2015 FIAT 500L Review

Pros & Cons

  • Big-car passenger and cargo space
  • good outward visibility
  • lots of European personality inside and out
  • available touchscreen is easy to use.
  • Lackluster acceleration
  • uncomfortable ride quality
  • brakes are difficult to modulate
  • rear seats don't fold flat
  • quirky behavior from Pop trim level's optional automated manual transmission.
Other years
List Price Estimate
$7,321 - $10,057

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Edmunds' Expert Review

For people who are lured to the adorable Fiat 500 two-door hatchback but find its tiny size to be a deal breaker, the four-door 2015 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.

Vehicle overview

Depending on your impressions of Fiat, you might hold it in high regard considering it was a founding member of the earliest world-class racing machines, or take a rather dim view given that it was the butt of jokes when it withdrew from the U.S. market decades ago. But this is a new kind of Fiat for today's buyer. The company has partnered with Chrysler and is making a concerted effort to woo consumers with its uniquely Italian style, admirable fuel economy and competitive content. Doing this for family-oriented buyers is the 2015 Fiat 500L.

Introduced last year, the 2015 Fiat 500L may share its name with the plucky two-door hatchback and cabriolet we've grown accustomed to seeing, but that's where the similarities end. With two more doors, more than 2 feet of added length and as much interior volume as some small crossovers, the 2015 500L is a wholly different car from the standard Fiat 500. High-mounted front seats give the driver and front passenger a commanding view of the road, and rear head- and legroom and cargo capacity are plentiful. Have a carload of kids but need a stop at the grocery store on the way home? The Fiat 500L has a generous 23 cubic feet of room behind the rear seats.

On paper, the 500L seems like a great combination of the personality of the pocket-sized 500 hatchback with the roominess of a small crossover. Alas, it doesn't quite work out that way. Much of the blame falls on what Fiat has put in the engine bay. The 500L's 160-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine provides enough power for trips around town, but acceleration is more leisurely when you load up the whole family for a weekend road trip, especially with the quirky automated manual transmission. Last year, this was the only automatic available, but there is good news for 2015: Fiat is now offering a traditional automatic across several trim levels. The new six-speed automatic is definitely more refined and helps make better use of the 500L's limited power.

Yet the transmission and power woes aren't the only reasons the Fiat 500L scores an Edmunds "C" rating when measured against other family wagons. For a vehicle meant to cater to a family's needs, the 500L's tricky brake pedal feel, uncomfortable suspension tuning, lackluster build quality and inefficient cargo packaging are all notable downsides.

Overall, we think you'll be better off with one of the 500L's rivals. The closest competitor in terms of interior dimensions and personality is the 2015 Kia Soul, which is a superior vehicle in virtually every way. When you consider that a top-shelf Soul with its 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 (though costlier) 2015 Mini Cooper Countryman 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.

2015 FIAT 500L models

The 2015 Fiat 500L is a four-door compact wagon sold in five trim levels: Pop, Easy, Trekking, Urbana Trekking and Lounge.

The base-level Pop comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels, heated and power-adjustable exterior mirrors, air-conditioning, six-way manually adjustable cloth front seats, a floor console, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, 60/40 split-folding rear seats that slide fore and aft, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a six-speaker sound system with a 5-inch color touchscreen, a CD player, USB/iPod integration, an auxiliary input and voice controls for audio functions.

The Easy trim level adds 16-inch alloy wheels, body-colored exterior mirrors, tinted glass, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a front armrest with storage, upgraded seat fabric and a premium sound system with six speakers.

For 2015, Fiat is offering four Easy Collection packages, numbered 1 to 4. Easy Collection 1 includes satellite radio, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, power driver lumbar adjust and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Collection 2 includes those items and adds black-accented 16-inch alloy wheels and a choice of either a black- or white-painted roof. Collection 3 further adds a Beats premium audio system. Finally, Collection 4 includes everything above plus a sunroof, an 6.5-inch touchscreen, smartphone app integration (Uconnect Access) and a navigation system. There's also the Mutually Exclusive option package that includes Collection 4 and adds heated front seats.

