For people who like the regular Fiat 500 but find its tiny size to be a deal breaker, the four-door 2014 Fiat 500L would seem to be a compelling alternative. But we've found it has too many drawbacks. Other small wagons will be better choices.
by Mark Rivera on Apr 30, 2015 Vehicle: 2014 FIAT 500L Easy 4dr Wagon (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6AM)
Just upgraded my 500(Manual) after 53000 miles with only two issues - one was one headlight stopped working and Fiat replaced both, also, a problem caused by my cigarette lighter phone charger(blowing fuses). I needed more space, so, decided to upgrade to 500L(Manual) - Rosso Perla with White Roof. I am mid age person with plenty of experience as a car enthusiast. I do not buy European cars with automatic trannys, PERIOD!(bad experiences). Going to 200 miles so far and I am very happy at the least on how this puppy feels. Still have to get used to first gear(it sure is weird). MPG so far is around 29. Will post again in a few months again with more evaluation after break in period.
by angelito1 on Apr 10, 2015 Vehicle: 2014 FIAT 500L Trekking 4dr Wagon (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6AM)
I have had this car for a couple of months And totally love it. Let me start by saying that it is true the first gear in the manual transmission takes a little getting use to. And no it doesn't takes off Or drive like a rocket..... But I love the styling because there is nothing like it. It is reliable, super confortable And awesome on gas. You want a testament to this.... With barely 2500 miles on it I took it on a loong road trip from WA state to Fairbanks Alaska. It drove up and down the mountain roads like it is what it was made to do. By the way I was fully loaded with suitcases, duffle bags with clothes and theblike... Average 34 MPG. Again best car ever.
by Seema Sonnad on Mar 16, 2015 Vehicle: 2014 FIAT 500L Pop 4dr Wagon (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
I've had the car for 9.5 months now. I love the style, the roominess, the visibility and how much fun it is to drive. It took a bit to get used to the transmission (manual, a little odd in first gear), but now it is great. It did have a recall to repair a computer issue causing the battery to die when parked in the cold for more than 48 hours with no start, but hopefully that is resolved. Some minor electrical things are a little quirky, but no big deal. I had my VW golf prior to this for 15 years with no major issues (it had early recalls for an oxygen sensor chip so was not perfect), so reliability is my only real concern with the Fiat.
by sparkin5280 on Feb 24, 2015 Vehicle: 2014 FIAT 500L Easy 4dr Wagon (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6AM)
Like someone else said, this is one of the most underrated small cars on the market today. It's well documented that Americans don't like wagons or minivans for that matter. Well apparently neither do most auto journalists because this car is lambasted in every pupublication. Just go drive one for yourself, these are TONS of fun. In Colorado here at this elevation Turbos and their forced induction rule the land. Maybe in Texas at sea level this car seems pokey, but in this thin air this 1.4 direct inject turbo runs hard and is a blast to drive. I upgraded from a Mini Clubman and LOVE the fact I can fit 3 car seats wide. To be fair I have the 6 speed manual so no automatic problems here.
by basso1 on Feb 4, 2015 Vehicle: 2014 FIAT 500L Lounge 4dr Wagon (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6AM)
I absolutely love this car. The interior space is incredible for a car this size! It's fun to drive, fine on the highway and very well equipped. I went from a Volvo XC90 to this seeking better gas mileage and got it, averaging about 28 mpg combined city/hwy. I read up on the dual auto clutch from the information Fiat provided and have no complaints. A well equipped car that is reliable and performs. I also purchased the lifetime extended warranty for $2,500 although I read you could get it as low as $2,295.
by darthmoll21 on Jan 12, 2015 Vehicle: 2014 FIAT 500L Easy 4dr Wagon (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6AM)
I traded in a reliable Rav4 for this piece of crap. For the first few months, the car worked well, aside from a few recall issues. After I'd had it for 6 months, the problems really started to surface. The check engine light kept coming on and I was taking the car to the shop nearly every other week. The transmission completely locked up at one point and I had to turn the car on and off several times before it unlocked. The transmission also began to jerk much more (yes it's quirky but this is NOT a feature) while accelerating and decelerating, making stop and go traffic particularly dangerous. I'm currently pursuing lemon law on this car so I can get rid of it!
When Fiat returned to the United States in 2011, it was pretty much guaranteed that the ultracompact 500 hatchback would have narrow appeal. The 500's origins and soul are from Europe, where tight city streets and shorter distances between destinations make small cars a way of life. Fiat always planned to expand the 500 family to include a larger, more useful variation aimed at North American drivers. The result is the 2014 Fiat 500L.
