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The 2020 Fiat 500L is not generating much buzz this year, continuing the 500L's trend of low popularity and sales. In fact, full crash tests have not been done on it because the sales volume has been so low. That should tell you a few things about what to expect from the 500L.
It operates on a base 1.4-L 4-cylinder turbocharged engine and 6-speed automatic transmission, which together only muster up 160 hp - a low output for a vehicle in the crossover class. Also, front-wheel drive is the only drivetrain available, so if you want all-wheel drive, you will have to get the 500X instead.
Take note that the cabin is not as comfortable as it should be. The front seats are flatter than what you will find in this class, so there is not a lot of support offered on long drives. You will have to just scoot about in town. And, with the gas mileage being what it is (25 mpg combined) and premium fuel being required, you will not want to make lengthy road trips anyway.
Features also seem to be lacking in this vehicle. The rear parking sensors are about all you get in terms of driver aids, which does not help make the vehicle more attractive. Anyone who watches the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety's (IIHS) cringe-worthy video of its small overlap front crash test will be deterred by its "Poor"-rated performance.
So, what are the things that Fiat gets right on the 500L? Well, it certainly gets points for its surprisingly spacious interior. No one will be wanting for head or leg room in the front or rear seats. Also, the cargo area is able to be maxed out to a size that puts some SUVs to shame. But that is about as far as the good things go.
If you are absolutely settled on getting the 2020 Fiat 500L, you need to be aware of the distinctions between its trim levels. Weigh out which trim level has the most to offer you against how much you are willing to spend on a vehicle that has little to offer in performance, safety, or general practicality. Read on to find out more about the 500L's four trim levels. In the end, we will let you know which trim we think is worth your hard-earned cash.
Compare the 2020 Fiat 500L Pop vs Trekking - What is the Difference?
The 2020 Fiat 500L's base trim is known as the Pop. As already mentioned, like every other trim level in this line-up, it is powered by the 1.4-L turbo 4-cylinder and 6-speed automatic transmission. Unlike the other trim levels, it has smaller 16-inch aluminum wheels that come as standard equipment. You can get it in your choice of eight different external body paint colors. The interior can only come as Dark Slate Interior Gray (which is indeed quite dark) or Warm Gray.
Aside from the engine and transmission, other mechanical features equipped on the 2020 Fiat 500L include a normal duty suspension and 4-wheel anti-lock brakes. The outside comes with bi-function halogen projector headlights and daytime running lights (DLRs). However, on the Trekking trim level, you do get fog lights added on for extra visibility when you need it. The Trekking also gets upgraded to 17-inch aluminum wheels, and a pretty pastel orange exterior body color option gets added to the mix. You can also opt for the Carrera Gray interior color scheme or just the standard Black interior. Regardless of which color scheme you go for, a body-colored dashboard is standard.
When it comes to safety features, the Pop comes with the usual standard items: electronic stability and traction control, remote keyless entry, occupant sensing airbags, power door and tailgate locks, daytime running lights, brake assist, and an anti-theft alarm with a tracking feature and engine immobilizer. The Trekking also gets these features, so there are no real distinctions there.
Exterior body features on the Pop include a rear lip spoiler, a power liftgate, manually-folding power-heated side mirrors, a shiny metallic front grille, matching chrome door handles, body colored front and rear bumpers, a black insert for the front bumper, and bodyside molding. The Trekking makes black door handles optional, and a metallic rub strip gets added to the front and rear bumpers. The Trekking also has he metallic paint option available, which the Pop does not.
What about creature comforts? Well, there are a few convenience features that come equipped on the Pop. These features include power windows (with 1-touch power up/down on the driver's window), door bins for the front and back, retained accessory power, a day-night rear-view mirror, one 12-volt DC power outlet, two USB ports, a covered storage bin on the instrument panel, seatback storage pockets, manual temperature control (an automatic climate control system is optional), dual vanity mirrors up front, a tilting and telescoping steering wheel, front and rear seat cupholders, and automatic cruise control.
On the Trekking, you get an optional power sunshade for the dual panel sunroof, illumination on both vanity mirrors, a navigation system with voice activation (which is optional on the Pop), and a HomeLink universal garage door opener. It still leaves options for adding an automatically dimming rear-view mirror and dual-zone automatic climate control.
