and there was dust on the needle and it sticks! Naturally, this never happens when the car is in the hands of the mechanics. I have never come across this before. A car is a very large purchase, second to buying a house. If I or most people I know actually bought something brand new, a TV, hoover, bags, shoes etc etc and it was faulty I would imagine that most would take their purchase back to the store and demand a new one, not keep having it fixed, considering it is brand new. On a plus point I love the look of the car. My husband and son are 6ft 4 plus and there is plenty of headroom. The boot is big and overall looks great.
Phil from Devon
I have had a fiat 500 L 1.3 litre automatic diesel for two months. The cars physical size is great for my requirements. The forward visability is great. I am struggling with the reversing , but that is just a matter of getting used to a different car ( I had a Peugot 3008 before – a wonderful car!). The automatic gear stick system is awful ! It is such a simple concept of needing to go forward or backwards with an automatic gear box, yet this Fiat system can be an absolute fiddly pain in the neck and it is easy to keep knocking it into manual mode accidentally. ( Typical of modern progress I suppose : – you take a simple idea and complicate it !!) The cruise control system is also a pain, you can’t tell from the display when it is actually operational and when its not ( it’s hard to explain!). I took a salesman’s word on the description of the controls as there was no automatic, cruise control version available when I ordered. What a mistake! I look forward to the end of the motabilty lease to get a better, more practically controlled car. I hoped to get 55 – 60 mpg . At the moment it is 49 mpg but I hope it will improve as I get more mileage on it ( currently it has 1700 miles on the clock). There are 3 buttons on the key fob. The boot opener has it's own button ! I am continually hitting this button when starting the engine , which opens the boot so I have to stop the engine and get out of the car to shut the boot. The spare key can't open the boot ,or the passenger door! ( It is a normal mechanical key that opens the drivers door and starts the engine only ). It would be simpler and more practical just to have the boot unlocking system on the same button as the doors. The eco drive analysis function is just a gimmick really, but its a bit of fun! Heaven forbid that you should use the brakes or accelerate - you will be punished on your performance rating! I half expected Joanna Lumley's voice to tell me that I had been a very very naught boy !!
The Trekking is one of the more popular options from what I'm aware, and is arguably one of the more visually appealing. The 500L does come in automatic 6-speed transmission configuration. It shares a cross-platform turbocharged engine with the Dodge Dart and Fiat 500 Abarth (programmed towards better fuel efficiency rather than performance such as the Abarth).
Part support is fair, with prices ranging from low to average. Service really isn't an issue, but it's all dealership dependent after all. The Multiair engine is considered a technological achievement, having received awards for best new engine in 2010. I really suggest you read further into it as it's an interesting read. Fiat has decided to install this engine into a large number of their vehicles and plans to further integrate it into Fiat and Alfa Romeo models within the coming years. As far as reliability, it's the one thing I wouldn't be hesitant to trust in.
Aside from that, Fiats have their quirks (but no better or worse than other vehicle brands). Interior and exterior material quality is up and down the board, but I feel them to be mechanically sound vehicles. I suggest you take one out for a test drive when you can to formulate your own impression.
If cargo space and manual driving weren't an issue for you, I'd most certainly recommend an Abarth for the greater level of driving satisfaction it offers.
Another nice thing: Aftermarket support for the engine is cross-platform, so devices such as the "power pedal" (which will improve throttle response and make the vehicle feel zippier) are available for the 500L, so you'll have the opportunity to consider such modifications in the future.
I'd really recommend checking out this website for more information on the 500L, multiair engine, and other Fiat vehicles as well:
Fiat 500 USA - 500 L
Best of luck in your purchase decision! :)
Too few Fiat 500L owners responded for the car to be ranked in our 2018 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey and Fiat came 23rd out of 26 manufacturers in our brand rankings, a decidedly disappointing result. The 500L should be a very safe car, though, as it was awarded the full five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests and numerous safety technology upgrades are available.
The Fiat 500L receives a mild refresh for 2018. It includes revised front and rear styling, a conventional parking brake lever and a revised center console. A rearview camera and a new 7-inch touchscreen with the newest Uconnect infotainment system are standard. The Trekking trim's new Urbana Appearance package adds black wheels and mirror caps, along with a black-painted roof. Two appearance packages debuted later in the year — the Pop trim's Chrome Appearance package, with 17-inch bright wheels and chrome exterior trim, and the Lounge's Graphite Edition, with non-painted wheels, a dual-pane sunroof, and gray-painted roof and mirror caps.
