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2014 FIAT 500L

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2014 FIAT 500L Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 6.4

For those who love the diminutive Fiat 500's looks and charm, but just can't make its tiny interior space work, the all-new 500L is the Italian automaker's fine answer. Like its provisional competitor, the Mini Cooper Countryman, the 500L has the whimsical, retro styling of its subcompact sibling, but a lot more room. Though still small by most standards, the 5-passenger 500L boasts interior space in spades, with a versatile rear seat that's comfortable for adults. The 500L is not as dynamic or fun to drive as the Countryman, Nissan Juke or Kia Soul, but it feels more comfortable and quiet when cruising at highway speeds. With a starting price under $20,000, the Fiat 500L also brings value with its Euro charm.

You'll Like This Car If...

The 2014 Fiat 500L is an all-new car, and marks the second major model in Fiat's U.S. lineup. Compared to the Fiat 500 (aka the Cinquecento), the 500L has 42 percent more interior space.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you're hoping for Mini-like go-kart handling and zippy performance, you're better off sticking with the Mini Countryman or, for those on a tighter budget, the Nissan Juke. Those requiring all-wheel drive should also look to the Countryman or a Nissan Juke, since it isn't offered in the Fiat 500L.

What's New for 2014

The 2014 Fiat 500L is an all-new car, and marks the second major model in Fiat's U.S. lineup. Compared to the Fiat 500 (aka the Cinquecento), the 500L has 42 percent more interior space.

Driving the 500L

Driving Impressions The Fiat 500L uses the same turbocharged engine as the 500 Abarth, but the 500L does not share that smaller car's feisty traits. The 500L is a bigger, heavier vehicle,...

and that's quickly evident when you drive it. In the low-rev range, the 500L takes its time getting up to speed, and acceleration in general is nothing to boast about. Neither are the handling dynamics. The 500L doesn't beg to be thrown around corners like a Mini. Where the 500L does excel is in ride comfort. While other small cars can succumb to jitteriness at freeway speeds, the 500L feels solid and at ease. Unlike the Mini's stiffer suspension that can be jarring over rough roads, the 500L's softer setup tames imperfections with aplomb. The 500L's 6-speed manual transmission is a smooth, clean-shifting gearbox, and its optional Euro Twin Clutch automatic shifts in a non-intrusive manner.

UCONNECT SYSTEM
The 500L is the first Fiat to include Chrysler's well-respected telematics system. Audio, hands-free communication, navigation and more are controlled via a standard touch-screen system that's responsive and easy to use.

QUIET CABIN
Just as impressive as this 4-door hatchback's interior volume is its lack of volume in the other sense – cabin noise. The 500L's passenger compartment is quiet, a trait that will be especially appreciated by drivers with longer commutes.

2014 FIAT 500L Details
2014 FIAT 500L photo Interior

Here is where the biggest difference lies between the Fiat 500L and its 500 sibling. Technically, the latter has four seats, but the two rear ones are very tight. The 500L, though, has a 3-person rear bench that can comfortably fit two adults. Rear legroom is impressive at 36.7 inches, nearly three inches more than a Mini Cooper Countryman. What's more, the 500L's rear seats recline, slide, flip and tumble forward for cargo/passenger versatility. Headroom in all seats is sky-high. Outward visibility is good thanks to design elements such as a front pillar split by glass and wraparound rear windows. Dash controls are easy to discern and use.

Exterior
2014 FIAT 500L photo

Next to the 2-door 500, the 500L looks downright bloated. An extra pair of doors, taller profile and voluptuous rear will do that. Despite the design tradeoffs inherent in this car's pragmatics, the 500L has its own share of cuteness. Who could resist those doe-eyed headlights, "floating" roof, and propeller-like front grille piece encircling a big red "FIAT" logo? Those seeking a slightly tougher 500L should take the Trekking model, which features beefier front and rear aesthetics, and larger, 17-inch wheels.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 500L is available in four trims: Pop, Easy, Trekking, and Lounge. At less than $20,000, the Pop comes comfortably equipped with power accessories, air conditioning, cruise control, and Uconnect telematics with a 5-inch touch screen, Bluetooth streaming audio, and a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD player with USB and auxiliary inputs. Easy models add 16-inch aluminum wheels, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and 520 watts of premium audio. Trekking models include 17-inch wheels, a 2-tone interior and premium cloth seats, while top-line Lounge models come with the 6-speed twin-clutch automatic transmission and leather seats (heated and powered up front). All 2014 models (except Pop) receive the Premiere Package free, which includes a 6.5-inch touch screen, navigation, a rearview camera, and rear-park assist.

Optional Equipment

Music lovers will appreciate the Beats Audio system that includes six premium speakers and a thumping subwoofer. Leather seating is also available, as is a dual-pane sunroof, power front seats, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, and HomeLink universal garage door opener. Trekking models can be outfitted with heavier-duty cloth seats, and all 500L models except the base version can be had with a black or white roof to give it that "floating" design.

