Fiat 500L review 2020

Find out more about the Fiat 500L in the latest MOTORS Review

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Out of 5


  • Affordable price tag
  • Airy cabin and large boot
  • Stylish interior


  • Uninspiring exterior styling
  • Noticeably old compared to rivals
  • Lacklustre engine
Model review

The Fiat 500L made its debut at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. It’s an MPV which takes design cues and a name from the famous 500 city car – an odd combination, but one Fiat decided to run with. The ‘L’ denotes ‘large’.  


The model began sales in the same year of its debut, and it was offered with a range of petrol and diesel engines. In 2014, further motors were added to the line-up – something to keep in mind. 


The 500L is based on the GM Fiat Small platform, which is also utilised on other models in the manufacturer’s line-up such as the 500X and Tipo. It’s admittedly a fairly old platform, having debuted on the 2005 Fiat Grande Punto.   

Current model

While the 500L is still in first generation – as of this being written – the model did receive an update in 2018. All versions received slightly altered exterior styling, interior design, and the car got a new TFT colour instrument display screen centred on the instrument panel. This replaced the previous LCD screen. With the facelift, it’s also worth noting that Fiat changed the name of the seven-seat variantfrom the MPW to the 500L Wagon – a version no longer on sale in the UK as a new car 


Out on the road, don’t expect the 500L to handle like a sportscar – it’s not particularly a hoot to drive. There’s not much feel from the steering and there’s not much feedback from the front tyres. Body lean is another aspect which the 500L has plenty of as well. However, putting these faults aside, it’s not terrible – especially considering the driving experience isn’t the model’s main focus.   


Value for money

New Fiat 500L models start at £17,360, which is reasonable for the class. For example, the Nissan Qashqai and Mini Countryman – both of which could be considered rivals of the L – start at £20.195 and £23,390 respectively. This makes the 500L really quite good value for money. 


On the used market, there are some great bargains to be had when it comes to the 500L. Cheapest examples go for as little as £3,000, which is pretty amazing for a roomy MPV which isn’t that old.  


Looks and image

To most, the 500L will look just fine – exterior styling isn’t really this car’s main selling point anyway – but it isn’t particularly beautiful or, arguably, good-looking in our opinion. But it’s not really a surprise that the L isn’t a looker. After all, the model’s essentially a 500 that’s morphed into an MPV – not exactly a recipe for a handsome car. It all just appears a tad bloated.  

Video review

Space and practicality

This is where the model comes into its own – the main reason it exists, frankly. The 500L – the Wagon even more so – is immensely practical and great for families. Thanks to its boxy shape, its cabin is roomy and airy, meaning there’s no shortage of passenger space. Even taller passengers shouldn’t find themselves cramped. Whether it be in the front or back, there’s an abundance of headroom and legroom to enjoy. 


The boot, on the other hand, while a decent space, is only just larger than what you’d expect from a hatchback at 400 litres. This is just something to make note of if you need the most luggage room – the Wagon, with its 493-litre boot (with five seats in place), will be a better shout.  



The 500L can only be had one engine from new – a petrol 1.4-litre. It’s not a particularly potent motor. With only a mere 94bhp on tap, it can get from 0-60mph in a modest 12.6 seconds. It also lacks a turbo, which only goes to add to its noticeable lack of punch. The upside to this absence of performance, however, is improved fuel economy – although it’s not class-leading in this department either. 


Running costs

As mentioned before, the 500L gets decent fuel economy due to not possessing much punchThat being said, the claimed 35.8mpg and 154/km of CO2 emissions, while not terrible, is behind the curve nowadays. There are other offerings which offer more power and cheaper running costs in the compact MPV segment. They may not be able to match the 500L’s affordability, but they can outdo it when it comes to performance and fuel economy.  

Things to look out for

Fiat, as a brand, isn’t particularly well known for its reliability. That’s not to say its cars are breaking down left, right and centre – the 500 is a popular, well-renowned city car, for example – but rival manufacturers, such as Ford and Seat, tend to have better reputations. With this in mind, buyers needn’t worry massively, but do stay alert for any issues – as you should with any car. 



The small MPV segment isn’t quite as booming as the similar, now extremely popular small SUV class. With that taken into account, the 500L faces compact SUV rivals, such as Fiat’s own 500X, the Nissan Qashqai and Mini Countryman. More direct competition (from within its class) include the Ford C-Max – although this is a tad larger than the Fiat, taking on the Wagon version more than the standard L.  



With used prices as low as they are, this does say something about the 500L’s depreciation. As we said earlier, the small MPV segment isn’t a particularly popular class right now, especially in the wake of the public’s uptake of small SUVs and crossovers. This hasn’t gone to help the 500L’s resale value in any way, meaning it’s likely to depreciate faster and to a lower value than the little 500’s sibling, the 500X. That being said, the 500L is quite cheap new anyway, so isn’t a terrible buy. 

Trims explained

The 500L splits into two variants – Urban and Cross Look – before dividing into various trim levels.


Falling into the Urban category, as the name implies, this base trim level gets kit such as 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, cruise control, body-coloured bumpers and electrically adjustable door mirrors.

Priced from £17,360

'City Cross'

The entry level trim in the Cross Look range includes equipment like electric front windows, a seven-inch HD touchscreen radio with Bluetooth, USB, Aux-in and DAB, along with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity.

Starting at £18,110


Going back to the Urban range, the 120th receives kit like a rain and dusk sensor, rear parking sensors, fog lights, heated rear window with wash/wiper and a techno-leather steering wheel with audio controls.

Available from £18,210


This is currently the-range topping trim level, falling under the Cross Look category of variants. It gets features such as 17-inch alloy wheels, electric front and rear windows, a cargo box and Uconnect Live Services.

Priced from £19,210


  1. The 500L is the city car’s larger, MPV sibling
  2. It made its debut in 2012
  3. The model received an update in 2018
  4. An even bigger, seven-seat version called the MPW, later dubbed the Wagon, was also offered
  5. New 500Ls start at £17,360
  6. Used examples go for as little as circa £3,000
  7. Fiat 500 styling on an MPV isn’t the most attractive combination
  8. The interior is spacious
  9. Only one engine is available
  10. The 1.4-litre motor not very powerful and only offers decent fuel economy