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2018 FIAT 500L Overview
It’s refresh time for Fiat’s “little bit longer” 500, the 500L. With four doors and a longer, wider wheelbase, the 500L shares a platform with many Fiats, as well as Jeep's Renegade and Compass. This year, a mild refresh inside and out gives the 500L styling upgrades, while technology additions aim to keep it competitive.
At first glance, you’ll be hard-pressed to notice the changes to the front and rear styling. But new daytime-running lights are just one example of obvious improvements. Inside, Fiat made more dramatic changes. It offers a revised center console, new steering wheel, gear lever, conventional parking brake, and digital instrument cluster, along with LED ambient lighting. On the tech side, the 500L gets the Uconnect 4 infotainment system. That includes a 7-inch touchscreen and standard reversing camera, as well as standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Fiat has added new paint options and fresh appearance packages for the three trim levels, Pop, Trekking, and Lounge. The base Pop trim has a Chrome Appearance package, which adds unique 17-inch alloy wheels and chrome trim. The Trekking’s Urbana Appearance package adds black and orange elements to the roof, wheels, and trim. The top-tier Lounge trim gets a Graphite Edition, adding a panoramic sunroof and metal-look to trim areas like the mirrors and door handles.
All trims are powered by a turbocharged 1.4-liter engine. It pairs with a 6-speed automatic transmission that’s good for 160 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, as well as an EPA-estimated 22 city mpg and 30 highway.
Pop trims start with tinted windows, heated exterior mirrors, air conditioning, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, remote entry, 7-inch touchscreen with reversing camera, a 6-speaker stereo with two USB ports, and Bluetooth. The Premium package gets you dual-zone climate control, power lumbar control for the driver, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and rear parking sensors. It also adds navigation and a 7-speaker Beats stereo with satellite radio to that list of features.
The Trekking trim includes all the features from Premium package, as well as 17-inch wheels, fog lights, LED ambient interior lighting, leather-trimmed and heated seats. The Trekking trim also features unique body panels to make it look more aggressive and off-road capable. However, no mechanical upgrades are to be had.
For those who want all the bells and whistles, the Lounge offers unique 17-inch wheels with a painted finish, chrome exterior trim, and everything from the two equipment packages.
With 68 cubic feet of cargo space -- and 21.3 cu. ft in the trunk alone -- the 500L offers a roomy, versatile, wagon-like option in the crossover segment. But what it gains in style, it loses in performance, as the 500L doesn’t ride or handle as well as a lot of the competition. While the 500L's 2018 upgrade make it a more attractive package, there are options like the Kia Soul out there doing well for thousands less. Fiat has some work to do to stay relevant.
A CarGurus contributor since 2008, Michael started his career writing about cars with the SCCA - winning awards during his time as editor of Top End magazine. Since then, his journalistic travels have taken him from NY to Boston to CA, completing a cross-country tour on a restored vintage Suzuki. While his preference is for fine German automobiles - and the extra leg room they so often afford - his first automobile memories center around impromptu Mustang vs. Corvette races down the local highway, in the backseat of his father's latest acquisition.
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