Fix it again, Tony!

Fiat reintroduced the 500 nameplate back in 2007, and since then the subcompact has spawned a number of versions, including the 500L. The company’s only crossover-like vehicle until the 500X arrived, the 500L gained its first updates in 2016, after four years on the market, and another facelift for the 2018 model year.

The standard 500 is a funky little car that harkens back to the original in some aspects, while providing a modern feel that we all love. But, when it comes to the 500L, let’s just say it’s not the best looking car out there. It’s disproportionate in some areas and just odd looking in others – that’s just the nature of MPVs, though. Some might argue that Fiat really needs to ditch the MPV altogether and redesign the 500L into a full-fledged SUV, but the facelift fixes some of the old car’s design problems. With that said, let’s take a good look at what changed over the last few years.

Continue reading to learn more about the Fiat 500L.

Exterior

- * Funky design
- * 500X-inspired features
- * Boxy profile
- * A bit dated
- * Loads of options
- * Mopar accessories

2018 Fiat 500L
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The 500L still has that goofy appearance that’s been keeping customers away, but it’s less ugly now

As was the case with the standard 500, the 500L got just minor refreshing on the outside, with the biggest change being a revised front fascia. To be more specific, the crossover looks a bit more like the 500X now. It still has that goofy appearance that’s been keeping customers away, but it’s less ugly.

The headlamps have about the same shape and size, but Fiat revised what’s under the lens, again giving it a look that reminds me of the 500X. The chrome trim that flans the "Fiat" badge changed too, now looking more like the one on the 500 hatchback. Down below, the grille is a tad wider a looks a bit more stylish thanks to the horizontal chrome strip.

The bumper was redesigned completely and it’s the main feature that changes how the 500L looks up front. While the previous bumper had a small grille at the bottom and a body-colored cover at the top, the new one has a more modern look with chrome inserts, a big black background, and new daytime running lights.

2018 Fiat 500L
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Onto the sides, the 500L retains the design of the previous model, including the really wide A- and C-pillar

Onto the sides, the 500L retains the design of the previous model, including the really wide A- and C-pillar, but the roofline looks a bit different now. Fiat also changed the prominent inserts on the lower doors, making them bigger like on traditional crossovers. Of course, the 500L gained new wheels in various sizes.

Rear fascia changes are limited to just a new bumper. The red lights at the corners were replaced with chrome inserts for a more upscale look, with the former moved in the black inserts below. The exhaust pipe is no longer visible now due to the diffuser-like element being a tad bigger.

Overall, Fiat did a good job, as the 500L was integrated better in the 500 lineup.

New For 2018

2018 Fiat 500L
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The crossover looks a tad more rugged now, as the front bumper feels more massive

The 500L received a few more revisions for 2018, when the front fascia gained new LED lights inside the headlamps and changes to the bumper. The crossover looks a tad more rugged now, as the front bumper feels more massive. Onto the sides, there’s thicker wheel extensions and black trim around the door inserts. The rear bumper was yet again redesigned, this time around featuring a big black insert on the lower tailgate section. Fiat also brought the red lights back at the corners, but with new trim. The license plate recess sits higher than before and its narrower. The diffuser-like element is also a bit more aggressive, but it depends on which trim level and options you go for. There are quite a few fancy wheel options to choose from, but the overall design is a bit more customizable now. You can also pick from a wide range of accessories from Mopar.

Interior

- * Simple design
- * Small infotainment display
- * Decent equipment lines
- * Needs more modern features

2018 Fiat 500L
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The 500L remains the 500’s bigger cousin, so you benefit from 42-percent more interior space than in the hatchback

There’s nothing much to talk about inside the cabin, as the model year brings nothing new. Thankfully, the 500L remains the 500’s bigger cousin, so you benefit from 42-percent more interior space than in the hatchback. It also gets numerous personalization options and even a few premium materials if you’re willing spend an extra buck.

Infotainment options remains the same, meaning you can either go with the standard five-inch display of the Uconnect 5.0 system or go with the largers 6.5-inch screen that comes with the Uconnect 6.5 unit. Highlights include hands-free calling via Bluetooth, voice-command control, SiriusXM Radio, a USB media port and optional navigation system. The 6.5-inch unit adds satellite radio and navigation with intuitive map graphics.

The standard feature package remains unchanged and includes air conditioning, power lock and windows, cruise control, six-speaker audio, six-way adjustable cloth seats, tilt and telescoping steering column, and a multi-position cargo area trunk panel.

