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2019 FIAT 500L Review

The 2019 Fiat 500L ranks near the bottom of the wagon class. Its lazy engine, poor fuel economy, lack of safety features, and firm seats all drag the 500L beneath its rivals.

Pros & Cons

  • Infotainment system is nicely equipped and easy to use
  • Sizable maximum cargo capacity
  • Spacious rear seats
  • Lower price than most wagons
  • Few advanced safety features available
  • Underwhelming seat cushions and cabin materials
  • Unimpressive handling and acceleration
  • Poor fuel economy

Rankings & Research

The 2019 FIAT 500L's #6 ranking is based on its score within the Wagons category. Currently the FIAT 500L has a score of 6.2 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 35 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 4.7
Performance: 5.0
Interior: 7.0
This rating isn’t available yet for the current model year. In the meantime, last year’s rating of 8.2 for safety is being used to calculate this vehicle’s overall score.
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Is the Fiat 500L a Good Wagon?

No, the Fiat 500L is not a good wagon. That becomes more apparent when compared to the crowd of high-quality wagons and hatchbacks you can buy. It does have a few strong points, such as a large cargo hold – especially with the rear seats folded down – and an easy-to-use infotainment system. It’s also more affordable than most other wagons. But the 500L’s pros are overshadowed by its faults: lackluster acceleration, poor gas mileage, middling handling, and uncomfortable seats.

Should I Buy the Fiat 500L?

You probably should not buy a 500L. Several similar vehicles are available, and most are better than this Fiat. Wagon shoppers will find much more to love in the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen, which costs about the same as a 500L. The Honda Fit makes a better family car than the 500L. It has an enormous back seat for a subcompact car, does well in crash tests, and has an impressive list of available safety features. Fiat enthusiasts will be better served by the fun-to-drive 500 hatchback or the 500X SUV, which blends utility with whimsical, upscale styling.

Compare the 500L, Golf SportWagen, and Fit »

Should I Buy a New or Used Fiat 500L?

The 2019 Fiat 500L belongs to a generation that launched for the 2014 model year. No major updates occurred for 2019, so you might be able to get a similar used vehicle for less money.

The 2018 500L was the first to gain Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. For 2017, the manual transmission was discontinued, leaving only an automatic.

To research other models in this generation, read our reviews of the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Fiat 500L. You can also visit our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Fiat 500L »

We Did the Research for You: 35 Reviews Analyzed

Our Fiat 500L review includes far more than just one person's opinion. We collected professional evaluations from more than 30 sources and combined them with concrete data like fuel economy estimates, safety features, and performance specs to help you make an informed buying decision.

Why You Can Trust Us

The Best Cars team – a division of U.S. News & World Report – has been reviewing cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007. With more than 75 years of combined automotive experience, our editors, writers, and analysts rank a wide variety of new and used cars and issue three annual awards: Best Cars for the Money, Best Cars for Families, and Best Vehicle Brands. To keep our recommendations unbiased, we decline expensive gifts from carmakers, and a third party handles our advertising.

How Much Does the Fiat 500L Cost?

Prices for the 2019 Fiat 500L start at around $22,160 and reach as high as about $24,600. That's a good bargain if you're cross-shopping other wagons, but it's a bit pricey compared to most hatchbacks.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Fiat dealer.

Fiat 500L Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Fiat 500L or Fiat 500X?

The 2-row 2019 500X is Fiat's subcompact SUV. It offers three key advantages over the 500L: It’s less expensive, it's available with all-wheel drive, and it has much higher safety scores. It lacks the rear-seat and cargo room of the 500L, but the 500X is still the better vehicle overall.

Which Is Better: Fiat 500L or Kia Soul?

The Kia Soul is a better car than the 500L in almost every way. It provides a smooth, comfortable ride, and if you want more power than the base engine provides, two livelier engines are available. Kia also offers more options than Fiat, and you can upgrade its interior with treats such as ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and a suite of advanced safety features. None of these are available in the 500L. The Soul's near-perfect predicted reliability rating is also significantly better than the 500L's. In this comparison, the Kia is king. 

Compare the 500L, 500X, and Soul »

500L Interior

How Many People Does the 500L Seat?

The 500L has five seats and lots of room in both rows. The rear seats are especially spacious, with a flat floor and more legroom than most small cars. It isn't very cushy inside, however. Common complaints touch on overly firm cushions and an awkward driving position. The oversized windows add lots of light, and some reviewers say they provide good visibility. Others, however, think the roof pillars restrict visibility.

500L and Car Seats

For securing child safety seats, the 500L comes with the standard set of LATCH connectors: two sets of lower anchors on the rear outboard seats and three tether anchors.

500L Interior Quality

The 500L is spacious inside and feels particularly bright and airy when outfitted with the available dual-pane panoramic sunroof. The cabin gets mixed reviews. A few critics say the interior is attractive. Most, though, say the quality of materials is substandard for this price point.

500L Cargo Space

The 500L has 22.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind the seats. That's more space than you'll get in a Fiat 500X or Mini Countryman, and it's almost as large as the Kia Soul and Ford C-Max Hybrid's cargo areas. Its maximum cargo space – 68 cubic feet with the back seats folded – is bigger than what you’ll find in most hatchbacks and wagons.

