Fiat 500L Review 2023

heycar ratingPractical and affordable small MPV
  • 2013
  • MPV
  • Petrol, Diesel

Quick overview


  • Spacious and practical interior
  • Cheap to buy and run
  • Five star Euro NCAP safety rating


  • Cabin feels cheap in places
  • Lacks refinement
  • Not the best looker around...

Overall verdict on the Fiat 500L

"In this 2022 Fiat 500L review we'll be taking a look at the mini-MPV spun off Fiat's super-successful 500. Turning its cute city car into something more practical meant throwing away almost everything apart from the engines and some of the styling cues, and there's no doubt a lot of the charm and appeal went with it. But what you're left with is a small car that offers good space and is cheap to buy."

Fiat 500L review 2023: exterior front three quarter photo of the Fiat 500L on the road

Fiat is good at small cars. Very good in fact. It's been doing it for years and built up a reputation for making them with flair. The Punto was Fiat's long-running success story in recent history, while in the past few years it's been the Panda and 500 which have been flying out of the showrooms.

But when it comes to comes to those that are a bigger, it doesn't matter how good or bad they are, they just don't capture buyers' imaginations. See the Fiat Croma for details...

So it came up with a brilliant wheeze – why not make everything a small car? Or, at least sound like it is. The first of these is was this, the Fiat 500L. It takes styling cues from the dinky 500 hatch, but underneath is a fundamentally different car and built in a different factory.

Fiat want you to think of it as a filled-out five-door family version of the 500, which it does an admirable job of. But you have to wonder what part marketing has played – would it be as eagerly-awaited if it was differently styled and called something else?

But it's not and the result is a charming family-size car that's more distinctive than many of the me-too mini MPVs out there. Size-wise it's a bit of an inbetweener. At almost 4.2 metres long the Fiat 500L is significantly larger than the 500, but not as long as the Punto. It seats five in some comfort and feels very roomy – especially so when there's a panoramic glass roof fitted, though this is a £500 option on Pop Star and Easy.

Looking for a used car for sale? We've got 100s of Fiat Approved Used Cars for Sale for you to choose from, including a wide range of Fiat 500L cars for sale

Fiat discontinued the 500L in the UK in 2021 so you can only buy used examples, and in some ways it makes more sense as a used purchase.

The mini MPV has gone out of fashion to be replaced by mini SUVs - Fiat has done the same with the 500X taking over - but if you're looking for a small but spacious car with low running costs then it holds some appeal, but there are better alternatives that are better built and more enjoyable to drive.

Unless you intend to cover big mileages each year, we'd suggest sticking with a petrol Fiat 500L. The 1.4-litre is smooth and quiet so would be our choice and there are plenty around on the used market. Avoid the basic Pop models and look for a Pop Star or even better, a Lounge model.

The model range was later simplified to Fiat 500L Urban, City Cross and Cross, with the City Cross representing the best value for money of the three.

Whether it's labelled as a crossover or an MPV, the Fiat 500L remains a good value and practical family car. It's that which means it rivals the likes of the equally style driven Citroen C4 Cactus, the rather more restrained Ford C-MAX and the family friendly Vauxhall Crossland X.

Other Fiat 500L rivals include crossovers like the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross, which like the Fiat majors on value, and the popular Skoda Yeti.

Comfort and design: Fiat 500L interior

"The driving position in the Fiat 500L is good, the seat highly adjustable and all that glass means excellent all-round visibility."

Fiat 500L Review 2023: interior close up photo of the Fiat 500L dashboard

Even standard Fiat 500L's have a large glazed areas and a split windscreen pillar that help to contribute to a light and airy feeling.  The rotary controls on the dash that control the heating are easy to use on the move and the large touch-screen sat nav/infotainment system is clear and well placed – there's no need to take your eyes off the road to view it.

The last of the line Fiat 500Ls came with a 7-inch Uconnect touchscreen system, which is pretty small by modern standards, although it came with a decent selection of features including DAB, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto plus the Mopar Connect system offering remote assistance services.

