FIAT

FIAT 500L HATCHBACK 1.4 Sport 5dr

Fuel

FuelPetrol

Transmission

TransmissionManual

Acceleration

0 - 62 mph13.9s

WLTP - CO2 (g/km)

WLTP - CO2170 g/km

The 500L is a five-seater compact MPV that doesn't feel like one, taking care of people and baggage-carrying chores with a practical dash of Italian flair. In this improved form, it's safer, smarter and better connected. And it's still more personalisable than any other contender in this class.

LARGING IT

The Fiat 500L MPV has sharpened up its act. Jonathan Crouch looks at what's now on offer.

Ten Second Review

The 500L is a five-seater compact MPV that doesn't feel like one, taking care of people and baggage-carrying chores with a practical dash of Italian flair. In this improved form, it's safer, smarter and better connected. And it's still more personalisable than any other contender in this class.

Background

Fiat has its own 'fortune 500', a little family of cars on which present and future hopes of the brand are these days almost exclusively based. The 500 we all think of is the cheeky little three-door citycar that started this model's retro revolution but Fiat always felt that this should be merely the starting rung on an ownership ladder designed to be fine for families as well as fashion-conscious urbanistas. A ladder encompassing seven seats and SUVs as well as the model we're going to look at here, the spacious and now much improved 500L. Fiat's fame of course has traditionally been founded on much smaller cars than this - but the brand needs to get better at being bigger if legions of owners of the 500 citycar are not to be lost to other makers as their needs and families grow. Launched originally back in 2013, the 500L aimed to give these people a model to trade up to - but it needed a bit of polishing. That's what's taken place here.

Driving Experience

You get an urban confidence with the 500L, something encouraged by the light lock-to-lock steering. A car you might enjoy on the school run. If not quite so much pushing on beyond the city limits. Here, you might wish that the steering offered you a little more feedback, a pity because in other respects, this is one of the more dynamically able five-seat mini-MPVs on the market. Unfortunately, only one engine is now on offer, a 95bhp petrol 1.4 that's one of Fiat's older efforts and which, thanks to limited pulling power, doesn't really feel as fast as the performance stats suggest (rest to 62mph in 12.8s on the way to 111mph). Beyond the city limits, the 500L feels a little out of its comfort zone. Here, you might wish that the steering offered you a little more feedback and that there was a bit less body roll through the bends. That probably won't bother most likely owners too much but on longer trips, they might wish that the issue of refinement had been slightly more thoroughly addressed. We highlighted this when we first tested this car back in 2012 and nothing's been done to improve things since, which is a touch disappointing. It isn't something you really notice at lower speeds, but when you're pushing or are cruising at or around the legal limit on the highway, there's simply more road and wind noise than you'd normally expect from a car of this kind.

Design and Build

You tend to approach this 500L expecting it to be a pumped-up version of the 500 citycar - which of course it isn't. To make this model as big as it needed to be - fully 60cm longer and 18cm taller than an ordinary 500, so in Fiat terms, longer than a Punto supermini and as wide as a Tipo family hatch - Andreas Wuppinger's styling team had to use a Punto floorplan as the basis for something quite different. Then give the end result a recognisable '500'-style twist, hence the familiar wide-eyed front end. As BMW found when trying to super-size the MINI to create the MINI Countryman, that isn't a recipe for aesthetic elegance - and it certainly isn't here - but it has left room for some very clever touches. Just look at the flow of the wraparound windscreen for instance, designed to give almost 360-degree vision. This improved model has in recent times been lightly re-styled and now features LED daytime running lights. Plus the revised front bumper and a chromed-studded three-dimensional lower grille mesh now give the car a more elegant look. Inside, the instrument binnacle you view through the re-styled steering wheel has been re-designed too. As before, this is one of the most practical models in the compact MPV class. Three adults can comfortably sit on the back seat, plus standard models have a 455-litre boot.

Market and Model

It isn't only the concept, the size and the styling of this model that's different from the 500 citycar. The price is very different too. The asking figures start from around £18,000 and run to just under £21,500. Buyers are presented with the choice of four main variants - standard 'Pop', the 'Connect', the SUV-like 'Cross' model and the sportier 'Sport'. The 500L 'Connect 'comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, body-coloured door mirrors. The 500L 'Cross' comes as standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, fog lamps, rear parking sensors, dusk and rain sensors, automatic air conditioning. Camouflage-motif interiors or optional black leather seats are also available. The 500L 'Sport' has also been enhanced, with 17-inch alloy wheels, City brake control, electrochromatic rear view mirror, interior in black technoprene, privacy glass and ambient lighting. Has any five-seater compact family five-door ever offered more scope for buyer personalisation than this one? We doubt it. There are decal packs to suit every taste and a wider range of paint colours than any compact car has ever offered. Whichever shade you choose, you can contrast it with a different finish for the wheels, the door mirrors - oh and the roof too. Inside, there's a body coloured-painted dashboard offered in five different shades or with beautiful suede trim. You can also specify a two-tone steering wheel and there's a choice of red or grey seat inserts.

