2020 Fiat 500L

2020 Fiat 500L Review: Fails To Impress

by Aiden Eksteen

Love it, or hate it, the Fiat 500L stands out from the all-popular subcompact crossover class purely for its bug-eyed retro-Italian flare and MPV status - a status that leaves it almost in a class of its own while rival manufacturers all pursue high-riding alternatives. But bubbly proportions have their benefit, and the 500L is immensely practical, sacrificing style for usability in contrast to its sibling, the Fiat 500X. Unfortunately, the positives end there; its 1.4-liter turbo-four engine is considerably underpowered, delivering only 160 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels, and gas mileage estimates are surprisingly poor. Stand-out looks and practicality aren't much to brag about either, especially in a class where the competitors, such as the Kia Soul and the Mini Cooper Countryman are perhaps far more contemporary and better looking, just as practical, and offer a whole lot more in terms of the driving experience.

2020 Fiat 500L Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2019 500L?

Fiat has implemented absolutely no changes to the 500L lineup for the 2020 model year. Last year, the nameplate was updated with some minor exterior and interior styling and feature upgrades, and received the addition of two new exterior paint colors.

Pros and Cons

  • Commodious cabin and seating
  • Practical in-cabin storage and trunk capacity
  • User-friendly and all-inclusive infotainment system
  • Soft and subtle ride quality
  • Lackluster acceleration
  • Clunky handling dynamics
  • Below-average gas mileage
  • Minimal driver-assist and safety features

2020 Fiat 500L Trims

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Pop
1.4-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$22,500
Trekking
1.4-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$23,825
Urbana
1.4-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$23,825
Lounge
1.4-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$24,645

500L Exterior

Fiat's classic retro-Italian design is obvious in every model of the 500L lineup, and each trim has its own unique features to highlight its characteristics, distinctly represented in the front and rear lower fascias. The Pop is the least striking of the lot and features bi-function halogen projector-beam headlights with integrated daytime running lights, and it rides atop humble 16-inch alloy wheels. Lower fascia fog lights and front and rear cosmetic fenders give the Trekking a more rugged aesthetic along with its prominent black wheel arch cladding which borders its 17-inch alloy wheels. The Urbana portrays a more contemporary look with its blacked-out exterior accents and wheels. Bright chrome exterior accents and 17-inch chrome painted alloy wheels give the range-topping Lounge a more elegant impression.The Urbana can only be had with a black roof while the rest of the trims can be had with either a black or a white roof but not in conjunction with the same body color. A contrasting grey roof is available to the Lounge as part of a package.

2020 Fiat 500L Front Angle View Fiat
2020 Fiat 500L Rear Angle View Fiat
2020 Fiat 500L Side View Fiat
See All 2020 Fiat 500L Exterior Photos

Dimensions

At an overall body length of 167-inches, or 168.3-inches on the Trekking, a total height of 66.1-inches, or 65.3-inches on the Pop, and a width of 70.2 inches, or 70.9-inches on the Trekking and Urbana. The Fiat 500L is one of the larger vehicles in the class, with a wheelbase of 102.8-inches and rides only 4.7 inches from the ground. For comparison, the Kia Soul spans a length of 165.2 inches, is 63 inches tall, and with a width of 70.9 inches, its wheelbase is 102.4 inches long and it rides a decent 6.7 inches from the ground. The 500L is also on the heavier side of the class, weighing in at 3,254 pounds; the Kia Soul, on the other hand, weighs in at a featherlight 2,804 lbs on the lower end of the spectrum.

  • Length 167.3 in
  • Wheelbase 102.8 in
  • Height 65.7 in
  • Max Width 69.8 in
  • Front Width 59.1 in
  • Rear Width 59.4 in

Exterior Colors

There are eight cost-free base exterior paint colors available for the Pop including Black, Rosso, Grigio Scuro, Grigio Chiaro, Bronzo Metallizzato, Blu Denim, Blue Tornado and Bianco (white). Another two, exclusive exterior paint options are made available for the Trekking and Lounge, Verda Bosco Perla for both and Arancia Pastello for the former only though at the loss of Grigio Chiaro. There are only five colors available for the Urbana. Any of the color options suite the 500L's quirky demeanor, especially the brighter options. To befit each model's character, we'd hue the Pop in the Tornado Blue, the Trekking in the Verde Bosco Perla, the Urbana in Grigio Scuro, and the Lounge in the Black clear-coat.