500L Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The 500L comes with one of the more user-friendly infotainment systems around. Like the Uconnect interface found in sibling Dodge and Chrysler vehicles, the 500L's system is easy to learn and use, and it has a customizable menu bar. It also comes nicely equipped with a 7-inch touch-screen display, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto among the standard features.

Read more about interior »

500L Performance

500L Engine: A Day Late

Powering the 500L is a 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. Even though this 160-horsepower engine is turbocharged, it doesn't accelerate briskly from a stop. The 500L does feel peppier once you are up to speed – as long as the car isn't packed full of people.

500L Gas Mileage: And a Dollar Short

Given its laid-back nature, the 500L's fuel economy rating is shockingly low. It gets 22 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. That's lower than almost every wagon and hatchback in our rankings.

500L Ride and Handling: Mostly Uncivilized

Depending on your driving preferences, handling for the front-wheel-drive 500L falls somewhere between comfortable/easy to drive and skittish/overly stiff. No matter where you fall on the spectrum, you won't find much excitement with this little car.

500L Dimensions and Weight

Most 500L models are 13.9 feet long, though 500L Trekking editions extend to 14 feet. Curb weight is estimated at 3,254 pounds.

Read more about performance »

500L Reliability

Is the Fiat 500L Reliable?

J.D. Power gives the 500L a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average.

Fiat 500L Warranty

The 2019 500L comes with a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty.

Read more about reliability »

500L Safety

500L Crash Test Results

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not yet crash tested the 2019 Fiat 500L, but the nearly identical 2018 model received mixed crash test scores. The 2018 500L earned top scores of Good in four IIHS tests. In the driver-side small overlap front test, however, the 500L received the lowest rating of Poor.

500L Safety Features

The 500L has a standard rearview camera and available rear parking sensors. It's missing numerous advanced safety features – such as adaptive cruise control and blind spot monitoring – that are commonly available in rival wagons.

Read more about safety »

500L Dimensions and Weight

The Fiat 500L is about 14 feet long. Its curb weight is estimated at 3,254 pounds.

Which Fiat 500L Model Is Right for Me?

Fiat builds the 2019 500L in Serbia.

Which Fiat 500L Model Is Right for Me?

Every 2019 500L comes with the same basic setup: a 160-horsepower four-cylinder engine, a six-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. The three trim levels – Pop, Trekking, and Lounge – add swankier amenities the higher you climb but don't alter performance.

Because of the way prices are structured for the 500L, you'll get the best value by skipping the midlevel Trekking model in favor of one of the others. The entry-level 500L Pop is ideal for those on a budget. It comes equipped with an appealing infotainment system and some nice interior touches. If you plan to upgrade to a higher trim level, you may as well go all the way to the range-topping 500L Lounge, which only costs $570 more than the Trekking trim.

Fiat 500L Pop

Standard features in the Fiat 500L Pop ($22,160) include a leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel, cloth seats, and a rearview camera. The base Uconnect infotainment system comes with a 7-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, a USB port, and a six-speaker audio system.

Fiat 500L Trekking

Navigation, satellite radio, and a BeatsAudio premium sound system are among the tech upgrades on the Trekking trim level. With prices starting at $23,575, this rugged-themed edition also features leather-trimmed seats, heated front seats, and ambient LED lighting.

Fiat 500L Lounge

Fiat adds dual-zone automatic climate control and rear parking sensors to the 500L Lounge. Prices start at $24,570.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Fiat dealer.

See 2019 Fiat 500L specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2019 Fiat 500L’s strong points include a user-friendly infotainment system and a cavernous cargo hold. These pros are outweighed by its drawbacks, which include middling acceleration and so-so cabin materials. Additionally, it has mixed crash test scores and lacks many advanced safety features. Better vehicles are out there for about the same price.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The 2019 Fiat 500L is a compact wagon that tries to replicate the charm and playfulness of the diminutive Fiat 500 city car while offering greater utility. We do like the 500L's spacious interior and cargo area, and having four doors is more useful than just the two of the regular 500 … But the overall package just doesn't exude the sense of playfulness that makes the 500 such a charming car. The seats are hard, the ride is rough, and road and wind noise is palpable … While the 500L offers a lot of utility at a low price, most other small wagons, hatchbacks and crossovers are more enjoyable to drive and easier to live with." -- Edmunds
  • "It's too bad that the 500L, ultimately proves to be a huge disappointment. At first glance, we thought that its recipe for a fuel-efficient, fun people mover would be attractive to young families or those looking to downsize from SUVs. Indeed, Fiat's wagon provides impressive interior space for its size, good visibility, super-easy access, and a commendable 27 mpg overall. But, alas, the 500L is too undeveloped, and several significant flaws keep it from scoring high enough in our testing to be recommended." -- Consumer Reports (2018)
  • In the 2018 Fiat 500L, the Italians have created a contemporary small hatchback every bit as cute and clever as the Kia Soul, Mini Countryman and Toyota CH-R. The front-drive 500L lacks the tidy proportions of the car upon which it is based, but it has a kind of awkward adorableness that can draw one in. The 500L also offers a modern and well-appointed interior, numerous options and excellent fuel economy. However, there are some important points to consider. During the 500L's short time in this country its resale and reliability rankings have been less than stellar. For just a bit more money, one could move up to the more versatile and better-looking all-wheel-drive 500X." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
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2019 FIAT 500L

MSRP: $22,160 - $24,570

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