Cost of Ownership

The WLTP running cost returns of the 95bhp 1.4-litre 16v petrol unit aren't especially eye-catching despite a standard stop/start system - up to 39.2mpg on the combined cycle and up to 168g/km of CO2. Still, you can do your bit on the frugality side thanks to the clever 'eco:Drive LIVE' system that's built into the centre-dash infotainment screen in most variants. Fiat says it's a bit like having a personal trainer on board. This electronic coach isn't looking to fight the flab, but instead is looking to trim your figures rather than your figure; specifically those for fuel and CO2 efficiency. Earlier versions of the 'eco:Drive' system did this by monitoring your driving style, then producing a report you had to download onto a USB stick, then view on your home PC - which was all a bit nerdish. Here, it's all done with live assistance, analysing your driving in real time and making suggestions instantly displayed on the dash-mounted UConnect infotainment screen. Your progress is graded in four areas - acceleration, deceleration, speed and shifting - and there's a little leafy tree graphic and a continually updated 'current trip index score' to show you how effective your efforts towards frugality have been. What else? Servicing? Well that will be needed every 18,000 miles.

Summary

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.

  • Electric front windows
  • Heated rear window
  • Athermic windscreen
  • Rear electric windows
  • Dark tinted rear windows

  • City brake control with autonomous emergency braking
  • ESC (Electronic Stability Control) including ASR/MSR, Hill holder, ABS+EBD, ERM, DST and BAS

  • Front floor mats

  • 25mm higher ride height

  • Apple car play/Android Auto

  • Parkview rear parking camera
  • Dualdrive power steering
  • Cruise control

  • Dusk and rain sensors
  • Start/Stop function

  • Uconnect live service
  • 7" HD Touchscreen Radio with 3D Navigation, Bluetooth, USB, Aux-in and DAB
  • 3D Navigation
  • 3.5" colour TFT screen
  • Trip computer

  • Electric adjustable door mirrors
  • Electrically foldable door mirrors with puddle lights
  • Electrochromatic dipping rear view mirror

  • Titanium grey dashboard

  • USB ports in central console

  • Sport badge on front fender
  • Red 500 logo on front seats
  • Matt black front grille
  • Front and rear skid plates with matt black finish
  • Black grained licence plate holder
  • Body coloured side mouldings
  • Body colour bumpers

  • Front fog lights

  • Dual zone automatic climate control

  • Front armrest
  • Leather gear knob
  • Auxilliary 12V power socket
  • Cargo box
  • Height adjustable steering wheel
  • Reach adjustable steering wheel
  • Glovebox with lid
  • Aluminium covered gear knob
  • Steering wheel with 4 segment touch points
  • Techno leather steering wheel with audio controls
  • Cargo Magic space - height adjustable load platform

  • Ambient interior LED light

  • 6 airbags - Driver, front passenger, curtain and side airbags
  • Tyre pressure monitoring system
  • 3x3 point rear seatbelts

  • 3 rear head restraints
  • Height adjustable drivers seat
  • Isofix child seat attachment
  • Driver seat lumbar adjustment
  • 60/40 split folding rear seat back
  • Sports seats
  • Passenger seat height/lumbar adjustment
  • Front headrests
  • Tumbling function for rear seats

  • Locking fuel filler cap
  • Locking wheel nuts
  • Remote central locking
  • Engine immobiliser

  • CO2 (g/km): 142
  • Standard Euro Emissions: EURO 6
  • HC+NOx: N
  • Particles: N
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb: 170
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb - Max: 182
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb - Min: 170

  • Cylinders: 4
  • Cylinder Layout: IN-LINE
  • Number of Valves: 16
  • Camshaft: DOHC
  • Fuel Delivery: MULTI POINT FUEL INJECTION
  • Catalytic Convertor: True
  • Engine Layout: FRONT TRANSVERSE
  • Compression Ratio: 10.8:1
  • Transmission: MANUAL
  • Gears: 6 SPEED
  • Cylinders - Bore (mm): 72
  • Cylinders - Stroke (mm): 84
  • CC: 1368

  • EC Directive 1999/100/EC Applies: False
  • EC Urban (mpg): 39.8
  • EC Extra Urban (mpg): 49.6
  • EC Combined (mpg): 44.8
  • WLTP - MPG - Low - Min: 30.1
  • WLTP - MPG - Low - Max: 29.4
  • WLTP - MPG - Medium - Min: 39.2
  • WLTP - MPG - Medium - Max: 37.2
  • WLTP - MPG - High - Min: 42.8
  • WLTP - MPG - High - Max: 39.8
  • WLTP - MPG - Extra High - Min: 35.8
  • WLTP - MPG - Extra High - Max: 32.5
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb - Min: 38.7
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb - Max: 36.2
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Low - Min: 9.4
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Low - Max: 9.6
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Medium - Min: 7.2
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Medium - Max: 7.6
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - High - Min: 6.6
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - High - Max: 7.1
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Extra High - Min: 7.9
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Extra High - Max: 8.7
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb - Min: 7.3
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb - Max: 7.8