New for 2018

2018 Fiat 500L
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The infotainment system was updated to FCA’s new Uconnect 4 unit and it’s standard on all trim levels

The 2018-model-year update is somewhat extensive inside the cabin too. While the dashboard layout remained unchanged, there are noticeable changes, starting with the revised glove box lid which now features a "500" logo. The center stack is taller, in part due to the bigger infotainment screen, while its black surround is a separate element and no longer makes a single unit with the dash hood.

The infotainment system was updated to FCA’s new Uconnect 4 unit and it’s standard on all trim levels. The new screen also makes for a cleaner center stack, as many controls were moved into the digital zone. The command unit below seems identical to the old model, but there are extra controls just above the center console. The latter was redesigned too and includes extra storage space and a shifter that sits lower in the console.

2018 Fiat 500L
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Other new features include Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and ParkView rear backup camera as standard

The instrument cluster gained a big update. The dials on the sides are larger, while the small gauges in the middle were replaced by a larger one, a feature like inspired by the Mini Cooper. The center dial also include a digital screen, which is larger than the old model. The steering wheel is also new. It looks decidedly more modern and features upgraded controls on the side spokes, as well as a round center.

Other new features include Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, ParkView rear backup camera as standard, and additional USB port, and LED interior ambient lighting. As before, the Fiat 500L offers best-in-class cargo capacity with more than 50 seating and storage configurations.

Head room front/rear (Inches) 40.7/38.7
Hip room front/rear (Inches) 54.9/49.4
Leg room front/rear (Inches) 40/36.7
Shoulder front/rear (Inches) 57.3/54.6
Passenger Interior Volume (Cu ft) 98.8
Seat Cushion Height from Ground (Inches) 27.9
Seat Cushion to Rocker Panel (Inches) 9.6

Drivetrain

- * Just one engine in the U.S.
- * 1.4-liter four-cylinder
- * 160 horsepower
- * 184 pound-feet of torque
- * Diesel options in Europe

2018 Fiat 500L
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Fiat carried over the same 1.4-liter engine that delivers a mundane 160 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque

If you’re hoping to see any drivetrain upgrades as part of this refresh, you’ll find yourself as let down as a fat kid without cake on his birthday. Fiat carried over the same 1.4-liter, MultiAir four-cylinder that delivers a mundane 160 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. The engine is available in all five trim levels, but the trim level will determine which transmission comes standard and what other options you might have.

Of the five trim levels (Pop, Easy, Trekking, Urbana, and Lounge) the first four come standard with a six-speed manual transmission. Easy, Trekking, and Urbana trims can be optioned with the Aisin, six-speed automatic – the only transmission available for Lounge models. The entry-level Pop trim level can be optioned with a six-speed, Euro, Twin-Clutch transmission – something that can’t be had on any other trim level. All models achieve an EPA rating of 25 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway with the exception of the Lounge trim level that gets 22 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.

2018 Fiat 500L
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In Europe, the 500L can be had with more engine options, starting with a 0.9-liter two-cylinder unit

On the suspension front, the 500L uses Koni MacPherson struts in the front to go with equivalent shocks in the rear. According to Fiat, this system on the current model makes the 500L the most nimble in its class and has the tightest turning diameter.

In Europe, the 500L can be had with more engine options, starting with a 0.9-liter two-cylinder unit. There’s a gasoline version with 104 horsepower and gas/CNG variant with 79 horses. The Italian crossover is also available with two diesel options. A 1.3-liter four-cylinder delivers 84 horsepower and 148 pound-feet, while a 1.6-liter four-banger cranks out 120 horses and 236 pound-feet of twist.

New for 2018

2018 Fiat 500L
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Fiat didn’t have much to say about the drivetrain so it’s safe to assume that it remains unchanged with the update. The Italian firm did say that the U.S. model continues with the same 1.4-liter Turbo MultiAir unit rated at 160 horses and 184 pound-feet of torque. The only notable change is that the six-speed manual transmission was dropped for the U.S. market, with the Aisin six-speed automatic being the only gearbox for all trim levels. All models come with a 13.2-gallon tank and return up to 22 mpg in the city and up to 30 mpg on the highway.

Pricing

2018 Fiat 500L
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Pricing for the 2016 500L starts from $19,495, for which you get the Pop trim. Upgrade to the Easy model and the sticker jumps to $20,795. Next up is Trekking at $21,880, while the Urbana version retails from $23,480. Finally, the Lounge model fetches $24,795 before options.

2018 Pricing

For 2018, Fiat dropped the Easy and Urbana trims, so there are three models to choose from. The range begins with the familiar Pop model, which starts from $20,995. The Trekking version, which adds body-colored fascias, 17-inch wheels, ParkView backup camera, leather seats, and a BeatsAudio premium sound system, retails from $23,325. Finally, the Lounge model adds unique wheels, heated front seats with power lumbar adjustment, and a ParkSense rear parking assist system for an extra $560, taking the price up to $23,895 before options.

