2014 FIAT 500L Review
2014 FIAT 500L Easy
1.4L MultiAir Turbo inline 4-cylinder, 160 hp, 184 lb-ft, front-wheel drive, 6-speed auto, cloth seats, 25/33 mpg
The 500L was introduced in 2014 as a big brother to the Fiat 500. Adding a bit of cargo space and 2 more doors, the 500L still maintains a smallish footprint that makes it a nice option for city dwellers. A wide variety of colors and trim levels (including Pop, Easy, Lounge, Trekking, and Urbana) allows even the most discerning Fiat buyer to configure something to their liking.
This is an Easy model, finished in Blu Chiaro paint. The vintage hue may not seem like good fit on a modern car, yet it works with the 500L’s unique styling.
There is no mistaking it for a Fiat as it wears the same “whiskers and logo” face as the rest of their lineup, yet it is on a completely different platform than the smaller 500. Despite this, it still only manages a “poor” rating in the difficult IIHS small overlap test, but “good” in all others.
The two-tone color scheme lightens up the interior nicely, although the light-colored cloth shows dirt easily. It feels like a much larger car with plenty of headroom giving it an airy feeling, and visibility is great. Glass A-pillars provide a bit of extra visibility and help push the windshield forward, contributing to the spacious feeling. Several small storage cubbies provide room to hide clutter. Even passengers relegated to the back get a good amount of space thanks to sliding rear seats.
While the hardware is there, navigation was not available as it requires purchasing a code to activate. Trip computer controls were not intuitive with controls spread over a few different places and a confusing menu. It also emits an abnormally loud beep after every startup with no apparent way to disable it.
Steering is on the light side, lending it more of a small car feel. Power was as expected from the 1.4L MultiAir turbo engine, the same powerplant used in a few other Fiat-Chrysler vehicles, but the automatic twin clutch transmission lets it down. The Euro Twin Clutch is dubbed a self-shifting automatic, but it offers excruciatingly slow and deliberate shifts, lacking any sense of urgency. It feels as if it must stop and think about how to react to throttle applications, more like someone was just learning how to shift with a clutch than a precise machine. Without even sampling it first, it is easy to tell the 6-speed manual would be the preferred option.
The biggest surprise is the amount of cargo space contained within the small Fiat design. 23 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats, growing to 68 cubic feet when folded, is enough to rival some larger crossovers.
Other than the polarizing looks and the poor crash test result of the 500L, it is a solid contender in a segment filled with other quirky options such as the Mini Countryman, Kia Soul, Nissan Cube, and maybe even the Juke. If you can embrace the inflated looks of the smaller Fiat 500, it could be a good option.
FIAT’s website fiatusa.com/en/500l
Tags: 500L, Cars, Fiat, FIAT 500L, Review