2017 FIAT 500L Review

Pros & Cons

  • Plenty of passenger room and cargo space for a small hatchback
  • Optional touchscreen interface is attractive and easy to use
  • Good outward visibility
  • Choppy ride quality over rough pavement
  • Feels slower than most other cars in the class
  • Touchy brakes make it hard to come to a smooth stop
  • Rear seats don't fold flat for more cargo flexibility
Other years
List Price Estimate
$9,236 - $10,946

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Overall rating

Fiat cemented its recent American comeback with the 500, a diminutive two-door seemingly ideal for urban commuters and metro dwellers. What the "Cinquecento" lacked in class-leading standards, it made up for with small-car charisma not seen since the reintroduction of the Mini. For some buyers, however, the 500 is too small. And that's where the larger, four-door Fiat 500L comes in.

This family-oriented Fiat provides more than 2 feet of added length along with its extra pair of doors and yields as much interior volume as some small crossovers. High-mounted front seats give the driver and front passenger a commanding view of the road. And in contrast to the painfully cramped rear quarters in the two-door 500, the 500L delivers plentiful rear head- and legroom.

That's pretty much where the good news ends, however. If you fill the 500L with passengers and cargo, for example, the turbocharged four-cylinder engine struggles with the added weight. Throw in a choppy ride, lackluster build quality and a brake pedal that's hard to operate smoothly, and it's not surprising that the 500L brings up the rear in this segment.

Unless you have to have an Italian hatchback, it's worth considering one of the 500L's rivals such as the Kia Soul. It offers similar interior dimensions and personality, and it's a superior vehicle in most ways. The Mini Cooper Countryman offers a far more sophisticated driving experience, with sportier handling, faster acceleration and optional all-wheel drive, but at a higher price. Other choices we recommend include compact crossovers such as the Nissan Juke, Fiat's own 500X, the Honda HR-V and the Hyundai Tucson.

The 2017 Fiat 500L comes standard with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, hill hold assist, front-seat-mounted airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, a driver 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 distances 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 front-impact test, but the lowest Poor rating in the small-overlap front-impact test. In the remaining side-impact, roof strength, and seat/head restraint (whiplash protection) tests, the 500L earned a Good rating.

2017 FIAT 500L models

The 2017 Fiat 500L is a four-door compact wagon sold in three trim levels: Pop, Trekking and Lounge.

The base-level Pop comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, daytime running lights, tinted glass, power windows/mirrors/door locks, air-conditioning, remote keyless entry, six-way manually adjustable cloth front seats, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, 60/40-split folding rear seats that slide fore and aft, Bluetooth phone connectivity, a 5-inch touchscreen interface, voice controls and a six-speaker audio system with a CD player, a USB port and an auxiliary input.

The Trekking level adds 17-inch wheels, foglights, unique body panels and trim with a rugged theme, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a rear seat armrest, satellite radio, and a Beats Audio sound system with six speakers and a trunk-mounted subwoofer.

Moving up to the Lounge adds 17-inch alloy wheels with a painted finish, chrome exterior mirrors and body accents, and a 115-volt auxiliary power outlet.

Most options are grouped into bundles for each trim level. Highlights include the Popular Equipment package, which adds dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, four-way front seat power lumbar adjustment, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, and satellite radio. The Premium package bundles the same items and adds a spare tire, the Beats audio system, navigation, and upgraded Uconnect entertainment with the 6.5-inch touchscreen.

A sunroof, matte black finish wheels, and color combinations that match the roof and exterior mirrors are other available options.

The front-wheel-drive 2017 Fiat 500L is powered by a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 160 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. It pairs with a six-speed automatic transmission.

In Edmunds testing, a 500L Trekking with the automatic transmission accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 8.5 seconds, a respectable time for a small wagon/hatchback.

The EPA-estimated fuel economy is 25 mpg combined (22 city/30 highway).

