2019 FIAT 500L

Performance


#7 out of 7 in Wagons

$21,750 MSRP
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2019 FIAT 500L Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 6.4

There's no clear consensus when it comes to the performance of the 2019 Fiat 500L. A handful of reviewers find this small car agreeably peppy and steadfast but most say it's slow to accelerate and has unrefined handling. This Fiat's fuel economy is low for the class.

  • "The engine produces only adequate power, the brakes are grabby, and the handling is unremarkable. As a result, overall drivability is poor." -- Edmunds
  • "It's important to get one point out of the way quickly: The 500L doesn't drive like its baby brother. Shoppers expecting it to drive like its tiny 500 will find the 500L to be rough around corners and not especially fun to drive. Even the 500X sub-compact SUV provides a little more verve behind the wheel. We've also found the 500L's ride to be on the rough side." -- Autotrader
  • "I liked the ride. I don't like small(ish) cars that crash and bang over potholes and whatnot, and this car soaked up everything Detroit offered on my commute. Plus it feels light. Keep the tach above 3K, and it's downright eager. I liked that. Ditto the steering -- nice and quick for buzzing around town. A hot hatch? No, but are 500L buyers expecting that? Doubt it. I submit the car performs as Fiat intended." -- Autoweek (2017)

Acceleration and Power

The singular powertrain for the 500L is a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. If you're already rolling along or have only one or two people on board, this 160-horsepower setup feels reasonably energetic. It isn't very quick to accelerate from a stop, however, and can struggle when you have a full carload. At the same time, the 500L isn't very fuel-efficient. Its fuel economy rating of 22 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway is lower than most other vehicles this size.

  • "Fuel economy still isn't that great, but power from the 160-hp turbocharged engine manages to flow in a smoother manner. Acceleration is also pretty good, as the 500L feels pretty peppy compared to subcompact SUVs like its 500X sibling (it is available with the same turbo engine, but only with a manual transmission)." -- Autotrader
  • "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 (2018)
  • "Acceleration is far from spry, but just shy of sluggish, requiring about eight seconds to reach 60 mph and closer to 10 seconds when loaded down." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)

Handling and Braking

The 500L is a front-wheel-drive car. It handles with a decent level of stability, though reviewers disagree on whether the ride is comfortable or overly stiff. Regardless, neither the steering nor the brakes inspire high levels of confidence.

  • "You can hustle the 500L without it being unsafe, but it isn't rewarding or quick-reacting. The limits are modest and end in predictable understeer that the driver can't correct easily. Stability control intervention is aggressive and poorly executed." -- Edmunds
  • "The 500L's handling is responsive and secure, but the ride is stiff and jittery." -- Consumer Reports (2018)
  • "The 500L is built for comfort, so its softer suspension isn't as much fun in the curves. The long wheelbase and tall profile mean the 500L can't return the kind of joy one gets behind the wheel of a Mazda CX-3 or Toyota CH-R. However, when it comes to ride comfort, the 500L does a much better job soaking up road imperfections than either of those competitors." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
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