Competition

Mini Countryman

2017 Mini Countryman High Resolution Exterior
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The Countryman is a relatively new model, having been introduced just back in 2010. It was updated again in 2014, which also brought about a model that included all-wheel drive. Mini likes to keep things fresh, though, so it was no surprise when it introduced the second-gen model for the 2017 model year. The most notable changes included new exterior styling, a revised interior with modern features and technology, and even more room, as the Countryman grew a bit compared to the outgoing model. The Countryman is offer with one of four different engines. At the bottom end of the spectrum, there’s a 1.5-liter with 134 horsepower and 162 pound-feet. Then there’s a 2.0-liter four-banger with 189 horsepower and 207 pound-feet. There are also two diesel models; the base 2.0-liter diesel offers 148 ponies and 243 pounds of twist while a range-topping diesel model offers up 221 horsepower and 284 pound-feet of torque. The Mini Countryman starts out at $27,400 ( and climbs to as much as $31,900 for the range-topping Cooper S All4. It’s obviously more expensive than the 500L, but it also comes with more premium features and more powerful engines. Unlike Fiat, Mini also offers a hybrid model and a high-performance JCW version.

Read our full review of the 2017 Mini Countryman.

Kia Soul

2014 Kia Soul Exterior
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The Kia Soul is currently in its second generation, which kicked off for the 2014 model year. Much like the 500L, the Soul has a rather funky and unique design, but it’s boxier than its Italian rival. Under the hood, you’ll find either a 1.6-liter with 130 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of torque or a 2.0-liter with 161 ponies and 150 pound-feet on tap. A six-speed manual is standard on the 1.6-liter but an automatic is optional. If you go with the 2.0-liter, you’re stuck with the six-speed automatic. There’s also a turbocharged version of the 1.6-liter available that gives you 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque, routed through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The Soul is a much more affordable choice compared to the Countryman, retailing from $16,490. Prices go up to $22,990 for the range-topping "!" model.

Read our full story of the 2017 Kia Soul.

Conclusion

2018 Fiat 500L
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At this point, Fiat is really reaching hard if it thinks the minor updates will do much of anything for the 500L. The MPV look in itself is outdated and far from pretty. Fiat would have been much better off waiting another year or two and redesigning the 500L into a proper SUV or crossover instead of updated such a dated-looking model. But, if the past is any indication, the 500L will probably carry on well into the next decade without anything but some minor technology and safety updates here and there. Considering Fiat is owned by FCA, I was really hoping to see the brand evolve more than it has over the past few years. But, then again, FCA hasn’t exactly been that impressive with all of its models either. At the end of the day, the 500L will serve its purpose as far has hauling a family or cargo, and it will do it at a decent price. It won’t exactly look good doing it, but you don’t really buy a Fiat for its looks anyway – it’s more about heritage than anything.

  • Leave it
    • Still kind of ugly
2018 Fiat 500 Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Fiat 500.

2016 - 2018 Fiat 500X High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Fiat 500X.

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Read more Fiat news.

