New 2018
FIAT 500L Hatchback

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KBB Editor's Overview

By KBB.com Editorial Staff

In the 2018 Fiat 500L, the Italians have created a contemporary small hatchback every bit as cute and clever as the Kia Soul, Mini Countryman and Toyota CH-R. The front-drive 500L lacks the tidy proportions of the car upon which it is based, but it has a kind of awkward adorableness that can draw one in. The 500L also offers a modern and well-appointed interior, numerous options and excellent fuel economy. However, there are some important points to consider. During the 500L’s short time in this country its resale and reliability rankings have been less than stellar. For just a bit more money, one could move up to the more versatile and better-looking all-wheel-drive 500X.

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You'll Like This Car If...

If you’re drawn to the quirky styling of the Fiat 500, but need something with more room and more doors, the 2018 Fiat 500L should do the trick. Comfortable, easy to maneuver and great on gas, the 500L might be described as an affordable alternative to the Mini Cooper Countryman.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you’re looking for a unique small car offering loads of features and a better track record than the 500L, the Kia Soul certainly deserves a good look. Those who must deal with seasonal snow might prefer something with all-wheel drive, such as a Mazda CX-3 or Honda HR-V.

What's New for 2018

Fiat’s 500L hatchback for 2018 gets a mild exterior makeover, with new front and rear fascia and new wheels. New standard features include the ParkView rearview camera, 7-inch Uconnect infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus a TFT (thin film transistor) cluster display, revised center console and new parking brake handle.

Driving It

Driving Impressions

Even though the 500L shares the same 160-horsepower, 1.4-liter turbocharged engine used in the sporty 500 Abarth, its additional bulk and standard 6-speed automatic transmission quickly dash any hopes of similar performance. The 500L is built for comfort, so its softer suspension isn’t as much fun in the curves. The long wheelbase and tall profile mean the 500L can’t return the kind of joy one gets behind the wheel of a Mazda CX-3 or Toyota CH-R. However, when it comes to ride comfort, the 500L does a much better job soaking up road imperfections than either of those competitors. Acceleration from a dead stop is acceptable in this class, capable of returning an 8-second zero-to-60 run with only one person onboard (expect that figure to increase by a second or so if you have a fully loaded 500L). On the open highway, we found the 500L’s interior to be well insulated from outside noise, although we did experience some annoying wind buffeting around the side mirrors.

Favorite Features

UCONNECT SYSTEM
One of the perks from the Chrysler merger was the acquisition of the excellent Uconnect infotainment system. In the 2018 500L, the setup includes a bright and user-friendly 7-inch color touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto with optional navigation and BeatsAudio upgrades.

INTERIOR ACCOMMODATIONS
Fiat’s interior design brings new life to small-car design, and should be the standard by which all others are judged. From the handsome color options to features like the panoramic sunroof, the 500L offers an interior as handsome as it is versatile.

Vehicle Details

Interior

You'll immediately sense the difference in interior space between the Fiat 500 and the 500L. Where the 500 has just two tiny rear seats and a small cargo bay in the hatch area, the 2018 Fiat 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, making the Fiat 500L a surprisingly good car for tall people. Outward visibility is above average thanks to a front pillar split by glass and wraparound rear windows.

Exterior

Although based on the Fiat 500, the 500L’s longer wheelbase, taller roof and additional two doors create a car uniquely its own beast. From the outset the 500L’s look was polarizing, to say the least, so redesigning the front and rear fascia this year is a definite improvement, albeit a minor one. The doe-eyed headlights remain, however, as do the “floating” roof painted either white or black and the big silver-winged Fiat logo prominently displayed above the grille. For a slightly tougher take, there's the 500L Trekking model with its beefier front and rear aesthetics, larger 17-inch wheels and flared wheel arches.

Notable Standard Equipment

The 2018 Fiat 500L is available in three trims: Pop, Trekking and Lounge. At around $22,000, the Pop comes equipped with air conditioning, 16-inch alloy wheels, tilt/telescoping steering column, cruise control and a rearview camera. Also standard is the Uconnect 4 system with 7-inch touch screen, Bluetooth streaming audio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, 6-speaker AM/FM/CD player and two USB ports. Trekking models include 17-inch wheels and a 2-tone interior, heated front seats, navigation, leather seating and BeatsAudio system, while Lounge models add 17-inch wheels, chrome mirror caps, driver’s power lumbar, dual-zone automatic temperature control, a 115-volt outlet and rear parking sensors.

Notable Optional Equipment

The BeatsAudio system can be added to the Pop, while the Pop and Trekking offer the Popular Equipment Package that brings driver’s seat power lumbar, dual-zone automatic climate control and rear parking sensors. The Premium Group is available on the Pop and adds all the features of the Popular Equipment Package plus BeatsAudio, SiriusXM and navigation. The dual-pane panoramic sunroof is a stand-alone option on Trekking and Lounge trims.

Under the Hood

All 2018 Fiat 500L models use a small and efficient turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that drives the front wheels. The standard transmission is a traditional 6-speed automatic. The Fiat's turbocharged 1.4-liter engine can run on 87-octane gasoline, but premium 91-grade is recommended. Fun fact: The Fiat 500L is built in Serbia and classified by the EPA as a small station wagon.

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: 22/30 mpg

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Pricing Notes

The 2018 Fiat 500L has an appealing Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting under $22,000 for a Pop model. Even a loaded Lounge version won't break the bank for a few thousand more. Because the 500L hasn't been flying off dealer lots, there's a good chance of finding discounts and rebates. Check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new Fiat. The Fiat 500L is less expensive than a Mini Hardtop 4-door and Countryman, but nearly a grand more than a Mazda CX-3. A Kia Soul has an even lower sticker price, as do the Nissan Versa Note and Jeep Renegade Sport with the automatic transmission. With a lower starting price, the Honda HR-V makes a strong argument as a better buy, even more so when you compare the stellar predicted resale value of the HR-V against the 500L’s rather poor one.

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