  • Blu Denim
  • Blue Tornado
  • Grigio Chiaro (Graphite Metallic)
  • Bianco (White)
  • Grigio Scuro (Gray Metallic)
  • Black Clearcoat
  • Rosso (Red)
  • Bronzo Metallizato (Bronze Metallic)
  • Giallo (Yellow)
  • Verde Bosco Perla (Forest Green)
  • Arancia Pastello (Pastel Orange)

500L Performance

With the 500L utilizing the same 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that's used in the far smaller and lighter Fiat 500 Abarth, not much performance can be expected from the 3,254-pound wagon. Power delivery and acceleration are significantly lackluster at lower speeds, making the 500L a chore to drive around town, the turbo helps to improve responses at mid to high speeds, but the 500L never really feels peppy. Accelerating from a standstill to 60 mph takes around eight seconds according to independent tests, and while that's not too far off from the class average, it's a whole lot slower than the Mini Cooper Countryman which completes the sprint in around 7.2 seconds.

Some rivals in the segment come either standard with all-wheel-drive or have it available, but the 500L unfortunately does not, coming solely as a front-wheel-drive wagon. This is a big hit to the 500L's purpose as a practical family hauler, as it limits it to the confines of the well kept inner-city streets where it also performs the worst in terms of drive.

2020 Fiat 500L Front Angle View 1 Fiat
2020 Fiat 500L Rear Angle View 1 Fiat
2020 Fiat 500L Gear Shifter Fiat

Engine and Transmission

Every 500L model is powered by the 1.4-liter turbo-four borrowed from the Abarth. It cedes its outputs of 160 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque through a six-speed shiftable automatic gearbox to the 500L's front-wheel drivetrain. With an extra 900 pounds to lug around, the borrowed engine that does quite well in Abarth is inevitably encumbered by the 500L's weight. Acceleration from standstill is sluggish, and while some momentum is gained at the higher speed ranges, that's only the case with no passengers on board, it otherwise feels as lacking in power as it does initially. It also delivers peaky responses and exhibits noticeable dollops of turbo-lag throughout.

The six-speed auto gearbox is slow to respond on occasion but otherwise performs adequately most of the time. Unfortunately, along with the underpowered turbo-four, the 500L's powertrain does absolutely nothing to stand out from the crowd. Many competitors get larger, naturally aspirated mills that simply feel more up to the task.

  • Engine
    1.4-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmission
    6-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain
    FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

The 500L is not particularly pleasant to drive, although it handles competently for a family commuter with its FWD drivetrain, but it's otherwise a chore to maneuver. Performance from the small 1.4-liter turbo-four is always sedate and frustratingly uninspiring; the gearbox, however, shows some promise with mostly consistent responses. It offers manual shifting too, but it's nothing special. The 500L isn't even that much of a comfortable cruiser, it rides roughly over most imperfect road surfaces and feels overly rigid over any undulations. The cabin is always noisy as well, making the 500L a terrible vehicle for long-distance traveling.

In terms of handling, the 500L's steering is mostly accurate. The heft of the 500L, however, has the steering deliver slow responses, and there's also a significant amount of body-roll exhibited in corners that prove difficult to correct. The brakes, though firm and effective, are annoyingly grabby too, and panic stops are met with frighteningly unstable swaying. Most modern competitors, within the same price bracket as the 500L, offer far more comfort on the road along with better performance, and a more engaging drive overall.

