It's the same quirky 500L you either love or hate, but now it has an even more pronounced distinctive identity.
It was almost two years ago when the cutesy Fiat 500 city car received a refresh bringing 1,800 design changes inside and out, but it’s only now the more practical 500L is going through a similar update. Although it surely doesn’t look like it, Fiat says 40 percent of the MPV’s components are new, albeit some of them are likely hiding beneath the lightly revised skin.
The 2018 model year is bringing some styling revisions at the front where the slightly modified upper headlights have chrome-plated accents while the LED daytime running lights below have a “0” lighting signature as a nod to the two “zeros” in “500.” Also noticeable is the fancy lower grille with a studded chrome mesh to make the minivan look a tad more upmarket when viewed from the front, though the 500L is still not what you’d call a looker. Keen readers will also observe the radiator grille has been subjected to a nip and tuck as well and it now hosts a horizontal metallic piece of trim.
More chrome inserts have been applied at the back where the fog and reversing lights have been moved lower on the bumper not just for the sake of making visual changes, but also to improve effectiveness, according to Fiat. There are no less than 37 color combinations available, as well as three types of roofs (white or matte black, glossy black, body-colored) and ten pastel or metallic hues, including the new Bellagio Blue.
Available in Urban, Cross, and Wagon versions, the facelifted 500L also hosts an assortment of novelties inside, though we wouldn’t call the cabin as being “completely new” as Fiat describes it. There’s a different look for the steering wheel with chrome accents, updated instrument cluster with two round gauges flanking the 3.5-inch digital display, and a redesigned gear lever now positioned higher than before.
Onboard goodies include the familiar seven-inch Uconnect infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration, along with a new Mode Selector for the rugged 500L Cross model that sits one inch (25 millimeters) higher than the others. This one also gets a fresh set of two-tone 17-inch wheels and new bumpers together with skid plates for extra protection.
Should the standard Fiat 500L not suit your style, there are an impressive 92 Mopar accessories available for an extended array of customizations. There are also many optional amenities offered, among which we’ll only mention the 520-watt Beats sound system.
In regards to the oily bits, the updated 500L can be powered by a 95-hp 1.4-liter gasoline unit and beefier 1.4-liter developing 120 hp. There’s also the familiar 0.9-liter TwinAir with 105 hp on tap and a bi-fuel version of the 1.4-liter TJet rated at 120 hp compatible with gasoline and LPG. Another bi-fuel engine is the aforementioned 0.9-liter TwinAir with 85 hp that can run on gasoline and methane. On the diesel side, the 1.3-liter MultiJet produces 95 hp whereas the larger 1.6-liter MultiJet is good for 120 hp.
All things considered, the changes are on a rather subtle level as the Fiat 500L continues to be a quirky yet practical car you either love or hate, now with some extra shiny bits and bobs. As you may recall, Motor1’s Editor in Chief, John Neff, loves it.
Gallery: 2018 Fiat 500L facelift
The New Fiat 500L
- Even more 500, even more convenient, even more technological: that sums up the new Fiat 500L.
- A unique combination of spaciousness and personality, market leader in Europe since it was launched.
- 40% of all components are new.
- Not just a range, but three separate identities to cover all needs: Urban, Cross and Wagon.
- Standard features and prices may vary between countries, but the following information applies to all markets. More specific and detailed information is available on the local press websites.
Having uncontestably led its segment for five years, here comes the new Fiat 500L. By capitalising on the features which have cemented it's European dominance and constantly rising market leadership, the roomiest 500 of all is now even more full of technology and connected, and has even more character and personality. These characteristics thrive and combine in the three personalities of the car: Urban, Cross and Wagon.
The 500 style is even more obvious in this updated version, on which 40% of all components are new. It was designed to reinforce the family feeling of the model by emphasising its key stylistic characteristics, for a highly distinctive identity. The 500L successfully combines best-in-class versatility with genuine 500 values and distinctive features. These alone are sufficient to make it unique, but are complemented even further by the typical 500 flair: the 500L combines all the style and excitement of the 500 with the spaciousness and functionality of an MPV. City streets worldwide are the natural habitat of the iconic Fiat and the 500L combines its famed compact style with the crossover look of the new Cross version. It features a Mode Selector for choosing three different response modes according to driving style and road conditions: Normal, Traction+ and Gravity Control. Everyone who chooses to drive the new 500L, on city streets or rough terrain alike, has the same, very current need: to stay connected, share the thrills of the journey, communicate, listen to their favourite music and receive traffic and weather information in real time. In the 500L you can do this and more while keeping your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road using UconnectTM HD Live with 7-inch high-resolution touchscreen, Apple Car Play integration and Android AutoTMcompatibility.
