2014 FIAT 500L Wagon Review & Ratings | Edmunds

2014 FIAT 500L Wagon Review

2014 FIAT 500L Wagon
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Edmunds Summary Review of the 2014 FIAT 500L Wagon

  • C Edmunds Rating
  • 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.

  • Pros

    Big-car passenger and cargo space; good outward visibility; lots of European personality inside and out.

  • Cons

    Quirky behavior from automated manual transmission; unpredictable brakes; rear seats don't fold flat; uncomfortable ride quality.

  • What's New for 2014

    The 2014 Fiat 500L is an all-new model.

Reviews from owners of the 2014 FIAT 500L Wagon

Average Consumer Rating (See all 36 reviews) Write a Review

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Still a good choice after 45000 miles.

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Vehicle: 2014 FIAT 500L

I have put 45000 miles on my 500L Trekking in 27 months. It is driven 3-5 days a week to work 24 miles one way. I have made numerous trips of 300 to 450 miles one way. I find the front seats become uncomfortable only on the longest trips. I track my MPG since new and average 30.3 MPG. My best is 39.8. I have the auto transmission and I did have to get used to it. It does not always shift smoothly. I had a problem with the engine check light due to a fuel vac leak. The leak was never found and the problem stopped over a year and a half ago. I love the dashboard. I like a simple layout and feel the FIAT gives it to me. The view from the drivers seat is beyond compare. Cargo room is great. I can carry 2x4x8 boards in the car. It has been a great little car. The TECH package was the selling point for me. The backup camera is awesome.

Overall quite pleased, now that we learned more

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Vehicle: 2014 FIAT 500L

Overall this has been a good car for us. We've taken a number of long-ish trips (3-8 hours in the car), and we've never had an issue. It's a comfortable ride (I'm 5'10, my wife 5'4 and we both fit comfortably in front or in back. We now have a son who is almost 1 and he's spent his entire life thus far riding in this car. With the car seat in the middle, it's a little cramped in the back, but nothing bad. The trunk doesn't fit the jogger stroller very well, well just enough for the stroller and nothing else. It will fit in the front seat (upside down), but it makes reaching the shifter a bit awkward. We really should have gotten a larger car, but my wife LOVED the unique look of the car and the fact that you just don't see many of them around. The Navigation is acceptable, though I wish it had real time traffic updates and I wish the head unit had CarPlay (by Apple) support, it would make things noticeably easier for us, but after a few software updates the bluetooth connects to Siri and now we don't have the terrible default voice recognition software. Plugging your iPhone into the USB port gets you a few different experiences, but the bluetooth pairing has been pretty good now. The only thing I haven't liked about the car is the transmission, and probably more about the lack of education about it. When we bought the car, we were told about the different transmission, but never how it meant we had to treat the car differently than any other automatic. A few months after buying the car, a drive through Starbucks opened up near our house to which my wife has become a regular at. Sometimes she's had to wait in line quite a while and she'd sit in drive with her foot on the brake. After a few minutes she'd notice a smell. It smelled like burning coolant or something sweet like that. She tried to figure out the cause, but couldn't. Every time we took it to dealer they could never replicate it. Another time she actually had some smoke coming out from under her car. After some serious google-fu, I was able to track it down to the fact we should put the car in neutral when at a stop for "a while". There's no documentation that says what "a while" is or anything, so now so long as it's not a stop sign we put it into neutral (stop light, drive through, or stop & go traffic). We wish the dealer was more forth coming with this information when buying the car, in fact my wife may have actually changed her mind on the car with that information at hand, but all said she loves the car, just wishes it was a LITTLE bit bigger in the trunk.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

She's a keeper!

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Vehicle: 2014 FIAT 500L

We've had our 500L for 2 years now, though have only put on 14K miles so far, and it's my wife's daily driver. Ours is the Trekking trim with the 6 speed Dual-Dry-Clutch Transmission. In response to an earlier recent review where the reviewer gave the car just 1 star, my experience couldn't be more different. To start off, I love the transmission, but I've adapted my driving habits to ensure its longevity. It is, after all, an automatically shifted manual- not a slush box. What I'm talking about is, for example, to select the gear you want using the manual mode when in stop and go traffic, in particular when you're creeping along, and I always put it in neutral if I'm going to be stopped for any length of time. The reasons for driving the DDCT in this way are a bit technical, and maybe that's why dual clutch transmissions haven't caught on so well stateside. In any case, for 2015 all but the Pop trim come with the Aisin slush box if you opt for an auto transmission. I've had no problem with the car rolling backwards on a slight incline when pulling away from a stop, and hill hold assist works well when on any incline greater than "slight". The engine has proven to be plenty quick enough for merging with traffic etc. and frugal if you're easy on the gas. I've gotten upwards of 39 mpg when on back roads with no traffic, 34 or so on interstates, 25 to 27 in town (lots of cold starts routinely, so the economy suffers a bit for that). Some criticize the 500L for having too firm of a ride, but to me it is sublime, giving a very nice balance between ride and handling. The steering weights up nicely as you turn in, though I wish the turn-in response were a little sharper. It is very stable once into a corner, and it's fun to hustle it if you're in the mood, though the car is really excellent at just cruising on a sunny day, esp. if you've opted for the panoramic roof. The 500L is reasonably quiet at highway speeds, and for our small family it's a great road trip car. The upright seating position gives us long term comfort, and the expansive window area provides for an excellent view in all directions. We've found the front seats to be very comfortable with excellent adjustable lumbar support, though folks of longer inseam are more likely to have an issue with proper thigh support. For 2015 the front seat bottom cushions have been lengthened to address this issue. How I have the driver's seat adjusted allows me full view of the instrument binnacle, though I can see where some might have issues with that- perhaps running a lower seat height and a bit more recline would do the trick for them. The parking brake handle works OK, though ergonomically it could be better. Infotainment is intuitive, simple, and has been trouble free for us. It synchs up with my 160gb ipod classic pretty quickly too. I've had Honda's, Acura's, VW's etc. and this has become my favorite. We decided to buy a MOPAR extended warranty just for peace of mind. Our's has been stone reliable save for the recalls for an airbag and a transmission re-flash.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Excited to frustrated/alarmed