500L Gas Mileage

For a compact wagon with a relatively small turbo engine, the 500L is rather unimpressive in the gas mileage estimates it returns. In fact, it scores lower estimates than almost every other vehicle in the segment. The EPA availed the 500L with figures of 22/30/25 mpg city/highway/combined. It's equipped with a 13.2-gallon gas tank with which, when topped up, it'll only manage a driving range of around 330 miles before requiring a refuel. The Kia Soul, with either its six-speed manual gearbox or CVT automatic, is a whole lot more fuel-efficient than the 500L, boasting fuel consumption figures of 25/31/27 mpg and 27/33/30 mpg respectively.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    13.2 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 22/30 mpg
* 2020 Fiat 500L Pop

500L Interior

Fiat has tried to carry over the retro-chic styling that the iconic Fiat 500 has into the cabin of the 500L as well. It doesn't quite work out as attractively in the 500L, however. While the visual aesthetic is arguably novel and appealing, the build quality and materials used are rather shoddy, with noticeably inconsistent panel gaps and low-quality finishes overall offering a rather disappointing impression for the 500L at its price point. The layout doesn't feel very ergonomic either, and the seats are overly firm too, making the 500L an apprehensive vacationer. The cabin is, otherwise, rather commodious, offering plenty of head and legroom for all passengers thanks to the floating-roof design and relatively expansive 102.8-inch wheelbase.

2020 Fiat 500L Dashboard Fiat
2020 Fiat 500L Steering Wheel Controls Fiat
2020 Fiat 500L Infotainment System Fiat
See All 2020 Fiat 500L Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

Five passengers will easily fit into the 500L with plenty of seating room overall for those upfront and in the rear. The 500L's floating-roof design and large windows together with its high-set seating positions make for exceptional outward visibility, favoring the driver who is also positioned comfortably behind the relevant controls. While the high-set seats are beneficial for visibility and seating space, they don't do well for comfort, especially around the corners where the wagon feels somewhat top-heavy. This is also disadvantageous when the optional sunroof is equipped, as taller passengers will then find headroom somewhat lacking.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 40.0 in
  • Front Head Room 40.7 in
  • Rear Leg Room 36.7 in
  • Rear Head Room 38.7 in

Interior Colors and Materials

Overall, the interior of the 500L is a total let down especially when compared to those of competitors that come in at around the same price. The low-grade materials and cheap hard plastics simply aren't warranted here, and on top of that, customization is significantly limited. The standard-fit leather-wrapped steering wheel is a nice feature, as are the Fiat 500 seat badges and body-color-matched dash. A Warm Gray premium cloth or Dark Slate Gray premium cloth seating upholstery is standard in the Pop, with the Trekking, Urbana, and Lounge getting black leather-trimmed upholstery, a Carrera Gray leather is available for the Trekking and Lounge.

500L Trunk and Cargo Space

It's here where the Fiat 500L manages to impress, if only slightly. With 22.4 cubic feet of cargo room behind the rear seats, it's one of the more practical wagons in the entire class. The new Kia Soul, however, proves a little more practical with 24.3 cubes behind the rear seats, but folding down the rear seats of the 500L expands room to 68 cu-ft, while the Soul's opens up to only 62 cu-ft. The 500L's available cargo space with the seats up is good for a full month's worth of grocery shopping.

While the 60/40 split-folding tumble and sliding rear seats offer over 50 seating and storage configurations, which is great for practicality and versatility, they don't quite fold down completely flat, a slight annoyance.

Within the cabin, there are only two cupholders up front, large door-side pockets with bottle holder slots, a small-items storage tray within the center console, and a sizable glovebox.

2020 Fiat 500L Front Seats Fiat
2020 Fiat 500L Sunroof Fiat
2020 Fiat 500L Rear Angle View 2 Fiat
  • Maximum Cargo Space
    68 ft³

500L Infotainment and Features

Features

The standard consignment of features for the 500L is simplistic and focused to deliver comfort and convenience, mostly aimed at the driver rather than the passengers. A leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel is standard in all models, featuring audio and cruise control buttons. An electronic driver information display, a rearview camera, standard air conditioning, multi-position cargo panel, and 60/40 split-folding rear seats with tilt, tumble, and slide functionality are also standard across the board. Front and rear windows feature one-touch up/down functionality and central locking is standard. From the Trekking, there are heated front seats, ambient LED cabin lighting, and a universal garage door opener. The Lounge gets two-way driver lumbar adjustments, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a rear park assist system.

