2017 FIAT 500L


#6 out of 6 in 2017 Wagons

$13,007 - $14,972

2017 FIAT 500L Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 FIAT 500L was new.


Performance: 6.6

The general impression of the 2017 Fiat 500L is that its engine feels a little weak and that it isn’t as nimble as many class rivals. And while the ride is smooth on the highway, the 500L does a poor job of absorbing road imperfections.

  • "Compact hatchbacks aren't known for their driving dynamics, but the 500L is among the worst offenders. Its combination of an awkward driving position, limited visibility and mediocre handling qualify it for bottom-of-the-barrel status in a pretty deep barrel." -- Edmunds (2015)
  • The Fiat 500L uses the same turbocharged engine as the 500 Abarth, but the 500L doesn't share the performance traits of its feisty little sibling. Blame it on physics and tuning. The 500L is bigger, heavier and made more for touring than sharp cornering." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • Granted, once the road turns sporting and you want to push the 500L the way you might do your Abarth, you soon see that the 500L setup - as it shares its architecture with the Euro-only Fiat Panda micro crossover - is meant more for country cruising versus carving curves and lap times." -- Autoblog (2014)

Acceleration and Power

The 500L features a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 160 horsepower. That engine is mated to a responsive six-speed automatic transmission. The engine has pretty good acceleration at lower speeds, but it feels a little weak if you’re trying to pass on the highway. It doesn’t even make up for the lack of power with good fuel economy; the 500L gets an EPA-estimated 22 mpg in the city and 30 on the highway, which are below-average numbers for the class.

  • “This year, only a 6-speed automatic transmission is available; the manual gearbox has been dropped, and a much-reviled 6-speed dual-clutch automatic was thankfully ushered out last year.” -- Car Connection
  • "With just a couple of passengers aboard, accelerating up to highway speeds requires some patience.” -- Edmunds (2016)
  • The acceleration feels lively at city speeds but trails off after that." -- Car and Driver (2014)

Handling and Braking

The front-wheel drive 500L doesn’t always have the smoothest ride in the class and struggles to absorb larger road imperfections. It feels somewhat sluggish around turns, and the steering – though well-weighted – provides little feedback. The brakes are strong and offer plenty of stopping power.

  • "Its ride and handling traits are softer and clumsier than what we're accustomed to in this class, especially on bumpy road surfaces where it pitches and rolls a little too much." -- Edmunds
  • The electric power steering is well weighted and doesn't feel over-boosted or artificial, although it's somewhat uncommunicative." -- Automobile Magazine (2014)
  • "[The brakes] … actually do an excellent job of stopping the car. They're nice and grippy with a surprisingly strong pedal feel." -- Jalopnik (2014)

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