Earlier Fiat 500L models made do with a 5-inch touchscreen, and both are hampered by the screen size, making it somewhat challenging to hit the right button when on the move.

Inside the Fiat 500L it's clean and functional, with the emphasis on making this family-proof, rather than cutesy like the 500. That means that the interior is much more like the Panda with harder-wearing plastics, though in this case colour is added with bright inserts. 

A big part of the Fiat 500L's appeal is its compact dimensions - it's just 4140mm long and 1780mm wide, but it makes the most of its footprint. There's plenty of flexibility in the rear, where it's possible to slide the seats for extra legroom (or boot space) or fold them forward to create a bigger cargo area. 

Standard boot space is 343 litres, but fold and tumble the seats and there's 1,310 litres on offer. As you'd expect there are plenty of storage bins dotted around the cabin too.

Handling and ride quality: What is the Fiat 500L like to drive?

"The Fiat 500L can't match the diminutive Fiat 500 in the handling stakes, but it does a good job for an MPV and is very comfortable, making it ideal as a long distance family car."

Fiat 500L Review 2023: exterior rear three quarter photo of the Fiat 500L on the road

Out on the road, the Fiat 500L handles rather tidily for a car of this size. The ride is well controlled (better in fact than the standard 500) and it does an admirable job of soaking up lumps and bumps, while still retaining composure when pushed through corners. The steering is light which, although welcome when parking, can feel rather artificial at higher speeds.

The Fiat 500L feels the small car it is out on the road, and as speeds rise the amount of road, wind and engine noise increase steadily, which means motorway journeys can be a little tiring.

Stick to urban streets and it's less of an issue, but the TwinAir engine is quite vocal and needs to be worked quite hard to lug around a car that's larger and heavier than the little 500. The Fiat 500L diesels are better in this respect, with more torque meaning you don't have to work the engine quite so hard, although you're never in any doubt that there's a diesel thrumming away in front of you.

All the engines in the Fiat 500L are designed for low running costs rather than performance. A 0.9-litre TwinAir petrol with 105PS, a 1.4-litre petrol with 95PS plus diesels, the 1.3-litre MultiJet that develops 85PS and larger 1.6-litre MultiJet with 105PS.

When fitted with the top 1.6 MultiJet diesel, the Fiat 500L gets from 0-62mph in 11.3 seconds and has a top speed of 112mph. In reality, it feels much quicker out of the blocks and pulls sweetly between 1750rpm and 2500rpm. It's no slouch when it comes to overtaking either, though under heavy acceleration its refinement can let it down. Elsewhere it's a different story and while there's still noticeable wind and road noise, it's not intrusive and the 500L cruises well.

Many buyers will be tempted by the petrol-powered Fiat 500L TwinAir. And with good reason: it's cheaper than equivalent 1.6-litre MultiJet and offers better official fuel consumption and emissions. But the 58.9mpg figure should be taken with a pinch of salt if the 500L follows the same pattern as the 500. TwinAir Fiat 500s achieve just 70% of the official economy figure.

We’d advise avoiding the Dualogic automatic gearbox. It’s an automated manual that may improve fuel efficiency - it’s effectively a manual gearbox but with the changes performed by software - but it’s slow-witted and frustrating.

Impressively, the Fiat 500L was awarded the maximum five star Euro NCAP safety rating when it was tested in 2012. Adult occupant safety was rated a very high 94% with child safety 78% and pedestrian safety 65%. It also scored well for safety assist with a 71% rating. That was a good few years ago now, though. 

MPG and fuel costs: What does a Fiat 500L cost to run?

"The Fiat 500L is a car designed to be cheap to run, which is reflected in its frugal engines, especially the economical 1.3-litre diesel."

Fiat 500L Review 2023: exterior side photo of the Fiat 500L

While it may promise close to 70mpg, in reality you can expect to see a genuine 55mpg from the 1.3 Multijet, which is still a very strong figure and means plenty of miles between fill ups. The more powerful 1.6-litre diesel should still be good for 50mpg.

