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.
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.
|Fiat 500L Trims||Fiat 500L Engines||Fiat 500L Horsepower||Fiat 500L Transmissions||Fiat 500L Drivetrains||Fiat 500L MPG/MPGE|
|Pop||1.4L Turbo Inline-4 Gas||160 hp @ 5500 rpm||6-Speed Automatic||FWD||25 MPG|
|Trekking||1.4L Turbo Inline-4 Gas||160 hp @ 5500 rpm||6-Speed Automatic||FWD||25 MPG|
|Urbana||1.4L Turbo Inline-4 Gas||160 hp @ 5500 rpm||6-Speed Automatic||FWD||25 MPG|
|Lounge||1.4L Turbo Inline-4 Gas||160 hp @ 5500 rpm||6-Speed Automatic||FWD||25 MPG|
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.
|Fiat 500L Trims||Pop||Trekking||Urbana||Lounge|
|Fiat 500L Fuel Economy (Cty/Hwy)||22/30||22/30||22/30||22/30|