With two more doors, more than 2 feet of added length and as much interior volume as many full-size cars, the 2014 500L is a wholly different car from the standard Fiat 500: It's a compact wagon close in size to many compact crossovers. High-mounted front seats give the driver and front passenger a commanding view of the road, and rear headroom and legroom are more plentiful than you might think.
This is also a much wider car than the 500 hatchback, and thanks to significant gains in shoulder room and hiproom, getting three children across in the backseat is a legitimate proposition. So is a stop at the grocery store on your way home: The Fiat 500L offers a comparatively titanic 23.1 cubic feet of capacity behind its rear seats compared with just 9.5 in the standard Fiat 500.
To accommodate all that extra size, the new 500L has a standard 160-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It provides modest power for trips around town, but not surprisingly, acceleration is more leisurely when you load up the whole family for a weekend road trip. This is especially true when optioned with the automated manual transmission, which sucks much of the life out of the 500L due to its unresponsive nature and an over-eagerness to shift into its top gear at the earliest opportunity.
The 2014 Fiat 500L's faults don't end there, and Edmunds' "C" rating reveals why it comes up short on being the measure of a competent family wagon. True, the 500L does combine the personality of the diminutive 500 hatchback with the room of a crossover, but for a vehicle that should cater to a family's needs, the 500L substandard transmission, brakes, suspension tuning, interior quality and cargo packaging shouldn't be ignored.
The closest competitor in terms of interior dimensions and quirkiness is the 2014 Kia Soul, which is a superior vehicle in virtually every way. When you consider that a top-shelf Soul with its far more powerful engine and traditional automatic transmission comes in at a comparable price to the base 500L with a manual, the Fiat cannot compete. The similarly positioned but costlier 2014 Mini Cooper Countryman (the largest Mini) offers a far more sophisticated driving experience, with sportier handling and the option of all-wheel drive. Other recommended options include the Nissan Juke or smaller, similarly priced compact crossovers like the Kia Sportage.
No Video Content
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Fiat 500L is a four-door compact wagon sold in four trim levels: Pop, Easy, Trekking and Lounge.
The base-level Pop comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels; keyless entry; power windows and locks; air-conditioning; cruise control; six-way manually adjustable cloth front seats; a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with audio controls; a six-speaker CD stereo with a 5-inch touchscreen display, USB/iPod integration, an auxiliary input and voice control for audio functions; Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity; and 60/40 split-folding rear seats that recline and adjust fore and aft.
The Easy trim level adds 16-inch alloy wheels, body-colored exterior mirrors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a front seat center console and armrest, upgraded seat fabric and a premium 520-watt audio system with six speakers. For 2014, Fiat is offering the optional Premier package, which includes a rearview camera, rear parking sensors and a larger 6.5-inch touchscreen interface with a navigation system, free of charge on all 500L Easy, Trekking or Lounge models.
Other option packages available starting with the Easy trim include a Popular Equipment group, which bundles dual-zone automatic climate control, a six-way power driver seat, rear armrest, auto-dimming rearview mirror and 115-volt power outlet; and the Beats audio group, which provides an upgraded amplifier and subwoofer for the audio system, plus satellite radio. A sunroof, heated seats, a compact spare tire and a black- or white-painted roof are stand-alone options.
Move to the Trekking trim and the 2014 Fiat 500L gets 17-inch wheels, foglights, unique front and rear body panels and trim, two-tone interior trim and premium cloth upholstery. The 500L Trekking trim offers the same options as the Easy.
At the top of the 2014 Fiat 500L line you'll find the Lounge model, which reverts to 16-inch wheels but adds chrome exterior trim and mirrors; heated leather front seats with six-way power adjustments for the driver; dual-zone automatic climate control and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The Beats audio upgrade, sunroof, spare tire and white or black roof remain optional on the Lounge, and you can also order 17-inch wheels.
Powertrains and Performance
Every 2014 Fiat 500L is front-wheel drive and powered by a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 160 hp and 180 pound-feet of torque. For all but the top-trim Lounge model, a six-speed manual transmission is standard. A six-speed automated manual transmission takes the place of a conventional automatic transmission. It's optional for the 500L Easy and Trekking and standard on the 500L Lounge.
In Edmunds testing, a 500L Lounge accelerated to 60 mph in 9.3 seconds, a competitive, though hardly invigorating, performance for the class.