  • Generation Mark: 1
  • Alternative Fuel Qualifying: False
  • Did at least one aspect of this vehicle's safety give cause for concern?: False
  • Special Edition: False
  • Special Order: False
  • Based On ID: N
  • Insurance Group 1 - 50 Effective January 07: 10E
  • Service Interval Mileage: 18000
  • Service Interval Frequency - Months: N
  • NCAP Adult Occupant Protection %: N
  • NCAP Child Occupant Protection %: N
  • NCAP Pedestrian Protection %: N
  • NCAP Safety Assist %: N
  • NCAP Overall Rating - Effective February 09: N
  • Badge Power: 95
  • Badge Engine CC: 1.4
  • Vehicle Homologation Class: M1
  • Coin Series: Sport
  • Coin Description: N
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Years: 3
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Mileage: 999999
  • Manufacturers Paintwork Guarantee - Years: 3
  • Manufacturers Corrosion Perforation Guarantee - Years: 8

  • Engine Power - KW: 70
  • Engine Power - RPM: 6000
  • Engine Torque - LBS.FT: 94
  • Engine Torque - NM: 127
  • Engine Torque - RPM: 4500
  • 0 to 62 mph (secs): 13.9
  • Top Speed: 101
  • Engine Power - BHP: 95
  • Engine Power - PS: True
  • 0 to 60 mph (secs): False
  • Engine Torque - MKG: 13

  • Emissions Test Cycle: WLTP

  • Alloys?: True
  • Space Saver?: False
  • Wheel Style: N
  • Tyre Size Front: 225/45 R17
  • Tyre Size Rear: 225/45 R17
  • Tyre Size Spare: TYRE REPAIR KIT
  • Wheel Type: 17" ALLOY

  • Width (including mirrors): 2018
  • Height: 1679
  • Height (including roof rails): N
  • Length: 4276
  • Width: 1800
  • Wheelbase: 2612

  • Minimum Kerbweight: 1320
  • Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres): 50
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Up): 455
  • No. of Seats: 5
  • Max. Towing Weight - Braked: 1000
  • Max. Towing Weight - Unbraked: 400
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Down): 1480
  • Turning Circle - Kerb to Kerb: 10.7

  • Heated front windscreen: £350

  • Rear parking sensor: Included

  • Child view rear mirror: £55

  • Hifi by beats audio system: £700

  • Additional special solid paint: £350
  • Special solid paint: Included
  • Metallic paint: £550
  • Electric sunroof: £950
  • Fixed glass roof: £650
  • Metallic paint with gloss Bicolour roof and mirrors: £900
  • Metallic paint with matt Bicolour roof and mirrors: £1,025
  • Solid paint with gloss Bicolour roof and mirrors: £450
  • Solid paint with matt Bicolour roof and mirrors: £575
  • Special solid paint with gloss Bicolour roof and mirrors: £700
  • Special solid paint with matt Bicolour roof and mirrors: £825
  • Titanium grey finish door handles and door mirrors: Included

  • Leather upholstery with Techno leather inserts: Included
  • Smoking kit: £55

  • Leather pack - 500L: £1,000
  • Flex pack 1 - 500L: Included
  • Flex pack 2 - 500L: £175
  • Flex pack 3 - 500L: £350
  • Style plus pack - 500L: £200
  • Safety pack - 500L: £325
  • City pack - 500L: £300

  • Metallic - Heavy metal grey: £550

  • Special solid - Darkwave black: £0
  • Special solid - Pasodoble red: £350
  • Special solid - Bossanova white: £350
  • Solid Bicolour - Bellagio Blue with gloss black roof and mirrors: £450
  • Solid Bicolour - Bellagio Blue with matt black roof and mirrors: £575
  • Solid Bicolour - Bellagio Blue with gloss white roof and mirrors: £450
  • Special Solid Bicolour - Pasodoble red with gloss black roof and mirrors: £700
  • Special Solid Bicolour - Pasodoble red with matt black roof and mirrors: £825
  • Special Solid Bicolour - Bossa nova white with gloss black roof and mirrors: £700
  • Special Solid Bicolour - Bossa nova white with matt black roof and mirrors: £825
  • Metallic Bicolour - Heavy metal grey with gloss black roof and mirrors: £900

  • Leather - Black with red stitching + Tehcno leather inserts: £0
  • Leather pack - Sport black: £1,000

  • 17" alloy wheels with matt black finish and red hub caps: Included
  • 17" Trekking matt black alloy wheels: £300

  • Fix and go puncture repair kit: Included
  • Space saver spare wheel: £100

Whilst every effort is made to verify and ensure the accuracy of the data, the information should only be used as a guide and no purchasing decision should be made without verification of the data from either the manufacturer or franchised dealer. Our offers may be on a different model year to that represented by this data and so specification may differ accordingly.

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