Jun 30, 2014
Reviewed By Alec Ebert
Price as Tested $26,845: 1.4-L MultiAir turbocharged I4, 6-speed Euro Twin Clutch automatic transmission, cloth and leather interior, power sunroof, heated front seats and Premier Package, 6.5-inch touch-screen sound system, GPS system, backup camera and park assist
Likes

The 500L has a very smooth ride, especially when considering the compact size of the vehicle, and it also features fantastic visibility from its many windows. The sound system (from Beats Audio) is absolutely fantastic. The half-leather, half- cloth combination on the seats gives it a unique factor that other cars of this size don’t have. At night, when the driver takes a sharp corner, a light on the side of the vehicle shines to help the driver see all the way around the corner. The infotainment system stops you from monkeying around with the controls while driving. While in motion, the entire thing can only be controlled through the steering wheel controls. The idea is to keep the driver’s eyes on the road.

Dislikes

The turbocharged engine is too small to handle the weight of the car. The turbo lag is so atrocious that you need to build up the revs to 3,000 to get anywhere. At the same time, the transmission is too slow to figure out you need to be in 2nd gear to achieve this. The design of the car is a little quirky and looks almost unfinished. There are body lines flowing everywhere, with almost no sense of direction. The steering is also an electronic assist system, which makes it very numb and unresponsive.

Verdict

 

The 500L feels almost unfinished. The engine and transmission combo on this small crossover wagon need some refinement, as does the styling of the car itself. However, the interior is very impressive, with lots of available options and a high-quality build. This is a whole new vibe from Fiat. Overall, the car is pretty good, but not great, but with a few crucial refinements it has potential to give off the fun, buzzy feeling of the smaller and lighter Fiat 500. With a $26,845 price tag, the car is too expensive. A fully loaded comparable Scion Xb is about $22,000 and has a lot more interior space and much more put-together styling — and almost all of the options available on the Fiat. All in all, the 500L has lots of potential. It’s a terrific platform for buzzing around the city, and it has plenty of interior room for people, dogs, groceries and sports equipment. It just needs a few styling changes, powertrain refinement and a more modest price tag.

 

Fun to Drive
3.5 rating
Fun to Look at
3.0 rating
Overall Experience
4.0 rating
Stats
EPA Mileage 24/33