Under the Hood

The 2014 Fiat 500L is powered by a small, efficient, turbocharged engine that drives the front wheels. Initial transmission choices are a 6-speed manual or 6-speed Euro Twin Clutch, which operates like an automatic, but offers higher fuel efficiency. A traditional 6-speed automatic transmission is set to be available at a later date. The Fiat's turbocharged 1.4-liter engine can run on 87-octane gasoline, but premium 91-grade is recommended.

1.4-liter turbocharged inline-4
160 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
184 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500-4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy, estimated: 25/33 mpg (manual), 24/33 mpg (twin-clutch automatic)

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2014 FIAT 500L Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.4
Out of 10

Based on 30 Ratings for the 2014 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.2/10
  • Reliability
    8.8/10
    Performance
    8.3/10
  • Comfort
    8.7/10
    Styling
    8.7/10

Spacious but low quality.

By on Wednesday, January 27, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,500

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
3/10
Styling
3/10
Comfort
5/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3

Passenger door interior bubbling and seperating!

"Between a weak transmission (meaning the automatic won't shift until you reach over 4k RPM)and a slow get-up-and-go, this vehicle is not a "pleasure" to drive. The interior has already begun to separate, examples of the driver and passenger door lining falling off from the metal, etc. Don't get me wrong, the spacious 4D and hatchback has it's perks: vast window creates minimal blind spots and great clarity, a low sitting rear deck equals easy load in and unload of any larger or heavy items, and hooking up car seats or loading up larger items into the backseat is a breeze. The technology of the Uconnect system is really lacking. The navigation system is VERY slow to respond, often freezing, and that is even with the SECOND system, having a new installed only 2 weeks after purchase. The resale value has DROPPED CONSIDERATELY! Bought it for $26000 and got a GREAT deal, but it is only reselling for $15000 MAX when traded in. Even for those in excellent condition!!! The black paint is of a lower quality and this is literally the DIRTIEST black car I have ever seen, with a thick layer of dirt showing only after being had washed 2 days prior. Scratches have also starting showing up, even from a person brushing up against the vehicle. The back up camera lags and creates more problems than solutions when trying to use it. The brakes are very sensitive and almost hard to control. The emergency brake doesn't want to respond on the occasion, either refusing to unlatch or refusing to connect! The metal "accents" on the exterior are also coming off, clearly only being adhered with glue. Overall, a cheaply made vehicle that does not last long from the day you buy it. Great space, but is it really worth it?"

Passenger door interior bubbling and seperating!

Poor Reviews = Great Deal! Trekking $14.5k

By on Friday, December 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,700

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
8/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
Not Rated
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, great deal, many bells & whistles..."

Cons: "No deal breakers..."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"CAR--2014 FIAT TREKKING MANUAL trans; BEATS Audio; fully LOADED (no sunroof, heated seats or visor-built-in garage door opener) PAID: $14,595 + tax/fees. (Last 2014 left on lot June2015, $9k discount.) NOTE: CAPS are used for easy reference of points in article. REPLACED--2003 VW PASSAT wagon 1.8lT ABOUT US—This is our SO CA 'family' car. We’ve owned mostly German cars (BMW & MB), and I had to ‘force’ my European husband to check out the Fiat. We both have lived in Europe, so the look, size, & power of the car are not strange to us. We installed a THULE roof rack, a FIAT garage installed trailer-hitch for our Thule hitch-mounted bike rack. SHORT REVIEW—We are impressed & got a great deal. I can’t stress enough: FIND A GOOD FIAT STUDIO/DEALER/GARAGE, as this will directly affect your satisfaction. INITIAL REVIEW-- The GOOD--Great bang for the buck. Fun to drive. A comfortable ride with DECENT SUSPENSION. PASSENGER SPACE comparable to our Passat with better headroom (friends 6’5” sat in the back, & another 6’6” in the front very comfortably). Both front & rear seats are adjustable to customize to needs and comfort. Intuitive layout & usage of COCKPIT & CONTROLS. We are enjoying the technology: UCONNECT, tech ports, 110v plug, dash trip computer, etc. Good use of SPACE (for a car this size). THE WEIRD-- Strange PARKING BRAKE. Stalled 1-2xs daily for first few weeks getting out of FIRST GEAR (different than other cars we've owned). Optical illusion of SIZE & SHAPE--Car is much roomier inside than appears. 6 MO REVIEW-- OVERALL—Still enjoying the ride & options. Car is now broken-in (& so are we), so we aren’t stalling out of first gear beyond normal occurrences. We’ve gotten used to the PARKING BRAKE. The GAS MILEAGE is decent (22-23/city & +26/hwy, with nearly 30mpg on long hwy trips. Seems to be improving.) The Trekking’s FABRIC SEATS (leather not available on this model) are more self-regulating than I would have assumed. After our hot SO CA summer and now our ‘cold’ weather, all is well. (I don’t miss having heated seats.) A 500L’s sunroof’s screen is perforated, so it will not fully shut out the sun even when closed, and roof racks are not compatible, so I am doubly glad we don’t have one. CRITICAL—NO DEAL-BREAKERS. But…The DOORS lack a ‘stop’ mechanism, they don’t ‘fly’ open, but don’t open in a controlled manner when exiting your vehicle. The BLUETOOTH: good as an mp3 player, bad for talking on the phone. The MIC picks up too much sound from the dash vent & such. We had the ‘DEAD BATTERY issue’ (as noted by other owners) because of a SOFTWARE UPDATE that didn’t take (our FIAT studio’s garage checked-off as ‘done’), which was remedied by another FIAT garage. This other garage is a combo FIAT/JEEP, so they had the knowledge & know-how to install our TRAILER HITCH. So,—FIND A GOOD FIAT STUDIO/DEALER. Many negative reviews stem from issues with a dealership rather than the brand. Hopefully FIAT can remedy this somehow, as they put out a decent product. We have heard about some transmission problems, but we since we have manual, we are hoping to avoid that."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Terrific! (Why so underrated?)