The Cross version adds a new dimension to the personality of the 500L. In addition to the Mode Selector, the adventure-loving character of the car is emphasised by specific equipment, 25 mm more ground clearance and style details delivering a genuine crossover look: new bumper design, new side protections and new front and rear skid plates. The Cross is accompanied by the purest of city versions, Urban, and the Wagon, in which roominess and versatility are taken to the highest levels with seven, fully reconfigurable seats.
These are not just three versions; they are three authentic identities, created to delight different people and serve different needs. All three share outstanding safety features, such as Autonomous City Brake, the automatic braking system operating in cities at speeds under 30 km/h, and the largest boot in its class. The internal configuration is also extremely flexible, enabling customers to create up to 1,500 internal customisations. Exclusive packs, developed ad hoc, also enable every customer to customise his or her 500L by enhancing its style, connectivity, comfort and safety features. Petrol, LPG, methane and diesel engines, delivering up to 120 HP, paired with five or six speed manual or Dualogic robotic automatic transmissions are available across the range.
Even more 500
The new 500L is designed to reinforce the family feeling of the model by emphasising its key stylistic characteristics. The exterior style expresses all the distinctive elements which have characterised the model throughout its history, ever since its iconic 1950s forerunner, with an even more complete identity. The most obvious reference to the past is in the "moustache and badge" combo set on the trapezoidal nose, the upper headlights with chrome-plated elements, still circular and dynamic-looking, and the lower cluster with LED daytime running lights which pick up the graphics of the two "zeros" in 500. With this finely styled detail, the new 500L clearly proclaims its identity even in the dark. What's more, the front bumper with signature trapezoidal trim and the chromed "studded" three-dimensional lower grille mesh give the car an attractive and very elegant look. At the same time, the chromed strips which direct the eye to the wheel arches convey toughness and individuality. With these changes, the front of the new 500L is even more expressive and seductive. The key feature at the rear are the chromed inserts that underline the family feeling and horizontal trims that reinforce the car's presence and impact on the road. The fog and reversing lights are in the underside of the bumper. This change is functional rather than just stylistic, and increases the effectiveness of the various lights.
The new 500L is available in ten pastel or metallic colours and with three types of roof: body-coloured, glossy black and white or matt black. Overall, customers have a choice of no less than 37 colour combinations. The colours available are the new Bellagio Blue, Sicilian Orange and Donatello Bronze, Ice-Cream White, Sorrento Yellow, Cinema Black, Fashion Grey, Maestro Grey, Tuscan Green and Passion Red.
A unique combination of spaciousness and personality
The interiors are also completely new, starting from the design of the dashboard. The overall effect is more high-tech and even more iconic, as demonstrated by the bright "500" signature on the dashboard. The passenger compartment in general is comfortable, convenient, versatile and light-filled, with a wealth of meticulously styled details and rich in distinctive 500 touches. It combines a full set of state-of-the-art equipment with design inspired by the classic 500. The area behind the restyled multifunctional steering wheel, now with added chromed accents, has an updated design with two circular instrument gauges (rev counter and speedometer) on either side of a 3.5-inch colour graphic display. The perfect combination of the new steering wheel and the dashboard improves the visibility of the instrument cluster, further enhanced by white backlighting. The driver also benefits from the innovative TFT colour digital display, with a full set of useful information. Furthermore, the new 500L displays an innovative wraparound glazing concept to improve the feeling of dominating the road and ease of parking in addition to securing top-in-its-segment visibility resulting from the glazed A pillar. The remarkably large 1.5 square metre glass sunroof makes the passenger compartment even brighter. Available fixed or electrically opening, the panoramic roof of Fiat 500L means that occupants can enjoy all the light and the feeling of freedom that the large glazed surface can offer.
