2018 FIAT 500L Review
Edmunds expert review
Compact crossover SUVs and wagons are all about extracting the maximum amount of passenger and cargo room from an inherently small package. Generally, style rarely plays a part in this price- and utility-conscious class. The 2018 Fiat 500L bucks convention by wrapping its roomy cabin in a body that looks like a supersize version of the Fiat 500 city car. The uniquely Italian design brings a bit of flair to this conservative class, and 2018 model's new front and rear fascias give it an updated look compared to previous model years.
Aside from the exterior design, however, there's not much reason to buy the 500L over one of the other compelling choices in its class. Significant drawbacks include a harsh ride quality, uncomfortable seats, compromised outward visibility and overall poor build quality.
Fiat offers another small crossover, the 500X, and it's the superior choice. The 500X doesn't offer as much interior space, but it's more enjoyable to drive, has a more upscale interior and gives you the option of all-wheel drive.
Though the 2018 Fiat 500L isn't a terrible car in its own right, we suggest going with a competing wagon, hatchback or crossover SUV instead.
What's new for 2018
Trim levels & features
The 2018 Fiat 500L is a four-door compact wagon that competes against a small group of like-minded wagons and hatchbacks, as well as some compact crossovers. Fiat offers it in three trim levels: the base Pop, the midlevel Trekking and the loaded-up Lounge.
Every Fiat 500L is powered by a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine (160 horsepower, 184 pound-feet of torque) that powers the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission.
The base-level Pop comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, daytime running lights, heated mirrors, tinted windows, remote locking and unlocking, a rearview camera, air conditioning, cruise control, height-adjustable front seats, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, 60/40-split folding rear seats that slide fore and aft, Bluetooth, a 7-inch touchscreen, and a six-speaker audio system with two USB ports (one is charge-only) and smartphone compatibility via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The Popular Equipment Group adds rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, two-way power lumbar adjustment for the driver (the Trekking also adds manual lumbar for the passenger) and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The Pop's Premium Group includes those features plus satellite radio, a navigation system and a seven-speaker BeatsAudio system.
Stepping up to the Trekking level adds 17-inch wheels, foglights, unique body panels and trim with a rugged theme, LED ambient interior lighting, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a rear-seat armrest and the BeatsAudio system, navigation and satellite radio from the Premium Group package. It is also available with the Popular Equipment Group.
The top-trim Lounge equips the 500L with 17-inch alloy wheels with a painted finish, chrome exterior mirrors and body accents, and the contents of the Popular Equipment Group.
A panoramic sunroof, matte black finish wheels, a spare tire, and color combinations that match the roof and exterior mirrors are other available options, depending on trim level.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2015 Fiat 500L Trekking (turbo 1.4L inline-4 | 6-speed automatic | FWD).
NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current 500L has received some revisions, including a new infotainment system (with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility) for 2018. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's 500L, however.
Noise & vibration6.0
Ease of use7.0
Getting in/getting out7.0
Edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.