2014 Fiat 500L Review and Road Test with Infotainment Deep Dive
I have to admit, I'm a fan of the Fiat 500. Yes, I know it's just a Fiat Panda with bubbly sheetmetal. Yes I know it's a little peculiar. Yes I know it's trying to ride on MINI success. It doesn't matter, the wee Fiat makes me grin every time I drive one. Whether it's the slow-as-dirt standard 500, the ludicrously loud Abarth, the almost-convertible 500c or the totally impractical 500e, the Cinquecento knows how to brighten my day. I was therefore excited when Fiat announced the 500′s success would spawn a four door stable-mate for 2014. Is the 500L 40% more smiles for 20% more cash?
When I first saw the 500L at the Chicago Auto Show, I tried to keep an open mind about the exterior styling. The perfectly orchestrated lighting, booth babes and a free cappuccino mug certainly helped distract from the car's lines. Once I had the super-sized 500 parked in the grocery store parking lot under the harsh California sun, my opinion was set. Something is wrong with the 500L.
2014 Fiat 500L Exterior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes
On the face of things, a larger 500 sounds like a great idea, I love the way the new 500 looks. The problem is: the 500L is not a stretched 500. Instead, the L is an entirely different car riding on a completely unrelated architecture co-designed by Fiat and Opel. The result is a 500 that got stung by a bee, not a 500 Xeroxed with the enlarge setting at 140%. I don't think the 500L is hideous, it's just awkward. Like a slightly overweight person in skinny jeans and a tube top.
If you want a 500L that looks slightly more rugged, the Trekking model gets a tweaked bumper cover featuring more black plastic. Apparently black plastic tells others you're an outdoor sports person. The side profile is dominated by slab sides and an unusual A and B pillar location. If you can't tell from the picture above, check out the one below. The A pillar and B pillar are up by the dashboard allowing the windshield to be pushed out towards the front of the car, improving interior room but creating a style that is far from common in America. If I might proffer an opinion: I think going for a 1950′s wrap-around-bubble windshield would have been more unique and more harmonious. Out back the 500′s raked hatchback style is out, replaced by a more practical vertical hatch. I realize that style is subjective so, so I'll end this section by soliciting your opinion in the comment section. Ready? Set. Flame!
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You do the most thorough and fair reviews, Alex! I have a 2017 Fiat 500L Trekking and I love it! So many reviewers seem to love to hate Fiats. I had a 500 Abarth and it was a hoot and very dependable. Now I have this larger vehicle and I love its quirkiness and European charm. Honestly, I don't want to drive the same thing everyone else does. A Honda Fit? Nice car..boring looks. I have also owned 2 new Kia Souls and they were nice and dependable also, but just not anywhere near as much fun to drive. Not even close! This is peppy and handles very well. I have the European twin clutch tranny, and you are one of the few reviewers who actually understand that these transmissions are not the torque converter autos that Americans are used to. They behave very differently but if you know how to drive them, you are rewarded with better fuel economy and better performance. I have the large moon roof and Beats audio and they are awesome additions. Thanks to people who love to talk Fiats down, there are lots of 500Ls on dealer's lots and they are giving rebates and deals on them that are amazing. No way can you get something with as much room or fun to drive as a 500L for the money. Lots of fun and every person I take out in my 500L are totally blown away by how nice it rides and all the sweet amenities for the price. I partially blame Fiat, because they really do not advertise these much, so folks just do not know about them!
I've tend to keep my cars for a while. I've had an Acura, a Volkswagen, a Honda, a Mercury (Mazda built in Mexico), a Chevrolet Malibu Maxx and a Chevrolet Cruze. My 2014 500L Trekking (DDCT) has been essentially trouble free in nearly 35,000 miles. It has become my daily driver after we got another Fiat, a 500X Trekking. The fuel economy is fantastic for a non-hybrid with so much interior space. Since it became my commuter car I've averaged (yes, averaged) nearly 35 mpg. On summer gas I can manage 42 mpg if there isn't too much stop and go traffic. Naturally I'm easy on the accelerator pedal to do that, but this car I feel gets a bad rap. Nearly 4 years into the ownership experience and I'm still smitten by it (I actually like it a little more than our 500X- I guess it's the great visibility, and I'd have to say that I prefer the 1.4 liter turbo to the 2.4 liter NA engine). The 2018 models I think will be that much nicer, what with Apple Car Play and Android Auto and the refreshed styling. It's just an excellent car that I think a lot more people would enjoy owning if they'd give it a chance.
I liked your review...have owned one for 4 months now and just love it. I fell in love with the openness of its interior and the view out the windows. Some of the surprises were the driving lights turning on when making turns so as to give you better view of the road as it curves and the up/down auto feature for all four window. I was concerned with some of the negative reliability reports so I was able to negotiate the price of a extended warranty into the final purchase price. For me the styling (inside and out) is a big plus, but I have spent a lot of time overseas and you see more varied styles there than in the US where cars looks the same more or less. In 2015 and later models they replaced the dual clutch transmission with a 6 speed Asian (Japanese) sourced one and it works great with the 1.4 turbo.
I find it a little unsettling that the 500L is only rated at 25/33/27 mpg with that 1.4L Turbo. The same engine in the Dodge Dart (a vehicle that weighs only 18 lbs less than the 500L with the manual, and ~12 lbs less with the automatic) gets 28/41/32 mpg with the same engine and still 6 gears. The final drive ratio must be obscenely tall on this (possibly to accommodate the aero load of that body shape?)