2018 MY Press

The Fiat 500 lineup goes all-turbo for 2018, with the 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine and a sportier appearance now standard on all models. “With an all-turbo lineup, the iconic Fiat 500 now offers an even more dynamic driving experience and more standard horsepower than any of its competitors,” said Steve Beahm, Head of Passenger Car Brands – Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and Fiat, FCA – North America. “In fact, the entire FIAT brand lineup now comes standard with turbocharged power, adding to our roster of fun-to-drive, Italian-designed vehicles.” The 2018 Fiat 500 lineup is available in three models: Pop, Lounge and the high-performance Abarth. Pop and Lounge models now come standard with the 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine, which features a single turbocharger, twin intercoolers and a sport-tuned exhaust, and delivers 135 horsepower and 150 lb.-ft. of torque – 34 more standard horsepower than last year’s model. The MultiAir Turbo engine is paired with a five-speed manual transmission as standard and is available with a six-speed automatic transmission. Pop and Lounge models are also updated with standard 16-inch aluminum wheels, performance braking system, sport suspension and ParkView rear backup camera. Exterior updates include body-color front and rear fascias, side-sill ground effects, a sport spoiler, fog lamps and “Turbo” badging on the liftgate. On the Fiat 500 Abarth models, the track-tested 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine delivers up to 160 horsepower and 183 lb.-ft. of torque; while Abarth-tuned hardware offers a world-class ride and track-ready durability. Other unique Abarth features include a performance suspension; three-mode electronic stability control with an innovative torque transfer control (TTC) system that maximizes throttle performance during on-throttle cornering; 16-inch Hyper Black aluminum wheels; and Pirelli tires with red brake calipers. An Abarth-designed concentric “double-tip” dual-exhaust system delivers a high-performance look with menacing Abarth-tuned sound. Inside, distinctive Abarth-styled front performance seats feature a one-piece design with large side bolsters, a racing-harness pass through, accent stitching around the perimeter and integrated side-thorax air bags. Below the instrument panel, Abarth-designed aluminum pedal covers feature Nero (black) rubber trim for a decidedly racing look. Should the driver choose to switch to Sport mode in a Fiat 500 Abarth, the turbo-boost gauge, mounted left of the instrument cluster, illuminates “Sport” and an up-shift light integrated in the cluster alerts the driver when engine speed is approaching the redline, giving the immediate feedback needed on the track or during high-performance driving. Customers who purchase or lease a Fiat 500 Abarth also receive – for no additional charge – a one-day high-performance driving session at the legendary Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving. The 500 lineup also features three new colors for 2018 (late availability) – Brillante Red, Mezzanotte Blue Pearl and Vesuvio Black Pearl – for a total of 11 exterior paint color choices. Any 2018 Fiat 500 model is also available as a Cabrio, delivering open-air freedom across the 500 lineup. 2018 Fiat 500 vehicles are available to order this month, with cars arriving at FIAT studios in the second quarter of this year. The entire FIAT brand roster – each gasoline-powered model now featuring a standard turbocharged engine – continues to offer a dynamic driving experience and iconic Italian design for 2018: 2018 Fiat 500e
The 2018 Fiat 500e electrifies the Cinquecento lineup with innovation and style, an EPA-tested 84 miles of driving range and 112 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) combined rating of pure battery-electric power (121 MPGe city).­ Offering iconic style, engaging dynamics and an environmentally responsible zero-emissions design, the Fiat 500e is designed to keep electric vehicle ownership simple with its familiar no-nonsense design, convenience features, unique “blended braking” and intelligently integrated approach to battery-electric technology. The 500e is available in California and Oregon. 2018 Fiat 500L
Building on the style, efficiency and driving enjoyment that has made the Fiat 500 an icon, the Fiat 500L expands the Cinquecento’s appeal by offering 42 percent extra interior space with comfortable seating for five, engaging driving dynamics and a standard 160-horsepower 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine, all wrapped in contemporary Italian design. The Fiat 500L offers best-in-class cargo capacity with more than 50 seating and storage configurations. The 2018 Fiat 500L features a redesigned exterior with new front and rear fascia design, bodyside molding design, wheel designs, daytime running light lens and rear side reflector design, while a standard ParkView rear backup camera delivers additional driver convenience. The 2018 500L’s revamped interior also adds to convenience and ease of use, with a thin-film transistor (TFT) cluster display, an improved center console, additional USB port, LED interior ambient lighting and other interior upgrades. The Uconnect 4 system is standard on all 2018 Fiat 500L models, and includes a 7-inch display and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. 2018 Fiat 500X
The 2018 Fiat 500X delivers the Italian design and engaging driving dynamics that are synonymous with the FIAT brand. The 500X offers an advanced all-wheel-drive system, functionality, and a full array of safety, comfort and convenience features. The small crossover features two engine options including the 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine standard on Pop models when paired with the six-speed manual transmission, and the 2.4L Tigershark MultiAir2 engine standard on Trekking and Lounge models, an available nine-speed transmission and an all-wheel-drive system with a disconnecting rear axle for improved fuel efficiency. New for 2018, the Fiat 500X now features the Uconnect 4 system standard on all models, which includes a 7-inch display and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. 2018 Fiat 124 Spider
The newest member of the FIAT product lineup, the 2018 Fiat 124 Spider revives the storied nameplate, bringing its classic Italian styling and performance to a new generation. Paying homage to the original 124 Spider 50 years after its introduction, the 2018 Fiat 124 Spider delivers the ultimate Italian roadster experience with driving excitement, technology and safety combined with iconic Italian design. With the 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine as standard, the 124 Spider has the most powerful 4-cylinder in its class. The Fiat 124 Spider is available in three trim levels: Classica, Lusso and, for performance enthusiasts, Abarth. For 2018, the Fiat 124 Spider offers more flexible package content, allowing customers to select the exact options they desire. The all-new Red Top Edition is now available on Lusso models and will be arriving in dealerships soon.

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