If it's petrol you want, the Fiat 500L 0.9 Twinair should see around 40mpg in real world driving while the 1.4-litre is good for 35mpg+. 

Fiat's reliability reputation isn't the best, in fact it's actually the worst. The Italian manufacturer came dead last in the Satisfaction Index, placing 30th out of 30 manufacturers.

The Fiat 500L achieved a reliability rating of 9.00 out of 10, which is below par, but is also better than some other Fiat offerings.

The good news here is that some versions of the Fiat 500L will be very cheap to insure, with the 1.3 MultiJet versions on the Trekking dropping into group 7, and other models with the same engine in group 8. Even the most expensive version to insure falls into group 20, so it shouldn't break the bank.

Post-April 2017 versions of the Fiat 500L all qualify for the standard rate of VED which means you'll be paying £165 a year, but there's money to be saved by choosing a version registered a little earlier.

TwinAir versions registered between 1st March 2001 and 31st March 2017 will cost just £30 a year, while the 1.3 MultiJet versions are only £20 a year. Go for the bigger 1.6-litre diesel of the same age and you'll pay £135, while the 1.4 T-Jet petrol is £220, so pick wisely and you can make big savings. 

How much should you be paying for a Fiat 500L?

"Prices for used Fiat 500L models start at around £4000, although these tend to be diesels with above average mileages."

Fiat 500L Review 2023: exterior rear photo of the Fiat 500L on the road

If you're after a petrol, we recommend the 1.4-litre, a budget of £5000 to £5500 should give you plenty of choice, although bear in mind that the Fiat 500L was not a big a seller as the Fiat 500 or 500X, so you may have to be patient if you're after a specific trim or colour.

Despite Fiat 500L Pop models missing the alloy wheels and air conditioning - essential for resale desirability - they’re otherwise well equipped, including Fiat’s five-inch touchscreen media system, Bluetooth and leather covering for the comically large (and not too comfortable to hold) gear knob.

Move up to a Fiat 500L Pop Star trim and comfort improves by way of cruise control. Plus you get a set of 16-inch alloys, underwhelming as they look in the 500L’s massive arches. Fiat 500L Lounge specification does feel like it has a lot, bumping the air con up to dual-zone climate control, adding rear parking sensors, automatic lights and wipers and a panoramic sunroof that genuinely lifts cabin ambience with natural light.

Fiat 500L Lounge cars also get two small tables for rear seat passengers, which are a nice idea in theory but in reality are too flimsy to be of much real use. There isn’t a mass of interior storage in any version of the 500L either, with no central storage box, quite small door pockets and a shallow glove box.

Fiat sees the 500L Trekking as a model in its own right, but it’s loosely based on the Lounge specification with a couple of notable additions – like low speed automatic braking (optional elsewhere) and a more sophisticated traction control system that alludes to off-road ability. The 17-inch alloys come shod in mud and snow tyres as standard, for the same reason, and the interior fabric is different.

The Fiat 500L Beats version is based on the Trekking, and comes, as you’d expect, with an upgraded stereo – albeit a disappointingly lacklustre one, when a decent sound system is the very least you could expect.

Ask the heycar experts: common questions

The Fiat 500L is likely one of the more reliable Fiats on the used market, but against many of its rivals it is somewhat less reliable. Always look for a car with a full main dealer service history that has been well cared for.
The Fiat 500L no longer appears on official UK price lists, and in 2021 Fiat announced that it would stop selling cars that were powered only by petrol and diesel engines. A quick search on brought up a handful of late examples with less than 10,000 miles on the clock, so you're unlikely to find any pre-registered examples at this stage in its lifespan.
It certainly is - the Fiat 500L is approximately 60cm longer and 10cm wider than the 500, as well as 20cm taller, although it's still a small car compared to many modern offerings.

Other popular reviews