Driving

Little about driving the 2017 Fiat 500L compares to the diminutive two-door Fiat 500. Although it's considered a small wagon, the 500L feels many times larger than the 500 hatchback and larger than its peers. Its ride and handling traits are softer and clumsier than what we're accustomed to in this class, especially on bumpy road surfaces where it pitches and rolls a little too much. There's also quite a bit of of wind noise from the upright windshield and large side mirrors.

Fiat's turbocharged four-cylinder engine works fine in the smaller 500 but meets its match trying to haul the added weight — about 800 pounds — of the 500L. With a couple of passengers aboard, accelerating to highway speeds requires a plan and patience. We're not particularly fond of the brakes, either. The braking system performs fine (see Safety section), but the pedal makes its hard to slow down smoothly and without excessive jerking and grabbing.

Interior

Large doors, a level roof line and high-mounted front seats make it easy to slide right into the Fiat 500L. The front seats are wide and comfortable, but they're also stiff and not especially supportive during spirited driving. They also lack any sort of power adjustment other than the available power lumbar.

Once seated, you'll be struck by the expansive field of vision that comes from the wagon's large glass area. Unimpeded views in all directions give the 500L a feeling of space and openness almost like a minivan, although the large pillars on either side of the windshield take some getting used to.

The dash design has a cool and contemporary feel that gives it a unique charm. The dual-gauge instrument cluster delivers clear information to the driver at a glance. Some of the smaller details and information displayed in the center cluster are harder to read, however, with smaller fonts and a somewhat muddled presentation.

Both of the 500L's touchscreens work well, but we're particularly fond of the optional 6.5-inch touchscreen because its quick processing times and large icons make it easier to use.

The 500L's ample interior room compared to the two-door 500 is obvious in the backseat, where added width provides a comfortable perch for two adults or three children. There's plenty of legroom, too, particularly with the sliding 60/40-split seats in the rearmost position, but the non-reclining seatbacks feel a bit too upright.

The 500L's maximum cargo capacity of 68 cubic feet rivals that of larger compact crossovers and it's more than the Kia Soul (61 cubic feet), Mini Countryman (41) and Nissan Juke (36), not to mention the related Fiat 500X (51). Just as impressive is the 21.3 cubic feet behind the upright rear seats. The 500L's real-world utility is hampered by a high liftover height and rear seat backrests that don't fold totally flat, however.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2017 FIAT 500L.