So, a compact MPV based on the underpinnings of a small family runabout. Nothing new there. Unless you apply fashionable thinking to the purchase of such a thing - in which case, this Fiat 500L remains a refreshingly different choice. It's certainly different from the 500 citycar we all know - but then of course, to suit the intended family role, it has to be. Not everyone will like the styling approach necessary to achieve this but it's surely one that sets it apart from rivals. A unique look, just as every 500 should have.
Fun, cheeky and cool, this Fiat claims to suit the sort of people looking for a car to be an extension of their personality: a car that reflects their passion for life. We're not sure if any compact people carrier can really do all that but of all those available, there's little doubt that this 500L is the one that gets closest to hitting the mark. It's a sensible family car you can really feel good about.
The 500L MPW is a mixed bag – on the one hand it offers a good deal of extra space over the 500L it’s based on for not a lot of extra money, and there’s also that seven-seat option if you really need it, and the interior is as good as any other 500L.
On the other hand, the styling is an acquired taste, you have to pay for the extra seats which are rather stingy on space for the passengers occupying them, and there are more practical vehicles available for same amount of money.
Fiat hasn’t really given the MPW any new engines, or tweaked the current ones so that there is more power to shift the extra people and luggage, so as a result it can also feel quite slow.
For those who like the looks and think that the 500L MPW still honours the quirky image held by the original 500, then go for it, but understand that there are alternatives that can do everything better in some way or another.
an from Leeds
I have had this car for a few weeks and would like to give my initial impression and will follow up with a review at a later stage. Having bought the diesel, I am hoping for increased mpg, and for my average commute around 6-7 miles each way, I am easily getting over 48mpg. This is a massive improvement on my last car (Mercedes 08 plate A-Class). Having been on a couple of longer distance runs, the mpg increased (especially due to a number of 50mph speed restrictions on the motorways in and around Yorkshire at the moment!) and had upwards of 55mpg before testing out how quick the car would go...! Internal space is great and the higher driving position and all around great visibility is a valuable asset. The vast array of cubbyholes and storage are really useful and even my 6 year old daughter has commented that there is more to see from the back seat and that she prefers the amount of space that is available. The boot space is substantial and with the seats folded up, a large amount of stuff can fit in with ease. One of the extras that we purchased with the car was the Beats Audio system with DAB radio. This is a completely amazing system and anybody who enjoys music whilst they drive will be in awe of the power and quality of the sounds produced. For me, this system has made driving a pleasure and I look forward to spending time in the car as it is comfortable, spacious and sounds fantastic. Seeing as though I will be in the car for long periods for work, I really appreciate the cruise control too. I was concerned following some negative points raised by others, but cannot recommend the 500L enough and the people who I have shown the car to all agree that it exceeds their expectations as to what they thought it would be like. One surprise is the size of the car, it does seem like a tardis, going to show that space can be utilised well in what is classed as a 'mini' MPV. I feel that other people's issues with the MPG might be negated by the smaller diesel engine which I have, but this still provides enough momentum once you get used to the short gear ratios. Fair enough it's not going to set the world on fire with it's blistering pace, but living in a world where 80% of all the countries motorways are going to be upgraded in the next 5 years, 50mph is going to be a common speed all over the country, so at least I will be comfortable and able to relax in a car which is just a little bit more individual than every other MPV on the market.
David MacLennan from Inverness
Bought this car after seeing it in showroom, 15 months old with only 5000 miles on clock at less than half of new price. Having had 3 Fiat Pandas previously this was a big jump in class for me. After three years Now of ownership I am absolutely delighted with the car, the space inside is incredible for us as a family of four with a boot that will take four suitcases when we go on holiday. High driving position( Trekking 4 inches higher than standard) Average of 48 mpg on mix of urban and rural runs with 55/56 on motorway trips. The 1.6 diesel engine is very strong, no loss of power with a full load, great for overtaking and relaxed motorway cruise. I would consider changing it but worry I would not get a car I like so much. I would rate it at 4-5 stars and can only assume the lower ratings from owners seem to be on the cars with petrol or 1.3 diesel . Flew through its MoT without any pre check and here is to another trouble-free year of motoring. Negative was squeaky back brakes but I got that fixed cheaply and front suspension top strut replaced.