Move to the Trekking trim and the 2015 Fiat 500L gets all the Easy standards plus 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 Collections 1 through 4 as the Easy but rather than the Easy's Mutually Exclusive option, it's called the Trekking Collection 5. This package also includes leather upholstery, heated front seats and a rear-seat armrest.

For 2015, Fiat is also offering the Urbana Trekking Limited Edition. It's essentially outfitted like a standard Trekking but with black-painted exterior trim details and wheels, a leather steering wheel, leatherette door panels and the Beats Audio system as standard. Leather seating with the rear-seat armrest is a stand-alone option, and Collections 1 through 3 are also available.

At the top of the 2015 Fiat 500L line you'll find the Lounge model, which reverts to 16-inch alloy wheels but adds chrome exterior trim and mirrors, foglights, rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a rear-seat armrest, dual-zone automatic climate control and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The optional Collection packages 1 through 6 and a Mutually Exclusive package largely follow those above, but because the Lounge comes with so many features already standard, the Collection packages are pared down a bit in the Lounge. More premium items such as painted or machine-finished 17-inch alloy wheels, black- or white-painted roof, Beats audio upgrade, sunroof and navigation are variously found within these option packages for the Lounge.

2015 Highlights

For the 2015 500L, Fiat has replaced the previous automated manual transmission with a traditional six-speed automatic on most models. There's also a new Urbana Trekking trim, a larger optional touchscreen display and revised standard and optional feature content availability.

Performance & mpg

Every 2015 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 is optional on the Pop trim. On the remaining Easy, Trekking and Urbana Trekking models, the optional transmission is a traditional six-speed automatic. This automatic is standard on the 500L Lounge.

In Edmunds testing, a 2014 500L with the automated-manual transmission accelerated to 60 mph in 9.3 seconds, a competitive, though hardly invigorating, performance for the class. A 500L Trekking with the automatic transmission did the sprint to 60 in a quicker 8.5 seconds.

With the manual transmission, the EPA-estimated fuel economy is 28 mpg combined (25 city/33 highway). The automated manual serves up 27 mpg combined (24/33), and the new automatic is estimated at 25 mpg combined (22/30). These estimates are average for a small wagon/crossover.


All 2015 Fiat 500L models come standard with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, hill-hold assist, 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. The optional Uconnect Access feature that comes with the 6.5-inch touchscreen includes remote vehicle access (via a smartphone app), emergency assistance and stolen vehicle location.

In simulated panic stops from 60 mph, a 500L Lounge required 120 feet to stop, while a 500L Trekking took 122 feet, both of which are a little better than average for this class.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 500L its top rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset impact test but the lowest "Poor" rating in the small-overlap frontal-offset impact test. In the remaining side-impact, roof-strength and seat and head restraint (whiplash protection) tests, the 500L earned a "Good" rating.


There's little about driving the 2015 Fiat 500L that transfers from the diminutive two-door Fiat 500. Although it's still considered a small wagon, the 500L feels several times larger than the 500 hatchback and larger than its peers. 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. We're also not fond of the brake pedal, which can feel grabby and hard to modulate smoothly.

Fiat's turbocharged 1.4-liter engine works out fine in the smaller 500, but it meets its match in the not-exactly-svelte 500L. Even with just a couple of people aboard, accelerating up to highway speeds requires some patience. Also disappointing is the automated-manual transmission. It can be slow to respond when you're pulling away from traffic lights or trying to creep at parking lot speeds. Thankfully, though, it's only offered on the Pop trim level this year. Picking the manual transmission or the "regular" automatic transmission on the remaining 500L trim levels is the way to go.


