2018 FIAT 500L

Performance


#7 out of 7 in 2018 Wagons

$13,876 - $15,958

2018 FIAT 500L Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 6.4

The 2018 Fiat 500L leaves much room for improvement in the performance department. It features a small four-cylinder engine with turbo lag issues, and it doesn’t handle all that well. The ride is stiff and a bit bumpy, and fuel economy is subpar.

  • "The engine produces only adequate power, the brakes are grabby, and handling is unremarkable. As a result, overall drivability is poor." -- Edmunds
  • 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. There’s a bit of turbo lag, which contributes to the generally apathetic feeling you get from the engine when driving the 500L. Once the turbo kicks in, however, power output is adequate for all driving situations.

Gas mileage is not a strong suit for the 500L. It gets an EPA-estimated 22 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. Nearly every class rival gets better fuel economy estimates.

  • "The 500L doesn't exhibit the major drivability gaffes with the traditional six-speed automatic the way it did with the dual-clutch automatic (produced before 2015). But it's still never a real pleasure to drive due to the engine's modest, nonlinear power delivery." -- Edmunds
  • One shortfall is the uneven power delivery by the 500L's turbocharged four-cylinder engine which suffers from an initial delay. Once past that phase, the turbo engine's power comes on in a rush." -- Consumer Reports
  • 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 (2017)

Handling and Braking

The Fiat 500L, like the Mini Cooper, is somewhat small and kind of cute, but this wagon doesn’t handle anywhere near as well as a Mini. The 500L is fairly stable around turns, but it’s far from athletic, and you’ll feel it roll if you take corners too fast. The ride could be better as well, as this Fiat gets jostled around over bumpy roads. The brakes have good stopping power.

  • The 500L's handling is responsive and secure, but the ride is stiff and jittery." -- Consumer Reports
  • "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 (2017)
  • "[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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