2016 FIAT 500L Pros vs Cons. Should You Buy?
What’s new for 2016
2015 was the first model year for the 500L this side of the Atlantic Ocean, so the 2016 model remains mostly the same as the previous year’s incarnation.
Top Ten Reasons to Buy a 2016 FIAT 500L
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2016 FIAT 500L – The Pros
1) Exciting Styling
FIAT exteriors all follow the same modern retro style that has made the 500 so successful with young urban buyers, and the 500L is no different. Rounded edges and the low belt line of the car give it a sleek modern look while the large headlights and the whimsically-arranged front grille give the car a playful quality. When you drive around town in a 2016 FIAT 500L, you can be sure that you stand out of the crowd.
2) Sporty Handling
The 2016 FIAT 500L inherits the suspension and steering from its smaller 500 brother. This makes the car easy to control and makes driving it feel engaging and exciting. It is heavier than the 500, so it does not zip around in the same effortless manner, but the driving experience definitely feels similar.
3) A Balanced Ride
Automakers have to strive to find a good balance between tight sporty suspensions that make cars agile and maneuverable and soft suspensions that make riding in the car comfortable. The 2016 FIAT 500L strikes this balance perfectly. It is agile enough to be enjoyable, while at the same time it can go over bumps without inconveniencing its passengers.
4) Spacious Interior
The 500L is slightly longer and significantly taller than the 500, and the designers have taken full advantage of that to create a very spacious interior. There is a lot of head room for everyone, even with a moonroof, thanks to the tall roofline. And compared to most other compact cars the amount of leg room and shoulder room in the second row is impressive, easily accommodating two adults comfortably.
5) Excellent Visibility
The low belt line on the 500L combined with large windows makes it very easy to see out of the car, reducing blind spots and making the drive more enjoyable for the passengers. The available panoramic moonroof improves the visibility even further. The interior of the FIAT is filled with light that makes it look even larger than it is.
6) Lots of Storage Space
The 2016 FIAT 500L makes full use of its size not only to deliver lots of passenger room but also to allocate plenty of storage space. The rear cargo area is very large by compact car standards, which makes it easy to load up even the largest and bulkiest of cargoes. The seats in the rear row can also be folded down, extending the cargo area into the cabin and making the available cargo space even larger.
7) Excellent Fuel Economy
The 2016 FIAT 500L is very economical in all configurations though the models equipped with a six-speed manual transmission have a slight edge in fuel economy numbers. The 500L gets up to 25 miles per gallon in the city and as much as 33 miles per gallon on the highway. The combined fuel economy of 28 miles per gallon makes it one of the more efficient vehicles available.
8) Extensive Feature Selection
The 2016 FIAT 500L can be equipped with a large variety of features, from a large panoramic moonroof to a six-speaker audio system by Beats. It is available in the Pop, Easy, Trekking, and Lounge trim levels all with their own sets of standard features that can be customized through Collections of various options as well. Finally, FIAT offers extensive exterior color and accessory customization options to help you make the FIAT your own.
9) Intuitive Infotainment
As more and more car manufacturers opt for sophisticated infotainment systems, many of them encounter problems with ease of use. In contrast to that, FIAT’s Uconnect system is very easy to use for both music and climate control as well as more advanced features like Bluetooth or navigation. Simplicity and ease of use likewise dominate the design philosophy behind the rest of the car’s controls, making it very easy to figure out where everything is.
10) Solid Crash Test Results
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Reasons Not to Buy a 2016 FIAT 500L – The Cons
1) Weak Engine
The 160-horsepower 1.4-liter turbocharged engine in the 2016 FIAT 500L is the same as the one in the FIAT 500, but it feels significantly less powerful in a heavier car. The power generated is sufficient for everyday driving, but it needs more power to be as fun to drive as the its smaller cousin. Enthusiasts and others looking for an exciting driving experience should be prepared for the FIAT to feel underpowered.
2) Inconsistent Transmission Options
The 2016 FIAT 500L comes with three transmission options: a six-speed manual, six-speed dual-clutch automated manual and a six-speed automatic. While the six-speed automatic works very well, the other two transmissions perform very poorly. The dual-clutch transmission is sluggish, while the manual seems an afterthought with both the clutch pedal and the shifter feeling very cramped and difficult to operate. If either of those issues is a concern, buyers should be prepared to purchase one of the higher end models that come with the conventional six-speed automatic.
3) Spare Interior
The interior of the 500L is very spacious and sunny, but the materials used feel very cheap, and there are few accents around. This bare-bones layout is less noticeable in the smaller 500, but on a car the size of the 500L absence of visual and tactile accessories is very jarring. Those looking for a more upscale interior may want to check elsewhere.
How It Stacks up to the Competition
The FIAT 500L competes with compact urban wagons such as the Mini Countryman or the KIA Soul. The Mini Countryman is definitely more fun to drive than the FIAT and is better appointed on the inside. However, these improvements carry a price tag: the Mini is from $3,000 to $10,000 more expensive than the comparable FIAT trim level. The KIA Soul also has a nicer cabin than the FIAT and offers an impressive warranty, but the FIAT is more responsive and agile and gets better fuel economy.