Fiat returned to the U.S. market in 2011 with the 500, a charming Italian mini car. Lots of buyers liked the look, but needed more utility than the two-door hatchback could provide. Enter the 500L, a spacious compact wagon that's much more in tune with the needs of the market.
While the regular 500 is a boutique player, the new model will work for young families, active couples, and folks who simply want a more substantial commuter.
The 500L is all-new for 2014. Although it might look like a wagon version of the 500, the L boasts its own platform, powertrain and interior details.
The wagon's styling is faithful to the rest of the 500 line, so there's a certain Italian beauty that is at once friendly and exotic. Surprisingly, that visual appeal isn't spoiled in the least by the 500L's extra two feet of length. It's wider, too, with legitimate room for three passengers in the back seat, which reclines and slides to help you get the right mix of legroom and cargo space.
The high-mounted front seats and plenty of glass give the feeling of riding in a small crossover. With the ability to handle up to 68 cubic feet of cargo, the Fiat hauls like one too.
Under the Hood
All models carry Fiat's Multiair (i.e. turbocharged) 1.4-liter four-cylinder with 160 horsepower. With the standard six-speed manual transmission, the 500L gets 25 mpg around town and 33 on the highway. Opting for the six-speed automatic reduces these figure by about 1 mpg.
The Fiat accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 9.1 seconds, which is average for this class. As with most four-cylinder vehicles with large interiors, things slow down considerably with a full crew and their belongings on board.
The 500L doesn't offer the ultra-nimble handling of the tiny 500. Instead, it performs as a passenger wagon should, with a comfort-biased ride and fine maneuverability in everyday traffic.
The Easy features an upgraded interior with plusher fabric, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and a 520-watt sound system. Buyers can order a Beats audio package and the Popular Equipment Group with features like a power driver seat and dual-zone automatic climate control. Individual options include an automatic transmission, heated seats and a sunroof.
To commemorative the first year of the 500L, Fiat is offering the Premiere Package (rearview camera, parking sensors and navigation) free of charge starting with the Easy trim level.
The line-topping Lounge gets the automatic transmission and the contents of the Popular Equipment Group as standard equipment. Exclusive equipment to this model are leather seats and chrome exterior trim.
Pop means "base" at Fiat. You can't get an automatic transmission or any option packages. That might be enough for some folks since the Pop comes with power windows and locks, air conditioning, cruise control, and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, a 5-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, and steering wheel-mounted controls.
The Trekking offers a sportier appearance for buyers might find the basic model too cute for their taste. The body carries more aggressive front and rear fascias with black accents, foglamps, and specific 17-inch wheels. The interior gets a full two-tone color treatment. Equipment and options are shared with the Easy.
Build and price your dream FIAT 500L in just a few easy steps.
|Build & Price|