2016 Fiat 500L Review


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2016 Fiat 500L Overview

America's favorite Italian wagon is back. Since coming to the U.S. in 2014, the Fiat 500L has solidified its position as a car for those who want utility, practicality, and style, but maybe want to find these things a bit off the beaten path.

Those who dare to add a little Italian flair to their driving lives have found the 500L to be a fun way to satisfy their desire for something a little different, but not too different. It's chic and stylish, but still seats 5 and offers 22.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats (68.0 cubic feet with the rear seats down). The 500L also boasts fairly impressive fuel economy numbers for a 4-door family hauler, registering 25 mpg city/33 highway/28 combined when the 1.4-liter 160-hp 4-cylinder engine is coupled with the 6-speed manual (those numbers become 22/30/25 with the 6-speed automatic).

The 500L returns for 2016 with 5 trims, ranging from the base Pop to the posh Urbana. Standard equipment includes Bluetooth streaming with a USB connection and remote keyless entry--not bad for a family car starting below $20,000. On the safety front, 4-wheel antilock brakes and electronic stability control come standard, as do full-length side-curtain airbags, a side-curtain airbag rollover sensor, dual front airbags, and a driver knee airbag.

Opt for the Pop and you'll experience what makes a Fiat a Fiat. It's trendy, good-looking, and has plenty of cool features for a reasonable price. Starting at $19,345, the Pop comes with FCA's much-touted Uconnect infotainment system, allowing you to connect your phone or MP3 player to the car's radio via the Pop's 5-inch color touchscreen, which you can also manage through steering wheel-mounted controls. And the rear seats tumble forward, allowing full access to the 500L's cargo space.

Move up to the Easy (yes, that's actually a trim) to get a few more niceties with your ride, including 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels, premium speakers, a center console, and 6-way manually adjustable front seats. Don't like the color of your roof? No problem—with the Easy, you'll get your choice of three different roof colors. But where the Easy can get really luxurious is with its available options. Upgrade to the 6.5-inch Uconnect touchscreen and you'll be eligible to add navigation with a backup camera and park assist. Also available on the Easy are a dual-pane sunroof, SiriusXM satellite radio, and heated front seats.

For a more rugged-yet-refined look, consider the mid-range Trekking. With more aggressive bottom moldings, the Trekking aims to intimidate, adding in chrome door handles and a chrome exhaust tip in order to do so. You also get fog lamps, graphite door moldings, and fascias with chrome and graphite accents. Like the Easy, a dual-pane sunroof, SiriusXM satellite radio, and heated front seats are all available as options. The Trekking also gives you the choice of adding dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, and a rear seat armrest with a cupholder.

If you're really looking for slick Italian design, step up to the chic Urbana. Sporting a black roof with black power mirrors and black bodyside moldings with chrome inserts, the Urbana all but cries out for attention. Actually, that's a lie. With SiriusXM satellite radio and a BeatsAudio premium sound system standard, the Urbana quite literally screams its presence.

For 500L buyers who would rather be pampered, the Lounge is the clear choice. The top-of-the-range version of the 500L, the Lounge comes with leather seats, an automatic transmission, heated front seats, a backup camera, parking assistance, SiriusXM satellite radio, a dual-pane sunroof, and dual-zone automatic climate control. The Lounge knows it's cool without having to flaunt it.

If you're looking for a stylish, affordable, and fun family wagon, it's tough to beat the FIAT 500L. With its style and space, the 500L is a winner for those who need to be practical but desire to be unique.


Zach is a gearhead and travel junkie who loves to check out cars wherever he goes. Having lived abroad in Germany and Russia, he has grown particularly fond of European cars, but has found nothing able to top his love for his first car: a 2001 Toyota Tacoma.

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