Infotainment

While Fiat's infotainment system used to be relatively contemporary and comprehensive, most of the industry has reached or surpassed that standard at this point in time. Fiat's Uconnect 4 system is still favorable nonetheless; it's user-friendly and high in quality, and the visuals are crisp and the menus intuitive. A seven-inch touchscreen display with a customizable menu bar is standard in all models, inclusive of functionality in Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, integrated voice command, and Bluetooth audio streaming and device operation. In all but the Pop, there's also Navigation and SiriusXM satellite radio connectivity, this, along with a Premium Beats audio system, also standard in those models, is available for the Pop within a Premium Group Package, replacing its stock six-speaker sound system.

500L Problems and Reliability

Determining the Fiat 500L's quality and reliability is a bit tricky considering its relatively low sales in the U.S. The fact that it hasn't been subject to a single recall since the 2014 model year does inspire some confidence, however. Fiat's standard warranty coverage doesn't inspire much confidence either, however, offering the 500L with a subpar four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty along with roadside assistance and powertrain cover for the same duration.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    12 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    4 Years \ Unlimited Miles

500L Safety

Fiat hasn't had any model year of the 500L evaluated by the NHTSA for its crashworthiness. Fortunately, the IIHS has evaluated the 2020 500L and availed it with top scores of Good in four of five of the specified crash tests, scoring the worst possible score of Poor in the small overlap front driver-side test.

Key Safety Features

In terms of safety, the Fiat 500L is outfitted suitably for a passenger vehicle. Every model comes standard-fit with seven airbags including driver and front passenger multistage airbags, a driver-side knee bolster airbag, full-length side-curtain airbags, and front seat-mounted pelvic-thoracic side airbags. There's the essentials such as ABS, EBD, and a TPMS, but none of the advanced driver-assist features found in most modern vehicles, such as forward collision alert, make their way onto the 500L. The standard driver-assists that there are, are pretty basic. These include high-beam daytime running lights, hill-start assist, and a rearview camera, and the Lounge comes standard with reverse parking sensors.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2020 Fiat 500L a good car?

The Fiat 500L is not an exceptional car - it's an average vehicle at best, but not one that we'd recommend over any other compact crossover. Everything about it simply comes across as mediocre, from its significantly underpowered engine, which is also stupidly inefficient, to its limited feature consignment and lack of driver-assist technologies which are typically abundant in most of today's current vehicles. The 500L is slow and uncomfortable on the road too, especially so on long journeys considering its overly stiff ride quality, rudimentary and noisy cabin, and hard seats. While the 500L may be relatively affordable and somewhat practical and versatile, there are alternatives out there that offer those qualities and a whole lot more, at the same price or even for less. One such rival is the Kia Soul, offering superior performance, gas mileage, and value overall.

🚘What's the Price of the 2020 Fiat 500L?

The 500L is priced decently in comparison to its competition, though its proposition in value may not be as favorable as its standard consignment of features increase over last year's model. The Trekking follows at a price of $23,825, then there's the Urbana with its sticker price of $24,420. The top-of-the-line Lounge comes in at $24,645. All prices are excluding Fiat's destination and handling charge of $1,495 as well as any tax, registration, or licensing fees.

2020 Fiat 500L Models

There are four 500L models in the 2020 lineup, the Pop, Trekking, Urbana, and Lounge. All are equipped with a 1.4-liter turbo-four engine, six-speed automatic gearbox, and front-wheel drive.

On the Pop, there are bi-function halogen projector-beam headlights with integrated daytime running lights, and 16-inch alloy wheels. For infotainment, it features a seven-inch touchscreen and six-speaker audio system, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and integrated voice command with Bluetooth capabilities. Within the cabin, a leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel is standard along with one-touch up/down windows, premium cloth upholstered seats, a rearview camera, air conditioning, a multi-position cargo panel, and 60/40 split-folding rear seats with tilt, tumble, and slide functionality.