I like the looks of it, but then again, I like odd looking cars and have owned a few. I've seen these marked down to a little more than $14,000. My concern is with the horrible reviews on Consumer Reports regarding reliability
Great review and thanks for mentioning the translucent sunroof. That makes it a no - go for Las Vegas. Hoping you can get your hands on a Jeep Renegade to review shortly whenever it's released as it's based upon this 500L with more power and a 9 speed transmission.
Excellent review Alex, however, I have to say I do like the lines and the look of the vehicle although I would eliminate the split pillar windows and increase the wheel base by adding wider tires to the car to give it a more muscular look and possibly provide better handling.
Holy Moly Alex. You are the best automobile review and test Reporter I have ever seen. I just watched your review of the Fiat 500L and I can not believe what an awesome job you did educating a potential buyer of this product. Your professional acumen is superb and having visit a Fiat dealer on July 5th and received a someone less than thorough introduction of the 500L and it's features and specifications I wish I had watched your presentation BEFORE I went to the dealer. Again, I have never been so impressed with an automobile review and test report than the one you did on the 500L. I am now a subscriber to your channel and thank you so much for your excellent work.
I saw one parked on the street and I thought it looked pretty cool, but I don't have typical American taste. And I like how every single detail of the 500 and the 500L inside and out is consistent and different and looks like it was designed by the same guys who did old Vespas.
This was probably the best video I've watched about this car. We prospective buyers don't have much to go on. I appreciate that you did rag on the rough points, but you didn't you didn't rag on the vehicle itself.
Oh, and random stuff:
A.) I didn't notice anything wrong with your voice.
B.) You need to buy multiple pairs of those same jeans--you're bulge was accented/highlighted excellently!! Nice!
Thanks for the review. I enjoy the 500L car. Living in the Northeast, it would be a welcome addition to include AWD. I appreciate the uniqueness. It beats the KIA Soul I had but does not beat the durable AWD I have in my Suzuki SX4. The controls are a matter of familiarity.
buildmorefarms100 I no longer have mine due to being hit on an accident. I went to get a new one and ended up with an Abarth 500. However I have 2 friends that bought 500Ls and now have had them for several years. Both still really like them. All I know is they handle a side impact centered on the rear passenger door really well. The vehicle was totaled, but we were just fine.
only had it 2 months. mine is a 500 X (sorry couldn't get past the looks of the L, i think its ugly too)had a 500 pop before and loved the car. The bigger fiat is really a Jeep renegade in another shell
The windshield style was last (and only) seen in the US in the very cool GM 1990-96 minivans. They were considered too rad for Americans, although to me the Pontiac version still looks great today. Lots of European miniminivans have used that style of windshiled over the years though.
I guess if you have no ego you could get over it's looks. I'm a typical American male that will clench to my 4+4 or luxury sedan till the end. My Grand Marquis gets about 300 miles to the tank and with the 500l giving about 400 to the tank, I don't see the advantage unless you are penny pinching. I like the entertainment system, or info center. Yes, I agree if it had steering shift paddles it would be much easier and safer, I also like the panview rearview mirror for the blind spots.
I'm currently using the 500l rental while my Grand Marquis is having a new windshield put in it with a roof repair due to a faulty installation of the last window. Nevertheless I want to say the brakes on this car are hard, you just touch them and you are stopping now. I find the engine noise excessive, the ride is firm, however, in a few years I can hear parts rattling due to wear. I confused with the speed and tachometer, they are backwards and the tilt steering really did nothing for me im 6'
Just purchased a Trekking and absolutely love this car. The L is one of those designs that can look awkward in pictures/vids but in person the design just works. Build quality is very good and MPG has been averaging 31.5 on secondary roads.
My favourite semi-premium roomy hatch. It's roomier and cheaper than a Countryman and feels more substantial than the Soul. It has an attractive interior unlike the blah xB. Fiat needs this model in the US market, and over time I'm sure people will gradually realise its utility and begin popularising the model.
Learning how to draw cartoon animals from the farm is not such a difficult task! Weve grown up surrounded by them! Farm animals are everywhere: In blockbuster movies, childs books, greeting cards. their shapes and images are printed in our minds!
In this section, I will show you how to determine what are the physical uniqueness of each animal and how to work with them. Then, you can practice drawing each cartoon character using basic shapes.
You will have the opportunity to make nice illustrations, practice sketching and cartooning using short easy lessons and complete your creation using a drawing software to create vector art if you want to! Cartoon drawing is really fun once you get into it!
Dont be afraid to try until you get it right. This method is really simple, but requires practice and observation. So, sit back and relax. Learn how to draw animals from the farm and start your journey on a good note!
Lets try s few basic characters to get started! :)
A cute turkey to begin with.
In this first tutorial, you can learn how to draw a fun turkey mostly made from small rectangles and large circular shapes. The posture of the character is really interesting. Not only is it easier to draw than a front version, but its also easier to add some perspective (as we can see with the legs). The fact that we just need to draw one wing is also interesting.
Most of these cartoon animals are not filled with complex textures or digital effects. In this case, the subject is filled with plain colors and only a few basic details (inside the tail) were added.
A nice turtle also from a side view.