By on Thursday, December 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,169

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Space/Function/Road traction/Visibility"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Phenomenally versatile, roomy and a veritable "penthouse" on wheels (I have the panoramic roof)..I am in continuous awe of my two-month old car. Country hills, narrow roads, dubious terrains, highways, the ever-meandering labyrinth of New York City traffic - Impeccable performance. Actually much more pleasant to be stuck in traffic now - the wireless/infotainment system (UConnect) works seamlessly. Excellent traction, Stability and control over car - rain, even wind (as car's tall): stable, steady and standing strong. The jet-like air boost engine (same as the Abarth - works just as fine here too) steps up just when you need it, (and yes - good acceleration); also, hands down: the Best driver's seat comfort and SPACE! today I was given a ride in a typical, big-brand, big-box SUV..legroom was very limited. The Fiat L may seem small but, boy, once you get INSIDE - an expansion of space unfolds (yet shockingly, a site somewhere claimed it had too much space for the driver!?!) Heated seats, adjustable lumber support - may seem as frivolous extras but for someone who already has put that much mileage in a short period of time, this comes very handy. LONG distance comfort is joy here. Sound is like in a concert hall…with the view..; I wish the back seats could fold totally flat and also, perhaps Fiat may try to bring the longer version of the car -the MPW from Europe here. As it stands pretty high off the round (I have the Trekking's 17" wheels), it would be a great space "elongateor" for the back of the car. Yet, my Fiat 500L parks almost everywhere in the city. Car is quiet, suspension - smooth. Design - and its functionality - is beautiful. Full tank with my 2015 auto-transmission (13.2) gets me about 340 miles, not bad..The car is an event. Every time I drive it. Why so underrated?"

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

I LOVE my 500L Trekking!

By on Tuesday, November 10, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,850

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "So far I love everything about this car."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I had a 2012 500 Sport and it was time for something bigger, I love the look of the 500X and had to take one for a test drive. I picked a Black 500X Trekking AWD, I liked the comfortable ride and was impressed with the 9 speed transmission. While talking about the numbers with my sales person, I could not take my eyes of this 2015 Rosso Perla colored 500L Trekking that was on the show room floor. After a few days I still could not get that car out of my mind, so I went back and test drove that 500L and I loved the cavernous feel on the inside, but it isn't enormous outside (love the cargo area and fold down back seats); it sips gas, has really good visibility, comfortable front seats and a smooth drive. The AISIN Heavy Duty 6 speed automatic shifts great and responds well when I need to down shift for passing or merging onto the highway. So for me I had to have the 500L Trekking, a week after I got it we took it on our family vacation. And it was very comfortable on that long 4 hour road trip to Todd PA. It got around 34 mpg (all highway driving) and on my normal day to day driving I average around 30 combined. I do love this car. I've had no problems whatsoever with it (it's still very new, only 1850 miles, so I'll keep my fingers crossed). It's weird, cute, bug-eyed looking and these are all positives to me. I have absolutely no regrets having moved into a car that performs the same functions of getting me around, but gives me so much more enjoyment than the average same-old same-old car everyone else has. Family, friends and coworkers always ask me "Why another Fiat?" My response is always the same, go test drive one for yourself and you will see why I love them. Not every poor review about the Fiat brand is true; you can't believe everything you read."

11 people out of 22 found this review helpful

WoW!! What a fun and practical car to drive daily.

By on Saturday, October 31, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,333

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fun, practical, peppy, power and cute."

Cons: "I can't think of a single con."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have owned this wonderful little car for a couple of months now and I love it! I first fell in love with Fiat when we went to Italy a few years ago. When it came time to get another car, I wanted to look at these babies, my husband was concerned, he thought they would be too little a car for me. We were both presently surprised how roomy they were. I love my little blue car, it is fun and practical, best of both worlds for me. We looked at a new model of the car we traded in, but we got more for our money with Fiat! I highly recommend these little cuties. Lots of pep and energy."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

great car for everyday commuting

By on Monday, September 21, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "great car and fun for the money"

Cons: "just a little more power"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"car has travelled from Florida to NY with 3 huskies in the back a few times and it has been a comfortable and fun drive. Not a single problem with the car. Just routine oil changes"

9 people out of 13 found this review helpful

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