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2015 FIAT 500L Overview

Italian automaker FIAT is equipping the quirky 500L with a new 6-speed automatic transmission and adding 2 new exterior colors to the list of available hues for 2015. Both new features will greatly expand the potential customer base for one of the MINI Countryman’s main competitors, and only 1 year since it debuted as FIAT's second entrant to the U.S. market.

For all trims except the base (Pop) trim, you can now choose the new automatic or go for a 6-speed manual transmission that gets slightly better mileage. Top-of-the-line Lounge versions receive the new transmission as standard equipment, so even if you're unable to drive stick, you now will be able to pilot a new, exciting-to-drive 500L. Unfortunately, as automatics generally do, it will use up a smidge more gas, and some find the automatic’s shifts jerky. Pop trims still offer the optional Euro Twin Clutch 6-speed manual transmission as well.

Blue Tornado and Rosso Perla (Deep Lava Red Pearl) are the newest color choices for the athletic-themed Trekking trim, bringing the popularly long list of exterior finishes to 11 distinctive combinations. Unfortunately FIAT has not included these new colors for any other trim as of now, but the new hues should help the Trekking stand out against its brethren.

Still at the heart of this odd little front-wheel-drive is the same rev-happy 1.4-liter inline 4-cylinder engine, and still strapped on is a turbocharger that boosts to a pleasant 21 psi. However, all 160 horsepower of the engine can at best achieve 0-60 in a not impressive 9 seconds. Getting a slight boost in gas mileage is sometimes a good trade-off for lack of performance, but even efficiency suffers in the 500L. At its best, 25 mpg city/33 highway is all that can be expected, despite the scant size of this vehicle.

Many have welcomed the 2014 addition of the 2 rear doors with the 500L, especially to the delight of young, blossoming families who may be leaning toward a FIAT for its not-so-obvious charms. The spacious and versatile second-row seats are still very easy to access, as are its best-in-class 21.3 cubic feet of cargo space. Up front, the driver is given good amounts of head and legroom, but may find the strange layout of the steering wheel rake and driving position a bit uncomfortable. Despite the 500L also leading its class in interior volume, unfortunately, some may not be able to adjust to the unusual driver’s configuration and stiff ride.

No matter which trim of Fiat 500L you choose—Pop, Easy, Trekking, or Lounge—you still get a reasonably priced automobile that easily handles the demands of urban sprawl. The Italians are surely looking to make their presence within the U.S. more notable, especially to soccer moms and young parents, with these swift changes to their model lineup. Competitors like the Ford Focus and MINI Countryman are still better at handling and offer more pep, but those who seek to possibly purchase a 500L will more than likely do so at least in part because it is so distinctive.


Your prototypical "Tom Girl" Patricia got her start digging into Ford engines before she aged into double digits. Gifted with a mechanical mind, her favorite pass-time in the summer is picking up a fixer-up'r at the local public auction and massaging its every ailment until it's primed for a new lover. From dirt bikes to land yachts, every partner offers something truly special in her love affair with the road - just don't tell her husband.

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FIAT 500L Questions

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