The Trekking rides atop 17-inch alloy wheels and is additionally fitted with LED fog lights and a rugged-design fascia cladding and wheel arches. On the inside, it features heated front seats, leather-trimmed seats, ambient LED cabin lighting, and a universal garage door opener. The infotainment system is upgraded with Navigation and SiriusXM satellite radio connectivity, and with a premium Beats audio system. The Urbana is similarly equipped, differentiated only cosmetically.

Chrome exterior accents differentiate the Lounge, which features two-way driver lumbar adjustment, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a rear park assist system.

See All 2020 Fiat 500L Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

There are a decent amount of optional packages and features available for the 500L lineup, so while the selection of the standard features may be relatively small, there's a favorable level of customizability.

For the Pop, there's a Chrome Appearance Package for $495; this outfits the Pop with bright chrome exterior accents and 17-inch machined alloy wheels with black pockets. A $795 Popular Equipment Group - available on Pop, Trekking and Urbana trims - upgrades it with two-way power driver-seat lumbar adjustment, adds an auto-dimming rearview mirror, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a rear park assist system. The Premium Group, available only on the Pop trim, adds everything in the Popular Equipment Group plus GPS navigation, the premium Beats audio system, and SiriusXM capabilities for $1,795.

Exclusively available for the Lounge is a $1,595 Graphite Edition appearance package which comprises 17-inch alloy wheels, a dual-pane power sunroof, roof-color exterior mirrors, and a grey roof.

🚗What Fiat 500L Model Should I Buy?

Being that the top-of-the-line Lounge model is only $2,145 more than the base-spec Pop model and is significantly better outfitted with features and higher-quality materials, we feel it's the one worth going for. Additional to what the Pop has, the Lounge features heated front seats, leather-trimmed seating upholstery, dual-zone automatic-climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and the premium Beats audio system. The Lounge also receives some options unavailable to the lower-tier models, including the Graphite Edition appearance package, and the power dual-pane sunroof.

2020 Fiat 500L Comparisons

Fiat 500X CarBuzz
Kia Soul CarBuzz
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Fiat 500L160 hp22/30 mpg$22,500
Fiat 500X 177 hp24/30 mpg$24,590
Kia Soul 147 hp25/31 mpg$17,490

2020 Fiat 500L vs Fiat 500X

The 500X, as a compact crossover SUV, is a little smaller than the 500L wagon but a little more expensive. The number one thing that stands out in the 500X is its 1.3-liter turbo-four engine that's not only significantly more powerful than the 500L's 1.4-liter turbo-four, but more fuel-efficient too with gas mileage figures of 24/30/26 mpg. The 500L is a lot roomier on the inside, however, offering more passenger and more cargo room overall, the 500X offers up a meager 12.2 cubes of cargo room behind the rear seats. The 500X comes out better in every other regard though, it boasts a more premium-feeling cabin with a better build quality, it rides more competently and more comfortably, and comes standard in all-wheel-drive. Ultimately, the 500X is the better Fiat overall and offers a lot more value at its price, albeit $2,090 more than the 500L.

See Fiat 500X Review

2020 Fiat 500L vs Kia Soul

With a starting MSRP of only $17,490, the Kia Soul, a more contemporary, attractive, and overall better-performing subcompact crossover SUV, offers far more value and appeal than that of the Fiat 500L. It comes equipped with a 147 hp, 132 lb-ft naturally-aspirated engine, while those outputs figures are smaller than the 500L's turbo-four, the engine's performance is simply more polished and copes with the lightweight Soul in a notably more refined manner in terms of acceleration and fuel-efficiency. EPA fuel-efficiency estimates are 25/31/27 mpg with the available six-speed manual gearbox and 27/33/30 mpg with the CVT. The Soul is a lot more sportier than the 500L too, in outright performance and handling, and the lineup features a GT-Line trim that comes with a far more potent 1.6-liter turbo-four. The Kia Souls pricing may exceed that of the 500L's at the higher tier trims, but it's well worth the extra money considering how much more value the Soul offers over the 500L, even at the base level.

See Kia Soul Review

Fiat 500L Popular Comparisons

2020 Fiat 500L Video Review

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$22,500 - $24,645
Price Range (MSRP)
Fiat 500L