- Affordable running costs
- Numerous customisation options
- Off-roader Trekking model available
- Feels basic
- Awkward styling
- Lacks charm of standard 500
The Fiat 500L name is remarkably simplistic since the L stands for ‘Large' and that’s what this car is - a large Fiat 500. While it may be an extension of the 500 model range it’s more a replacement for the Fiat Multipla. For the record, the 500L is 59cm longer, 15cm wider and 17cm taller than the standard model and it's likely to go up against the likes of the Ford B-Max and Vauxhall Meriva. The idea is to offer MPV-like passenger space but in the guise of a small car. Thanks to the popularity of the 500 hatchback, Fiat is hoping that slapping the same number on a bigger model will be enough to tempt buyers to this compact people carrier. While that ploy may work for the likes of MINI it could prove a lot more difficult for Fiat, especially as the 500L's similarities with the standard 500 are small at best. Instead it feels like a mix, and awkward one at times, of the 500, Panda and larger Doblo models.
From launch the 500L is available with four engines found across the Fiat range already. The diesel engine choice comes in the forms of the 1.3-litre and 1.6-litre MultiJet II. While this is a good match for the 500L, in this car petrol is likely to be king. Fortunately there’s the choice of the 1.4-litre petrol engine or the economical and low-emitting 0.9-litre TwinAir engine. All are affordable to run and are good at helping to keep running costs down, including insurance premiums too.
In March 2014 two new engines join the range, a 1.6 MultiJet II turbodiesel and a 1.4 T-Jet petrol engine. Both are turbocharged with 118bhp available and come with some impressive fuel economy figures and low CO2 emissions.
Practical and flexible
Priority number one for the Fiat 500L is practicality and it has this in abundance. There are 22 stowage compartments dotted around the cabin, while space for rear passengers is very good. Even better is the three-level boot space to allow items to be separated neatly.
Fiat 500L Trekking
There's also a pumped-up Trekking version of the 500L which features a higher ride height, mud and snow tyres and Traction+, which allows the car to tackle mild off-roading as well. It uses the same set of engines as the regular 500L. It also features a first for a Fiat - City Brake Control will automatically brake the car at speeds of up to 19mph if it senses an impending collision.
The 500L may lack the charm and good looks that attracted so many buyers to the 500 hatchback but it more than makes up for this in flexibility and practicality. If you’re after a car that offers space, and clever and useful functionality, the 500L has to be high on the list. Is the little people-carrier worthy of the 500 name? Read the full Fiat 500L review to find out.
What owners say about this car
Fuel economy, space, visibility, versatility, i.e. seating configurations, folding and adjustment range etc., not to mention reliability, driving experience in... Read owner review
This vehicle is a good step up from the little 500, good all round visibility due to high position of... Read owner review
Car has clever seating arrangement and suits a family of 5 nicely with plenty of boot space and clever "extra"... Read owner review