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2016 Fiat 500L

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 10/22/2015 Zach Gale
© Fiat

New for 2016

The 2016 Fiat 500L gains an available Rosso (red) roof color. A special-edition model called the Urbana Trekking, which was introduced for 2015, continues for the 2016 model year.

Vehicle Summary

The 2016 Fiat 500L is a tall front-drive hatchback that slots above the smaller 500 hatch in size. While it has the same name, the 500L is not mechanically related to the 500 hatch and 500c.

Overview

One engine is available in the 2016 500L: a 1.4-liter turbo I-4 with 160 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. Three transmission choices are available, a six-speed manual, a conventional six-speed automatic with a torque converter, and a six-speed dry twin-clutch automatic transmission. With the split-folding rear seats in place, the 500L has 23.1 cubic feet of cargo space that can be expanded to a whopping 68 cubic feet with them folded and tumbled forward. The cargo area also has a false floor for improved cargo carrying flexibility.

Safety

In addition to the standard dual front, front-side, and side curtain airbags, the 2016 500L also comes with a knee airbag for the driver.

The IIHS gave the 2015 500L a Good score in four crash tests and Poor in the Small Overlap Front test (Good is the highest possible score).

Trims, Packages, and What's Standard

Standard features included in the base Pop trim include keyless entry, the UConnect infotainment system with a five-inch touchscreen, cloth upholstery, 16-inch steel wheels, Bluetooth connectivity, tumbling 60/40 split-folding rear seats, and a USB port. Stepping up to the Easy trim adds power side mirrors, a six-speaker premium audio system, and 16-inch alloy wheels. The Trekking and Urbana Trekking trims add exterior body cladding, 17-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, and an available contrasting roof. Urbana Trekking models also come standard with a premium Beats by Dr. Dre sound system. On the range-topping Lounge trim, additional standard features include dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, and leather upholstery. An upgraded UConnect infotainment system with a larger 6.5-inch touchscreen is also available with navigation.

What We Think

In a 2014 First Drive review, we said that the 500L's throttle response was sluggish and feels tipsy around curves. On the other hand, the engine, despite having plenty of torque, behaves more like a high-revving motor with little bursts of acceleration. The seats also proved to be a weak point because they're flat and unsupportive. During the 2014 Car of the Year evaluations, judges noted that the driver tends to slide around a lot when driving aggressively. Additionally, the three-piece windshield made it hard to judge where the front of the car is.

Cool Fact

The "L" in 500L stands for loft.

You'll Like:

  • Spacious interior
  • Quirky exterior design

You Won't Like:

  • Sloppy handling
  • Sluggish throttle response
  • Three-piece windshield can cause some confusion

Key Competitors

  • Kia Soul
  • Ford C-Max
  • Mini Clubman
  • Scion iM
  • Volkswagen Golf SportWagen

--Stefan Ogbac

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