With the manual transmission, the 1.4-liter Multiair engine delivers EPA-estimated fuel economy of 28 mpg combined (25 city/33 highway). The automated manual serves up 27 mpg combined (24/33), which is average for a small wagon/crossover. With this transmission, we managed 31.2 mpg on the 116-mile Edmunds evaluation loop.
All 2014 Fiat 500L models come standard with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, a tire-pressure monitoring system, front seat-mounted side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, a driver-side knee airbag and active head restraints for front-seat occupants. A rearview camera and rear parking sensors are also available as part of the no-cost Premier package offered on the 2014 500L Easy, Trekking and Lounge models.
In simulated panic stops from 60 mph, a 500L Lounge required 120 feet to stop, which is a little better than average for its vehicle class.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 500L its top rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests. Its seat/head restraint design was also rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.
Interior Design and Special Features
Large doors, an essentially level roof line and high-mounted front seats make it easy to slide right into the 2014 Fiat 500L. The front seats are wide and comfortable, but not especially supportive if you like to drive quickly around corners. Once you're seated, you'll be struck by the expansive field of vision that comes from the wagon's large glass area. This imparts a unique sense of minivan-like openness, as the 500L driver enjoys practically unimpeded views in any direction. Yet while we appreciate the design ingenuity of double front roof pillars framing the windshield, in practice two pillars would have worked just as well.
The dashboard design of the 500L is contemporary, fresh and airy, complementing the overall impression of a light-filled interior. The dual-gauge instrument cluster looks modern, and the dials deliver needed information clearly, although some of the ancillary information in the center cluster display comes with small fonts and a slightly muddled presentation. The padded upper dash is particularly nice in this class, as is the generously sized infotainment interface, but the stalks, buttons and levers have a hollow feel that does not impart a sense of quality.
The 500L's ample interior room is obvious in the backseat, where the car's width provides a comfortable perch for two adults or three children. There's a wealth of legroom, too, particularly if the sliding 60/40 seats are in their rearmost position. In this configuration, its luggage compartment volume of 21.3 cubic feet surpasses that of the Soul, Countryman and Juke.
The 500L's maximum cargo capacity of 68 cubic feet rivals that of larger compact crossovers, let alone the Kia Soul (61 cubic feet), Mini Countryman (41) and Nissan Juke (36). Its 21.3 cubic feet with the seats raised is similarly segment leading. However, the 500L's real-world utility is hampered by a high cargo lift-over height and rear-seat backrests that don't fold totally flat.
There's little about driving the 2014 Fiat 500L that transfers from the miniscule two-door Fiat 500. Although it's still diminutive among wagons, the 500L feels several times larger than the phone-booth-size 500 hatchback. As such, the 500L's ride and handling traits are softer and less nimble than those of the regular 500. Unfortunately, the L's ride quality gets busy and bouncy on uneven roads, and there's quite a din of wind noise because of the upright windshield and large side mirrors. On the bright side, steering is precise and the 500L feels confident and composed when going around turns.
Although its power delivery is reasonably good once underway, the 1.4-liter turbocharged engine meets its match in the not-exactly-svelte 500L, particularly when paired with the automated-manual transmission. Even with just a couple of people aboard, accelerating up to highway speeds requires some patience. Also, the automated manual can be slow to respond when you're pulling away from traffic lights or trying to creep at parking lot speeds. On many occasions, we found ourselves practically motionless with the accelerator pinned to the floor. We've also observed that it's anxious to shift into its most efficient gear as quickly as possible to maximize fuel economy, which can leave you short on thrust while trying to accelerate in traffic. To make matters worse, the numb and grabby brake pedal is hard to modulate smoothly.
Edmunds Insurance Estimator
This is the estimated average annual insurance premium being charged in your state. The premium has been determined based on annual premium data for defined coverages (liability, comprehensive and collision) from a major insurer.
While this information is specific to vehicle make, model, model year and body type, your personal information is not taken into consideration and could greatly alter the actual premium quoted by an insurer. Factors that will affect your rate include your age, marital status, credit history, driving record, and the garaging address of your vehicle.
The Edmunds TCO®
monthly insurance payment for a 2014 FIAT 500L Wagon
in VA is:
† Edmunds.com received the highest numerical score in the proprietary J.D. Power 2014 Third-Party Automotive Website Evaluation Study℠. Results based on responses from 3,381 responses, measuring 14 companies and measures third-party automotive website usefulness among new and used vehicle shoppers. Proprietary study results are based on experiences and perceptions of owners surveyed from January 2014. Your experiences may vary. Visit jdpower.com.