Large doors, an essentially level roof line and high-mounted front seats make it easy to slide right into the 2015 Fiat 500L. The front seats are wide and comfortable, but they are also stiff and not especially supportive if you like to drive quickly around corners. What's more, they lack any sort of power adjustment other than the available power lumbar.

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 idea and ingenuity of double A-pillars, in practice there are four pillars where there could be two.

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, but the stalks, buttons and levers have a hollow feel that does not impart a sense of quality. Both of the 500L's touchscreens work well, but we're particularly fond of the optional 6.5-inch touchscreen. Its quick processing times and large icons make it easy to use.

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. However the non-reclining seatbacks are rather upright all the time.

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.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2015 FIAT 500L.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

5 out of 5 stars
Disagree with the experts. This car is underrated!
Gilberto Marcha,04/08/2016
Lounge 4dr Wagon (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
This is the 11th new car I have purchased and this is one of the most enjoyable. My 2015 500L is a pleasure to drive. This vehicle has received more than a few negative professional reviews but I strongly disagree. Yes the center armrest is narrow but it is functional. I do not mind the emergency brake handle location. The car provides a great view of the road and the seating position is excellent. The ride is tuned to a good level in my opinion. I live in Chicago and this car has proven to be easy to park in tight city street spaces while providing excellent interior volume. Great cargo space for those larger purchases. Highway performance is also good, I have averaged 33 mpg. My children love this car and prefer to ride in it vs our Ford Taurus. I was in the market for a Chrysler 200 but when I could not find one equipped to my liking I took a chance on test driving the 500L and never looked back. Yes I was concerned with the professional ratings and reviews but my experience has been all positive. I have not experienced the brake fade some reviewers did. My car came with the Beats audio system and I frequently have too adjust the base level down as it is tuned too a level way too high.
4.38 out of 5 stars
Fiat 500L = Fun Italian Ride
Trekking 4dr Wagon (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
This little Italian charmer has been quite a refreshing joy to drive over the last few weeks. The performance of the multi-air turbo is phenomenal and unexpected. For its size, the 500L is nimble and handles more like a sports car than the Fiat self-described "Urban Utility Vehicle." I highly recommend the Trekking version of this vehicle. It is a better designed model than the others offered and more rugged in appearance.
5 out of 5 stars
Fun and Functional
Easy 4dr Wagon (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
Having owned a fiat 128 Sedan, Fiat 128 3P, Fiat Bravo, and Fiat Spyder 2000 and loved them all I thought I would give Fiat another try since my wife has had a trouble free 500 Sport since 2012 with no problems. I traded in my luxury ride Buick Century for a 500L and I am in love with it. It has plenty enough power to get you on the interstate and cruise at the traditional 5 mph above the speed limit, as well as, get you in and out of tight spots. I especially love the option of running the gears yourself with the optional 6 speed automatic. It has lots of room both front and back and handles like a European Car should handle. It cuts and turns quickly and holds the road beautifully. All of that while maintaining a comfortable ride. I noticed that it stands just a few inches short of my 2003 Chevy Venture van. The appearance means a lot to me also, as it is highly unique and does not have the cookie cutter design that most cars have. In general, it looks great, is functional, roomy, powerful enough and fun to drive.
5 out of 5 stars
I LOVE my 2015 Fiat 500L Trekking 6-speed automati
Trekking 4dr Wagon (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
I had a 2012 500 Sport and it was time for something bigger, I love the look of the 500X and had to take one for a test drive. I picked a Black 500X Trekking AWD, I liked the comfortable ride and was impressed with the 9 speed transmission. While talking about the numbers with my sales person, I could not take my eyes of this 2015 Rosso Perla colored 500L Trekking that was on the show room floor. After a few days I still could not get that car out of my mind, so I went back and test drove that 500L and I loved the cavernous feel on the inside, but it isn't enormous outside (love the cargo area and fold down back seats); it sips gas, has really good visibility, comfortable front seats and a smooth drive. The AISIN Heavy Duty 6 speed automatic shifts great and responds well when I need to down shift for passing or merging onto the highway. So for me I had to have the 500L Trekking, a week after I got it we took it on our family vacation. And it was very comfortable on that long 4 hour road trip to Todd PA. It got around 34 mpg (all highway driving) and on my normal day to day driving I average around 30 combined. I do love this car. I've had no problems whatsoever with it (it's still very new, only 1850 miles, so I'll keep my fingers crossed). It's weird, cute, bug-eyed looking and these are all positives to me. I have absolutely no regrets having moved into a car that performs the same functions of getting me around, but gives me so much more enjoyment than the average same-old same-old car everyone else has. Family, friends and coworkers always ask me "Why another Fiat?" aMy response is always the same, go test drive one for yourself and you will see why I love them. Not every poor review about the Fiat brand is true; you can't believe everything you read. After a year of ownership, the Fiat 500l Trekking is one of the best vehicles I have owned. Unlike other reviews I have not had any problems with the 500l. The only time it has seen the service center is for its routine maintenance. So let me say it again, not every poor review about the Fiat brand is true; you can't believe everything you read.


IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
  • Roof Strength Test
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2015 FIAT 500L
More About This Model

Quick Summary
The 2015 Fiat 500L is a compact four-door, five-passenger hatchback that couples personality with practicality. Designed to offer more cargo and passenger space than the subcompact Fiat 500, the 500L retains that car's charisma but expands its usefulness with two additional doors. Its larger size certainly makes it more practical that the original Fiat 500, but its lack of overall polish leaves it a few steps behind its competitors.

What Is It?
A larger, four-door companion to the original Fiat 500, the 500L is more than 2 feet longer overall and 5 inches wider. Our 2015 Fiat 500L Trekking is one notch below the top-of-the-line Lounge trim. In total, four trim levels are offered, including the lower-end Pop and Easy models. The base Pop trim starts at $21,245. Our tester, equipped with the $6,000 Trekking Collection 5 package (navigation, back-up camera, dual-zone climate control, heated seats, sunroof and more) and the $1,350 automatic transmission totaled $29,795.

All four trims are front-wheel drive and utilize a 160-horsepower 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine. Three transmissions are offered, all of them with six speeds — a manual, an automated manual and, new this year, a conventional automatic. All-wheel drive isn't available.

2015 Fiat 500L

How Does It Drive?
Compact hatchbacks aren't known for their driving dynamics, but the 500L is among the worst offenders. Its combination of an awkward driving position, limited visibility and mediocre handling qualify it for bottom-of-the-barrel status in a pretty deep barrel.

Even those who appreciate the virtues of an upright driving position will be frustrated by the Fiat's insistence on it. Front-quarter visibility can be difficult because the two leading roof pillars are both in front of the driver and positioned close enough together that they hide vehicles or pedestrians from view in some situations.

This quirky, little Italian offers a few driving virtues, however, and the performance of its new automatic transmission is among them. The new gearbox provides better control than the automated manual transmission that comes on the base trim levels.

Power is modest, but being able to manage it through manual control of the gearbox (rev-matched downshifts included) is a big improvement over the erratic and unpredictable behavior of the automated manual. Our test car reached 60 mph in 8.5 seconds, which is about average for the segment.

Set the 500L in a corner and it's reasonably easy to control, with low but defined limits that end in predictable understeer. Still, the 500L's height, driving position and overall attitude about being driven quickly deterred any desire we had to drive it that way. This is an urban errand runner and nothing more.

The ride quality is also busy. Though there's nothing in the 500L's handling character to indicate it wants to be driven quickly, there's also nothing about its ride quality that indicates it's designed for comfort. Seemingly small imperfections send the body into erratic vertical motions.