Premium cloth upholstery comes standard on the Pop's seats, and the driver's and front passenger's seats are manually adjustable fore and aft and height-wise. A manually reclining driver's seat is optional. The steering wheel and gear shift knob have a leather and chrome mix, and there is a lot of metallic trim to be found throughout the cabin. The rear seats do recline, and when you need them to, they fold down pretty flat. You also get a cargo light, tire mobility kit, fully cloth headliner, and carpeted floor mats in the front and rear.
To that, the Trekking adds heated front seats, six-way adjustable front seats, and leather upholstery. You can choose to upgrade to a more premium leather upholstery and get the Piano Black interior. You can also opt to add in lumbar support to the front seats.
Infotainment features are fairly basic on the Pop. You do get a 6-speaker sound system with a LCD touchscreen display on the center console, controls mounted onto the steering wheel, an AM/FM radio, speed sensitive volume, wireless phone connectivity, a 12-month trial of SiriusXM Satellite Radio, and voice activation. The Trekking swaps in a 7-speaker Beats Audio system, a real-time weather display, and smartphone app integration for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Otherwise, their set-ups are pretty much the same.
Finally, we have the illumination features. The Pop comes with visual warnings for when the key is left in the ignition, when the door is ajar, and when liquids are getting low. The Pop has delay-off projector beam halogen headlights up front, a rear window defrost, variable intermittent front windshield wipers, a rear-view camera, DRL preference settings, a tire pressure monitoring system, deep-tinted windows, a compass, a dome light with a fading function, and an outside temperature display.
Compare the 2020 Fiat 500L Trekking vs Urbana Trim. What is the difference?
What does the Urbana have that the Trekking does not? Its starting MSRP is only a few hundred dollars more than the Trekking. The Urbana gets its own unique exterior design, complete with 17-inch alloy wheels done in glossy black. The doors also have polished accents in a dark black tone, and it also crops up on the fog lights, side moldings, and front and rear fascia. It only come in five different color choices: Bianco White, Onyx Black, Bronzo Metallizato Bronze, Verde Bosco Green, and Grigio Scuro Gray. Optional on this trim level is a black roof.
The cabin looks a bit different as well. The seats are done in a black leather upholstery that features cool copper accent stitching. Also, you get the 500L logo placed on the dash and done in a matching copper tone.
Other than that, however, the Urbana shares its features with the Trekking trim level and does not differ in terms of safety and infotainment.
Compare the 2020 Fiat 500L Urbana vs Lounge Trim Level. - What is the Difference?
Finally, we have the line-topping Lounge trim level. The Lounge comes in your choice of 11 different exterior body color options, including a vibrant Giallo yellow and deep Rosso red. On the inside, you can select between standard black, Carrera Gray, Dark Slate Gray, or Warm Gray. If you want, you can opt for the Graphite Edition, which gives you 17-inch aluminum wheels, a dual-pane sunroof, and a gray roof and matching side mirrors. You can still opt for a two-tone paint job and metallic paint.
As far as convenience features go, only the dual-pane power sunroof is optional. Everything else that comes on the Urbana and Trekking is standard on the Lounge. The infotainment and safety features are pretty much the same as well.
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Which Trim to Choose?
The 2020 Fiat 500L is disappointing, as we know that Fiat can produce some strong and comfortable vehicles. Unfortunately, the 500L does not live up to such expectations and is, therefore, doing poorly in terms of sales. If Fiat wants to compete in this segment, they are going to have to make some significant changes to the 500L in the next few model years.
The 500L isn't a total loss though. The interior is magnificently crafted in terms of space. Fiat's design for the cargo area is pretty spot-on, and the cabin has enough room for adults of any size. If you go with the right trim level, you can get some helpful features too.
So, which trim level is the best of the four options? We are going to pick the Trekking. It is not much more expensive than the Pop, but it has a few upgrades that are worth the cost, including the 7-speaker sound system and built-in navigation with voice recognition. While these should not be determining factors when buying a vehicle, they will be attractive to some shoppers. The Pop just seems a little too basic and low-brow. Auto makers are learning that, in order to compete, you have to make lower trim levels that have a lot of standard safety and infotainment features.
The Trekking might be a good choice when you are dead-set on getting the 2020 Fiat 500L, but realistically, most people are probably going to give the 500L one glance and keep going. Sadly, Fiat's cool Italian-style crossover just does not have enough of the features and performance that buyers are looking for. A stronger engine that gets a better fuel economy and improved safety features and design would go a long way in making the 500L a top seller in years to come. For now, your best bet is to check out the standard 500 or the 500X.
• Compare the 2019 Fiat 500L Trim Levels