Go

2015 FIAT 500L

Overview
Share this page
Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

2015 FIAT 500L Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 6.3

The 2015 Fiat 500L is the big brother to the 500, and though its name differs by only one letter, the 500L is its own car. Introduced just last year, the Fiat 500L offers much of what the 500 does not: rear seats that adults can actually use, comfortable road manners, and a more substantial presence. Think of the 500L as the more mature, versatile Fiat. Still, this 5-passenger hatchback is hardly stuffy. It retains the whimsical looks, good fuel economy, and Euro appeal that Fiat has conveyed since re-entering the U.S. market a few years ago. The 500L isn't as much fun to drive as the Mini Cooper Countryman or quite the bargain that is the Kia Soul, but for Fiat fans desiring more room, it could be just the ticket.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you love the Fiat 500's style and attitude, but not it's diminutive size, say hello to the 500L. This hatchback has 42 percent more interior space, roomy rear seats and a versatile, cargo-swallowing hatch area. Starting around $20,000, the 500L also presents a good value.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Though turbocharged, the 500L isn't as sporty as a Mini or a Nissan Juke. If you require all-wheel drive for slippery or snow-covered roads, Fiat has the all-new 500X SUV for you, or you can choose from a bevy of other compact crossovers. Poor resale values also continue to dog Fiat.

What's New for 2015

The Fiat 500L enters its second model year with a new 6-speed automatic transmission. Standard on top-line Lounge models and optional on the mid-trim Easy and Trekking versions, this new Aisin automatic replaces the 6-speed Euro twin-clutch automatic that's now offered only on base Pop trims.

Driving the 500L
Driving Impressions

The Fiat 500L uses the same turbocharged engine as the 500 Abarth, but the 500L doesn't share the performance traits of its feisty little sibling. Blame it on physics and...

... tuning. The 500L is bigger, heavier and made more for touring than sharp cornering. 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 enjoy being tossed around corners like a Mini or Juke. The 500L's strengths, however, are evident once up to speed. Where other small cars – including the regular 500 – can become jittery on the freeway, this jumbo Fiat feels solid and at ease. The L's softer suspension, meanwhile, does an admirable job taming rough roads. The Fiat's 6-speed manual transmission is smooth and easy to use. We didn't find the Euro Twin Clutch automatic intrusive, but there's no denying that we prefer the shift response of the new automatic available on all but base-model 500Ls.

UCONNECT SYSTEM
The 500L was the first Fiat to use Chrysler's well-respected telematics system, a welcome sight in a budget-friendly car. Uconnect bundles audio, hands-free phone connectivity, navigation, and more into one easy-to-use touch-screen system.

INTERIOR ACCOMMODATIONS
From small touches like a driver's center armrest to more obvious extras like a panoramic sunroof and 2-tone color scheme, the Fiat 500L's 5-passenger interior is as notable as its exterior design. Just as important, it's practical, too, with commendable room for people and gear.

2015 FIAT 500L Details
2015 FIAT 500L photo Interior

You'll immediately sense the difference in interior space between the Fiat 500 and the 500L. Where the 500 has just two tiny seats in back and a small cargo bay in the hatch area, the 500L has a 3-person rear bench that can comfortably fit two adults. Rear legroom is impressive, and the rear seats also 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
2015 FIAT 500L photo

With its extra pair of doors, taller profile and voluptuous rear, the 500L's outside appearance differs much from the smaller 500. The L, by comparison, has a more cartoon-like profile than, say, the new Mini Cooper 4-door. Still, it's hard to argue that the 500L doesn't exhibit some cuteness. Who could resist those doe-eyed headlights, available "floating" roof in white or black, and propeller-like front grille piece encircling a big red "FIAT" logo? For a slightly tougher take, there's the 500L Trekking model with its beefier front and rear aesthetics, and larger, 17-inch wheels.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2015 Fiat 500L is available in four trims: Pop, Easy, Trekking and Lounge. At just over $20,000, the Pop comes comfortably equipped with power accessories, air conditioning, cruise control, and a basic Uconnect telematics system with 5-inch touch screen, Bluetooth streaming audio, text-message reader, and a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD player with USB/auxiliary inputs. Easy models add 16-inch aluminum wheels, an armrest with storage, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and 520-watt premium audio. Trekking models include 17-inch wheels, a 2-tone interior and premium cloth seats, while top-line Lounge models come with the new 6-speed automatic transmission, leather seats (heated up front), and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Optional Equipment

Many of the Fiat 500L's options vary by trim and are bundled into packages called "Collections." Among the goodies offered are navigation with a 6.5-inch touch screen, a rearview camera with a park-assist sensors, SiriusXM satellite radio, a power sunroof, and a HomeLink universal garage door opener. For those who like some thump with their music, there's a Beats Audio premium sound system. Leather seating is also available, as are 17-inch wheels. All 500L models except the base version can be had with the snazzy black or white roof to give it that "floating" design.

Under the Hood

All 2015 Fiat 500L models use a small and efficient turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that drives the front wheels. The standard transmission in all but the top-line Lounge model is an easy-to-use 6-speed manual. In reality, though, most U.S. buyers will prefer an automatic. Base Pop models use the 6-speed Euro twin-clutch for auto-shifting duties, which operates like an automatic, but offers higher fuel efficiency. The automatic transmission on all other trims is the new 6-speed automatic that's standard on Lounge variants. 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: 25/33 mpg (manual), 24/33 mpg (Euro Twin-Clutch automatic), 22/30 mpg (automatic)

Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

Share this page
Advertisement
Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

Advertisement