Unlike other websites and magazines, our ratings are not based solely on a singular road test, but rather a more encompassing batch of criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value. When comparing vehicles using our Rating System, it's important to note that the rating earned by each vehicle correlates only to the models within its class. For example, a compact car cannot be compared to a SUV—They are different vehicles altogether.
You can interpret our ratings in the following way:
5-Star: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.
4-Star: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.
3-Star: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.
2-Star: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.
1-Star: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.
2018 FIAT 500L OVERVIEW
Fiat may have returned to America six years ago with great fanfare, but the brand's bread-and-butter 500 is a niche car hampered by size and capacity restraints. Because bigger is always better here in the land of milk and honey - or at least more successful - the 500L appeases more mainstream American tastes by offering 42 percent more interior space and seating for five.
What's New for 2018
Fiat has graced the 2018 500L with myriad changes, both cosmetic and functional. A backup camera is now standard fare, as is Fiat-Chrysler's excellent Uconnect infotainment system, accessed via a seven-inch touchscreen display. Going beyond the touchscreen unit, buyers will find a new steering wheel and an overhauled center console that offers relocated cup holders, a new parking brake lever, and a new shifter. Fiat has also seen fit to massage the exterior styling, giving the 500L redesigned front and rear bumpers as well as bodyside moldings. Topping things off are fresh wheel designs and three new exterior hues.
Choosing Your FIAT 500L
The 500L is offered in three distinct trim levels: the base Pop, the mid-level Trekking and the range-topping Lounge. Regardless of trim, propulsion is provided via a turbocharged, 1.6-liter four-cylinder making 160 horsepower and hooked up to a six-speed automatic. Going back to the original 1955 500, Fiat's reputation hinges on the concept of frugal fun – but the frugality of the 500L is questionable considering the EPA estimates of 22 miles per gallon city, 30 highway and 25 combined, numbers that leave something to be desired in a market where more miserly fours are the norm.
Standard features across all trims include daytime running lamps, air conditioning, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, bluetooth capability, hill-start assist, and and an alarm. Another standard goodie is the Electronic Vehicle Information Center, which can display the average fuel economy, distance to empty, low fuel light, service intervals and outside temperature, all on a TFT screen mounted between the speedometer and tachometer.
If utilizing that last feature proves too distracting, there are a total of seven front, side-curtain and drivers knee airbags as well as active head restraints at the ready on every 500L. However, no driver-assist or crash-avoidance technology is available on any trim level, which means there is no electronic safety net to step in for drivers who may not be paying enough attention.
For those looking to make a bit more of a fashion statement, all 500Ls offer an optional black or white roof with matching side mirrors.
The highest-priced Lounge is the best value. It offers nearly all the available features as standard, and the price point is actually less than a lower-tier Pop and Trekking equipped with the Premium and Popular Equipment packages.