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Vehicle: 2014 FIAT 500L

Excited to buy, loved having a fiat but should have done more homework but when we bought last year there was not this much about the cars. Purchased it as a commuter/local use. Love the room inside, lots of head room, wide so you are not rubbing you elbows and the back seat is very roomy as mentioned in other reviews. Cons:1. on a slight incline when you take your foot off of the brake the clutch takes about 2 seconds to engage, so you roll back and there is a slight pause before power goes to the wheels. Nearly got T Boned the first time, 2. going uphill the power steering looses power so you have to exert more muscle to turn the wheel, then in the middle of the curve the power returns and if you are not ready you end up in the oncoming lane, 3. As mentioned in earlier reviews the brake are not consistent, one time quick and grabby the next there is pedal drop before a smooth application, 4. The low beam headlights do not illuminate nearly far enough, I asked the dealer to dial them higher and he told me they were as high as they would mechanically go. I jus keep them on high beam all of the time and almost nobody notices, If you live in the city you would never notice but if you are driving around back roads or not spending all of your time on interstates then you will feel blind, 5. As mentioned earlier there are few dealers in the Dodge/Chrysler organization that have a trained Fiat mechanics so you have to go to the Fist dealer for anything beyond oil change despite the dealers claim that you can get service at any Dodge/Chrysler service shop, 6. The front seats are not comfortable for a drive longer than 20 minutes, there do not go back far enough for me to have my legs (5'10"), 7. The steering wheel tilts but only slightly so that if you tilt it up it stops and blocks part of the display, They give you plenty of head room but the car does not accommodate persons over 5' 5" or so, we tested with friends, 9. we have had the car for just over a year and I was thinking about trading it in for another Dodge/Chrysler product and the dealer appraised the car at $8,000 and the salesman informed me that it was one of the worst depreciating cars in the USA and he had about 15 used Fiats. I am not 18 and understand car depreciate. I am also old enough over 45 to have driven many cars and know the difference between not liking the feel of handling of a car and not feeling safe driving a car. At first I thought I just needed to get used to it but over time it just gets worst and having to adjust my driving to keep from getting into a dangerous situation is not healthy. I made a big mistake purchasing this car for a number of reasons. I plan to trade it in as soon as I can research and purchase a replacement.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Undervalued, poorly reviewed car = great deal1

