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  • William Maley
    William Maley
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    Review: 2015 Fiat 500L Easy

      The Largest Fiat On Sale In the U.S.

    If you wanted a Fiat 500 but had a family, you would have to ultimately pass on it. There just wasn’t enough space for four passengers or even two passengers and all of their stuff. But about year ago, Fiat started selling a bigger 500 known as the 500L which boasted more space and became more appealing to small families. I spent a week in the larger 500 to see if the added size helps or hurts.

    Even though the 500L shares the 500 name, that is where the similarities end. Fiat designers have added two feet to the 500L, and given it a boxy shape that is more akin to the Kia Soul and Nissan Cube. The front end is very much 500-esq with the winged-Fiat emblem, dual light setup, and narrow vent underneath. Although as someone pointed out to me and I happen to agree with, the 500L’s front-end look likes it has an overbite. Also, I think the choice of wheel covers on the Easy model really don’t help the 500L’s look. I would trade them for a set of wheels from the 500L Trekking model. But I want to give Fiat’s designers some credit on the 500L. The model boasts a large area of glass which not only helps improve visibility, but also makes the interior feel much more spacious.

    2015 Fiat 500L Easy 11

    Moving inside, the 500L features the same funkiness found on the standard 500. Such details as a squarish steering wheel, unique dashboard design, and panoramic sunroof give the 500L its own identity. Material and build quality is quite good with mixture of cloth, soft-touch plastic, and hard-touch plastic in the places where you expect them. This particular model came with the optional 6.5-inch UConnect system. Despite a smaller screen, this system keeps the familiar UConnect interface and ease of use that I have praised this system for. Also on my tester was the optional Beats sound system which provided mostly good sound, but I found it to be a bit heavy on the bass, even after I turned it down a bit. One other complaint I have deals with the dual-zone climate control system. I found it to be too low in the center stack to glance at quickly and quite the reach to change temperature or fan speed.

    Now with an increase in overall size, you would think that the interior has seen an increase in space. You would be correct. Step inside the back seat and there is a stadium style seat arrangement which gives your passengers a higher view, along with a decent amount of legroom. Remember that panoramic sunroof I mentioned earlier? Yeah, that eats into rear headroom. Sitting my 5’8” frame back here, I found my head making contact with the headliner. Anyone taller than me will likely have to crick their neck to fit back here. At least the seats were comfortable. Moving to front, seats provide good comfort and support, along with a small number of adjustments.

    Thoughts on Power and Ride on page 2

    Power comes from a turbocharged 1.4L MultiAir four-cylinder producing 160 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. Those with keen eyes will surmise this sounds very familiar to the 500 Abarth, and you would be correct. On Easy models and up, you have the choice of either a six-speed manual or automatic. (Note: Pop models get a six-speed dual-clutch automatic). I had the latter transmission in my tester. Compared to the Abarth I drove a few weeks back, the 500L has about 800 extra pounds to lug around. But the 1.4 doesn’t feel like it's being worked any harder. Acceleration is very smooth and the engine seems to be able to get going at any speed. The six-speed automatic I found tended to hold gears longer that it probably should. At least the transitions between gears were smooth. Fuel economy for the 500L with the automatic is rated at 22 City/30 Highway/25 Combined. My week saw an average of 24.3 MPG.

    2015 Fiat 500L Easy 8

    The 500L is surprisingly good when it comes to day to day driving. The suspension copes with small and medium size bumps pretty well, while larger ones do unsettle it. Road noise is kept to a decent level, but wind noise is very apparent due to the 500L’s shape. The 500L is surprisingly good when it comes into the corners, showing minimal body motion. However the squarish shape and oddly-shaped steering wheel will make you think twice about having some fun with this vehicle.

    The 500L is wise move for Fiat as it helps bring more buyers into their showroom. But there are two big elephants in the room. One deals with reliability. Both Consumer Reports and TrueDelta have a fair number of complaints about the 500L. In fact, the 500L is one of the lowest rated models in Consumer Reports ratings. The second is the price. The 2015 Easy model starts off at $20,545, while my tester rang in at $26,895 thanks to the automatic transmission and a big option package which included the sunroof and UConnect system. For the same amount of money, you could get into the base 500L Trekking or a fully loaded Kia Soul. These two factors make the 500L less appealing. Add in the upcoming the 500X, and you end up with a lose-lose situation.

    Disclaimer: Fiat Provided the 500L Easy, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    Year: 2015

    Make: Fiat

    Model: 500L

    Trim: Easy

    Engine: 1.4L Turbocharged MultiAir Inline-Four

    Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic

    Horsepower @ RPM: 160 @ 5,500

    Torque @ RPM: 184 @ 2,500 - 4,000

    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/30/25

    Curb Weight: 3,254 lbs

    Location of Manufacture: Kragujevac, Serbia

    Base Price: $20,545

    As Tested Price: $26,895 (Includes $900.00 Destination Charge)


    Easy Collection 4 - $4,100

    AISIN Heavy Duty 6-Speed Automatic Transmission - $1,350

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