Most helpful consumer reviews

This is our second "Elle" and we are quite pleased
CoachRick,09/28/2019
Lounge 4dr Wagon (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
So, I had the '15 L (called her Elle, too...nicknamed the '17 Elle Marshma'Elle'ow)in for service and spotted a white '17L on the lot with a banner in the windshield(this was almost two years ago). Asked the salesperson to work the numbers on trading out their very last '17L with our '15L (both were Lounge models) and I had our new car that afternoon! The white '17L with pano moonroof was equipped the same as our '15 that had 34k miles on it...but with the addition of the moonroof on the '17). Seems FIAT re-mapped the throttle response a bit and made the '17 just a little quicker off the line; but, otherwise, the vehicles were darned near identical(BEATS sound and nav in both, btw). I knew I was trading too soon to get the value out of the '15; but I'm happy with the purchase roughly 21 months later. The L has quite a large cargo capacity for such a small footprint. My 29er mountain bike fits in the back and my wife's "light" home staging goodies will fit when no one thinks it's possible! The higher seating position and fantastic visibility are great pluses to me! Some people think the seating is too high and there is TOO MUCH glass all around(really??? You don't want to be able to see??? ) We are surrounded by a sea of large pick-ups and SUVs here in Texas and I don't mind one bit not looking out to see the door handles on those vehicles. In fact, it's one of the main reasons we bought the first 500L(people don't complain about the ride height of their "utility" vehicles, do they?). We've driven 3000 miles in two weeks on 75mph super highways and then mountain roads and find the ride quality just fine. The upright seating is a plus(of course, you can recline and adjust the seats to fit your fancy). The off-the-line performance is not that of a race car for sure; but it's got every bit the zip of many small wagon/hatch type vehicles. On-ramp speeds are fine as the car moves along smartly in 3rd-4th gears, making merging or leaving traffic on Texas highways safe and comfortable. I've cruised in the 80-85mph range for hours at a time, all the while getting over 30mpg on 87 octane with the AC howling in the 95-105 degree temps.(All that glass does invite an increased 'greenhouse' effect, so extra tinting is recommended if you live in a sunny/hot climate like central Texas) As with the '15L, we've had a couple of warranty issues with the '17; but nothing debilitating and nothing the dealer(studio) couldn't handle right zippy. I had many more problems with my near $40k Acura RDX than I've had with either FIAT. The FOUR-year, 50k mile warranty is a plus, just in case little gremlins do show up as Elle gets a bit of age on her. That's a significant boost in warranty coverage compared to some other eco-hatch/wagons. Parking the Elle is not as easy as parking the 'regular' 500 series as the L is almost two feet longer. HOWEVER, the turning radius is really tight and when you are pulling into a 90-degree parking situation, the L will surprise you with more nimbleness than you might expect...about 1/3-turn more! You turn to what would be the limit on many vehicles and the L lets you turn just a little more!!!) Backing the L is easy, too. Of course, the back-up camera helps; but there is nary a blind spot as you look "through" the right-side rear quarter of the vehicle(nearly all glass!). All in all, this is a very nice vehicle for what it is...economical, easy to drive, reasonably peppy and quite capacious. Would we enjoy a KIA Soul or Juke or CX-3 as much??? Not sure; but I like what we have with the FIAT 500L. After owning a number of vehicles costing nearly twice as much, we are tickled to find such a capable and comfortable vehicle in the low-mid $20k range!!! March '20 update of sorts... Taking Elle in for her 30k mile service this week(IF the Corona virus doesn't shut down the dealer service dept). Other than the radio gremlin(defaults to 670 AM or some such from time to time), I really don't have any issues with the little wagon. Mixed MPG on our stop and go Texas highways is pretty close to 30...and highway MPG still looks to be 15% higher than that...all on Top Tier 87 fuel. Not bad for a capable hauler. My plan is to keep this Elle until the 4/50 warranty runs out before seriously looking for another vehicle. Depending on how our '13 Volvo C70 is holding up at that time(roughly 2022), we might hang on to the FIAT or even ADD a 500C(onvertible) to the garage. Dealing with vehicles closer to $20K vs $45K has become a delight!!
Never again
Danielle K,10/18/2018
Trekking 4dr Wagon (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
I will never purchase a Fiat again! When I first bought it I loved it....2 years later and thousands of dollars in repairs. Seems every month something new needs to be fixed on it... ..not happy customer at all!!

Features & Specs

MPG
22 city / 30 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
160 hp @ 5500 rpm
MPG
22 city / 30 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
160 hp @ 5500 rpm
MPG
22 city / 30 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
160 hp @ 5500 rpm
See all Used 2017 FIAT 500L features & specs

Safety

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

More about the 2017 FIAT 500L

Used 2017 FIAT 500L Overview

The Used 2017 FIAT 500L is offered in the following submodels: 500L Wagon. Available styles include Trekking 4dr Wagon (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A), Pop 4dr Wagon (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A), and Lounge 4dr Wagon (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A).

What's a good price on a Used 2017 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 2017 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) 2017 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 2017 FIAT 500L.

Can't find a used 2017 FIAT 500Ls you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used FIAT 500L for sale - 2 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $12,125.

Find a used FIAT for sale - 2 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $19,151.

Find a used certified pre-owned FIAT 500L for sale - 3 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $20,058.

Find a used certified pre-owned FIAT for sale - 1 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $8,260.

Should I lease or buy a 2017 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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