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Vehicle: 2014 FIAT 500L

CAR--2014 FIAT TREKKING MANUAL trans; BEATS Audio; fully LOADED (no sunroof, heated seats or visor-built-in garage door opener) PAID: $14,595 + tax/fees. (Last 2014 left on lot June2015, $9k discount.) NOTE: CAPS are used for easy reference of points in article. REPLACED--2003 VW PASSAT wagon 1.8lT ABOUT US?This is our SO CA 'family' car. We?ve owned mostly German cars (BMW & MB), my European husband was reluctant to buy it. This car cost half of the Subaru Outback wagon we intended on purchasing. We both have lived in Europe, so the look, size, & power of the car are not strange to us. We installed a THULE roof rack, a FIAT garage installed trailer-hitch for our Thule hitch-mounted bike rack. We are 5'8" & 6'3". SHORT REVIEW?We are impressed & got a great deal. I can?t stress enough: FIND A GOOD FIAT STUDIO/DEALER/GARAGE, as this will directly affect your satisfaction. INITIAL REVIEW-- The GOOD--Great bang for the buck. Fun to drive. A comfortable ride with DECENT SUSPENSION. PASSENGER SPACE comparable to our Passat with better headroom (friends 6?5? sat in the back, & another 6?6? in the front comfortably). Both front & rear seats are adjustable to customize needs and comfort. Intuitive layout & usage of COCKPIT & CONTROLS. We are enjoying the technology: SAT NAV, tech ports, 110v plug, dash trip computer, etc. Good use of SPACE (for a car this size). THE WEIRD-- Strange PARKING BRAKE. Stalled 1-2xs daily for first few weeks getting out of FIRST GEAR (different than other cars we've owned). Optical illusion of SIZE & SHAPE--Car is much roomier inside than appears. 6 MO REVIEW-- OVERALL?Still enjoying the ride & options. Car is now broken-in (& so are we), so we aren?t stalling out of first gear beyond normal occurrences. We?ve gotten used to the PARKING BRAKE. The GAS MILEAGE is decent (22-23/city & +26/hwy, with nearly 30mpg on long hwy trips. Seems to be improving.) The Trekking?s FABRIC SEATS (leather not available on this model) are more self-regulating than I would have assumed. After our hot SO CA summer and now our ?cold? weather, all is well. (I don?t miss having heated seats.) A 500L?s sunroof?s screen is perforated, so it will not fully shut out the sun even when closed, and roof racks are not compatible, so I am doubly glad we don?t have one. CRITICAL?NO DEAL-BREAKERS. But?The DOORS lack a ?stop? mechanism, they don?t ?fly? open, but don?t open in a controlled manner when exiting your vehicle. The BLUETOOTH: good as an mp3 player, bad for talking on the phone. The MIC picks up too much sound from the dash vent & such. We had the ?DEAD BATTERY issue? (as noted by other owners) because of a SOFTWARE UPDATE that didn?t take (our FIAT studio?s garage checked-off as ?done?), which was remedied by another FIAT garage. This other garage is a combo FIAT/JEEP, so they had the knowledge & know-how to install our TRAILER HITCH. So,?FIND A GOOD FIAT STUDIO/DEALER. Many negative reviews stem from issues with a dealership rather than the brand. Hopefully FIAT can remedy this somehow, as they put out a decent product. We have heard about some transmission problems, but we since we have manual, we are hoping to avoid that.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Bought a 2014 "new" treeking for $14k

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Vehicle: 2014 FIAT 500L

Review 2014 FIAT 500L Trekking w/ 6 Spd manual white - no options besides 6.5" Navigation Pros:  1.  Paid $14k for a new car with 100 miles, full warranty (4 yrs/50 mi).  10/10) 2.  Navigation, bluetooth, mp3 (via USB and/or SD card), andUconnect all work well. (9/10) 3.  Comfort - very roomy.  Took my wife, daughter (5yr. w/ car seat), and in-laws to and their luggage to the airport - 10/10. 4.  Manuverability/drivability - 1) the lighest clutch I've ever experienced.  2) short turning radius - makes parking and U-turns very easy.  3) Sturdy - feels like you are driving a Town & Country minivan (about the same ride height)  4) 1st gear is weird, but 3rd gear is when the torque shows up.  5)  drives well in the snow.  Was able to get up/over ice/snow covered hills that I used to get stuck on with old car.  6) at 700 miles, I get 24.5 MPG city, 34.5 highway.  The highest highway MPG was 37.0 (5 peo people plus luggage - going to the airport).  I paid $15 to fill my tank (regular, even though premium is recommended) a few days ago.  Small tank, decent range. 7) Power steering is like theold luxury cars from the 70's & 80's - light & easy. 5.  Easter eggs - 1)  the first day I got it, the arm rest was in the way of my shifting.  You can lower it by pulling on the feont latch and pushing it down (at an angle) perfect for resting your arm and shifting.  2)  You can keep your headlights switched to "on" all the time - basicall like auto headlights.  3)  When you turn your wheel (right or left) the fog lights come on to light the path.  4)  the fog lights are very bright.  5)  You can set a max spedd limit to get a reminder of when you go over a certain speed (I set mine to 75).  You can also set the Navigation to aler t you when you are druving over the posted speed limit. 5.  In reverse, the rear windshield wiper automatically truns on. 6.  If you make a panic stop - hit the brake hard, the hazard lights will automatically flach - alerting drivers behind you. Cons 1)  There are some rattles when driving over rough roads.  The conversation mirror makes noise if you forget to stow it. 2) I was on the highway, and the fasten seatbelt buzzer went off.  I un-fastened and re-fastened my bektm but it cintinued to chime.  It only stopped when I buckled the (empty) frint passenger seat.  It hasn't happened since.   3)  one morning, I noticed that the exterior lights were on (overnight?), car was slow to start/crank over, but still started.  Will turn the lights one/off manually. Regrets:  None - At first I wanted Beats and the moonroof, and the black roof (with the rest of the car white), but it was beyond the scope of my budget, and would ultimately just make the car colder/hotter/louder. Looked at the 2015 Urbanna - but didn't want to pay more.  I could see black wheels getting old/boring after a few years. I like tge styling and floating roof design w/ Trekking body cladding. Overall 9/10 - My parents alwats drover cars different than everyone else, and now so do I.

Full 2014 FIAT 500L Review

What's New for 2014

The 2014 Fiat 500L is an all-new model.


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.

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 mpg city/33 mpg highway), 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.

Driving Impressions

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

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2014 FIAT 500L Wagon in VA is:

$80.67 per month*

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