2015 Fiat 500L

Is It Comfortable?
Being tall has its advantages. Among those is a bright, airy cockpit. Bright because nearly every vertical surface above shoulder level is made of glass. Airy thanks to tall roof pillars. Our tester's optional sunroof consumes two-thirds of the horizontal roof space, making thin-haired occupants fond of hats, sunscreen or both. Some drivers will appreciate that ambient light seeps abundantly through the fully deployed sunshade.

With a bulging seat bottom and seatback, the front seats fit like an overinflated yoga ball. We never made peace with the granite cushions, and the seatback defiantly refused to fit our shape regardless of angle. If you're picky about seat comfort, try these before you buy.

There's plenty of legroom in the backseat, but passengers with long torsos will struggle with headroom in sunroof-equipped models. The overly hard theme continues with the rear-seat bottoms, where the need for softer padding is more dramatic than in the front.

Leather seats come with the Trekking Collection 5 package, yet their mix of textures serves only to further confuse the Fiat's middling materials and assembly quality. Knobs offer little sureness and stalks click between positions with minimal solidity. Nothing here is really awful, but most competitors offer nicer materials and better operating precision.

2015 Fiat 500L

How Practical Is the 500L?
Cargo space is abundant in the 500L relative to most competitors. Even with its rear seat upright, there are 22.4 cubic feet of space in the cargo area, more than any direct competitor. Folding the rear seats opens up 68 cubic feet of cargo space, which is also among the best in the segment and far more than the immediate competition.

The hatch conceals a rear shelf which, in its upper position, elevates the floor to the same level as the folded rear seats, creating a nearly flat cargo area. In its lower position, the shelf rests several inches above the floor. The optional subwoofer for the high-end audio system consumes valuable space, a consideration for those who would prefer more cargo room over a better-sounding stereo.

What Safety Features Are Offered?
As standard, seven airbags are packaged in the 500L, including a driver's knee airbag. Optional safety features offered on our test car were a rearview camera and rear parking sensors.

The 500L hasn't been rated by the federal government in crash tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave it a "Good" rating in every category except the demanding small overlap front test, where it earned a "Poor" rating.

2015 Fiat 500L

What Kind of Fuel Economy Can You Expect?
The EPA rates the 500L equipped with the six-speed automatic transmission at 25 mpg combined (22 city/30 highway). Both the manual and automated manual transmission-equipped models are rated higher in combined mpg.

Our testing produced 20.8 mpg in combined driving, including 25.1 mpg on our standard test loop.

What Are Its Closest Competitors?
Though the 2015 Mini Cooper Countryman is probably the 500L's most obvious direct competitor, it is smaller inside and more expensive. But the Cooper is both a better-driving and a higher-quality car.

If you're shopping this segment purely for practicality and value, it would be a mistake to ignore the Japanese and Korean competitors. The 2015 Scion xB, though at the end of its product cycle, offers similar cargo space, better fuel economy and lower cost.

A similar case can be made for the 2015 Kia Soul, though neither provides the same premium feel offered by the Mini.

Why Should You Consider This Car?
You're attracted to the 500L's personality and styling but you need more cargo space than is offered in the Mini Cooper Countryman.

Why Should You Think Twice About This Car?
Similar money will buy you a car with just as much personality, a higher-quality feel and better driving dynamics and efficiency.

The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.

Used 2015 FIAT 500L Overview

The Used 2015 FIAT 500L is offered in the following submodels: 500L Wagon. Available styles include Lounge 4dr Wagon (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A), Easy 4dr Wagon (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M), Pop 4dr Wagon (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M), Trekking 4dr Wagon (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M), and Urbana Trekking 4dr Wagon (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M). Pre-owned FIAT 500L models are available with a 1.4 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 160 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2015 FIAT 500L comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed automatic, 6-speed manual. The Used 2015 FIAT 500L comes with a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. basic warranty, a 4 yr./ unlimited mi. roadside warranty, and a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2015 FIAT 500L?

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2015 FIAT 500LS are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2015 FIAT 500L for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2015 FIAT 500L.

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Should I lease or buy a 2015 FIAT 500L?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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