- Stylish looks
- Comfortable and practical
- Efficient diesel engines
- Not much fun to drive
- Unimpressive automatic gearbox
- Noisy on the motorway
Stylish practical mini MPV
The Fiat 500 is one of the most iconic cars that’s currently on sale, but it’s not the most practical. Enter the 500L. The Italian manufacturer has followed the same path as the Mini brand in offering the style of the original, with the practicality of more traditional MPVs. First introduced in 2012, the 500L is available with 5-seats, or 7 with the MPW model, and is spacious and efficient. It’s not as fun to drive as the original 500, nor is it as aesthetically pleasing, but it’s certainly a great compromise for buyers who want practicality, but don’t want to lose out on street cred.
Practical and spacious, but not as quirky as the original 500
The classic Fiat 500 features a retro design that’s won many admirers. The 500L tones this down quite a bit, which might disappoint some buyers. There’s plenty of space however, and equipment levels are fairly generous.
The dashboard design of the 500L is functional, rather than funky. Gone are the colourful interior trims of the 500 city car, replaced instead with a functional easy-to-use design that’s geared towards family motoring. Controls are well-laid out, and nicely damped, though they don’t feel as nice to use as a Ford B-Max. Build quality is also reasonably impressive, though there are some cheap feeling plastics that don’t take too long to find.
One area in which the 500L excels is practicality. The 400 litre boot capacity in the 500L is easily a match for its closest rivals, whilst the two-tier system increases practicality. There’s also no load lip, and the shape of the boot is nice and square, so getting heavy and awkward shaped items in and out is nice and easy. In the cabin, the rear seats offer plenty of legroom, though headroom will be an issue for taller passengers.
Equipment levels are pretty generous in the 500L, though it depends on which trim you choose to go for. There are four on offer, with the cheapest Pop trim being fairly basic. It’s worth upgrading to the Pop Star trim, which comes with air-con, electric windows, alloy wheels, and cruise control. Lounge trim adds luxuries such as climate control, but isn’t worth the extra cost.
Overall the interior of the 500L is reasonably impressive. It’s spacious, practical, and features an attractive cabin design. It’s certainly not class-leading, but there are few cars as individual as the 500L in the mini-MPV market.
Comfortable, but not as fun as it looks
The 500L looks like it should have a driving experience to match its fun styling, unfortunately however this isn’t the case. It’s certainly not a bad car to drive, but it won’t put a smile on your face when you’re tearing through country roads. There’s plenty of grip, and body roll is kept in check, but the steering offers little feedback. The steering is quite light however, which makes it a great car for weaving in and out of city traffic, whilst it’s also easy to park.
Suspension and Chassis
It’s pretty clear considering what’s already been said that the 500L is a car that puts family comfort above all else. This is reflected in the chassis and suspension setup. The 500L is certainly a comfortable car to be in, and it irons out rough surfaces and potholes without too much trouble. It’s not the most refined at speed however, as there’s quite a lot of road and wind noise, which makes the 500L a car that isn’t particularly suited to long motorway journeys.
Gearbox options in the 500L come in two guises. The standard throughout the range is a six speed manual transmission that offers a short, sharp gear change, as well as flexibility for long-distance driving. There’s also a five speed automatic available with the 1.3 litre diesel engine, though it’s worth avoiding unless you absolutely need it, as it struggles to keep up when you need a sudden burst of acceleration.
A solid range of efficient engines, with diesels being the pick of the bunch
When it comes to deciding how you want to power your 500L, you’ve got the usual two options: petrol, or diesel. There’s three of each on offer in the 500L, though diesels offer the best balance of performance and efficiency.
It it’s power that you want from your 500L, you’re probably going to be a little disappointed with the engines on offer in the 500L range. The most powerful is the petrol-powered 1.6 litre Multijet engine, which produces 120bhp, and accelerates from 0-62mph in 10.7 seconds. It’s not an engine that’s going to have you dashing for B-roads on a Sunday, but it has enough power to perform admirably day-to-day.
Eco-friendly buyers will want to consider the diesel-powered 1.3 Multijet Dualogic model, as it produces just 104g/km of CO2 emissions. It’s perhaps a little disappointing to see that there isn’t a model that dips under the 100g/km mark, but it’s still pretty green for the class. Low emissions make this model the best option for money savers as well. Not only is it just £30 a year to tax, it also offers up to an amazing 72.4mpg. That’s exceptionally efficient, and you can save yourself plenty of money at the fuel pumps each week.
Whichever engine you choose to go for in your 500L you’ll get a good balance of power and efficiency. It’s worth seriously considering the diesel units though if you want the best bang for your buck.
Full marks in NCAP safety tests, and decent safety kit on offer
Like nearly every car in its class, the Fiat 500L easily achieved the highest possible 5-star NCAP safety rating. With scores of 94% in adult safety, 78% in child safety, and 65% in pedestrian safety, the 500L is as safe as they come. The 500L’s safety credentials are further enforced when you consider that the 500L comes as standard with six airbags, stability control, and a tyre-pressure monitoring system.
Good value for money, if you avoid the cost of new-car depreciation
The Fiat 500L represents superb value for money for family buyers. This varies from model to model, but generally speaking fuel efficiency is high throughout the range (no car falls below 46mpg), and CO2 levels are standard for the class. If you want to save serious money you should without doubt consider buying a diesel model, as they’re far better value day-to-day.
Insurance groups for the 500L again depend on which model you choose to go for. The range starts in group 8 for the 1.3 Multijet (85) Pop Star, and climbs up towards group 18 if you decide to go for the top of the range 1.6 Multijet Lounge. Whichever model you choose to go for, you won’t be paying any more than you would for an equivalent rival.
Depreciation is one area that particularly affects the 500L, but only for the first year. With first year depreciation as high as 40%, you’re better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
The Fiat 500L is a great option for family buyers who won’t practicality, but don’t want to compromise on style. The 500L is spacious, safe, and features some impressively efficient diesel engines. It’s not as well-rounded as a Ford B-Max, but it’s certainly more interesting.
Buying a used Fiat 500L online with Carspring
If you’re after a used Fiat 500L for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used 500L. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used Fiat 500L online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used 500L? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used Fiat 500L, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used 500L, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Carspring Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used Fiat to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st-year depreciation cost of 40%.