While the top section of the dashboard conveys a fresh personality, the lower part offers all the convenience of new, larger storage compartments and the introduction of new comfort features such as the central armrest. The gear lever was redesigned and placed higher up for greater driving comfort; it is embellished with the "500" logo. Every version has its own personality: the Popstar trim level expresses the young, functional, practical side of the model, with matching body colour dashboard fascia, black fabric seats, denim central band and white vinyl inserts embossed with the "500" logo. The door panel comfort level is enhanced by a soft black fabric armrest. The dashboard fascia is coloured to match the body of the car. The Lounge trim level expresses modernity and elegance: as well as the exclusive dashboard with the 7-inch touchscreen UconnectTM HD Live infotainment system as standard, and chrome trims, customers can choose from cooler or warmer colours, in all cases with diamond-weave fabric, double stitching and black vinyl head restraints and armrests. The dashboard is finished with technical fabric matching the seat colour. The Cross version expresses the sporty soul and spirit of adventure of the car to the fullest: 7-inch display, ready-for-anything black interiors, fabric seats and titanium vinyl inserts embossed with the "500" logo. Grey or black leather seats are also available as an upgrade on the Urban and Wagon Lounge trim levels and on the Cross version. Internal space is top-of-class, thanks to the passenger compartment's generous length. Boot volume with the rear seat in the forward position is 455 litres for Urban and Cross and 638 litres for the Wagon (416 in the seven-seater versions). With the seats folded and tumbled, capacity rises to 1480 litres for Urban and Cross and 1784 for the Wagon.
Horizon-broadening crossover technology
The more adventurous character of the 500L is represented by the Cross version. It has a one-of-a-kind crossover look with new bumpers and skid plate, new two-colour diamond-finish 17-inch tyres and a bold grille to give a sporty, masculine appearance to the car. Ground clearance raised by 25 mm and the new Mode Selector are standard. By turning the knob provided on the central console, thisenables the driver to choose from three different response modes depending on driving style and road conditions: Normal, Traction+ and Gravity Control. Normal is the default function and is intended to provide a comfortable, safe ride in ordinary conditions. Traction+, which can be activated at speeds of less than 30 km/h, helps the car to start on surfaces made slippery by snow, ice or mud and provides optimal torque distribution across the front axle, braking the wheel with less grip on the ground and transferring torque to the one with more bite. Gravity Control holds the speed constant when descending steep slopes, and can be enabled when the Traction+ function is active. The mode selected is displayed on the TFT screen.
Safety and comfort
The Cross identity is not the only one to benefit from major technological contents. The entire range offers features developed to improve the driving experience, comfort and safety. First and foremost, the very useful Autonomous City Brake. This driving assist system consists of a laser sensor located on the top of the windscreen to monitor the position of the cars ahead. When travelling at less than 30 km/h, the system automatically brakes the new 500L if a potential collision is imminent.
Other key items of equipment include the child monitoring mirror to keep an eye on rear seat passengers, LED daylight running lights and parking lights, which in addition to being design features reasserting the 500 style, also ensure excellent visibility. As well as power adjustment and heating, the side mirrors can be upgraded to fold electrically and add puddle lights, to illuminate the area around the car when light is poor.
The passenger compartment lighting is also improved, with ambient light in the base of the central console, on the central tunnel and on the doors. The rear parking camera is equally state-of-the-art, with improved resolution in poor visibility and active grid lines to assist parking (available from the last quarter of this year).
Three identities: Cross, Urban and Wagon
The new 500L Cross has a one-of-a-kind crossover look with new bumpers and skid plate, new two-colour diamond-finish 17-inch tyres and a bold grille to give a sporty, masculine appearance to the car. It has crossover substance as well as looks with the new Mode Selector and technology with the new UconnectTM HD Live 7-inch touchscreen.
The 500L Cross is 4.28 m long with a wheelbase of 2.61 m. It is 1.80 m wide and 1.68 m high.
The urban soul of the 500L finds expression in the Urban version, available in the Popstar and Lounge trim levels. It epitomises stylish metropolitan motoring. Plenty of space for efficient, convenient use and great handling in city traffic, to meet the real needs of everyday mobility. This version is also offered in a Business trim level specifically for professionals and fleets. The 500L Urban measures 4.24 m in length, has a wheelbase of 2.61 m, is 1.78 m wide and 1.66 cm high.
The Popstar trim level, also available in the new Bellagio Blue colour, has an even richer series of standard features, including in particular ABS, ESP, 6 airbags, climate control, cruise control, multifunction technoleather steering wheel, power-adjustable heated side mirrors, 3.5-inch colour TFT display, UconnectTM radio with Bluetooth and voice control, rear seat with 60/40 split, and DRL. Also even more luxurious is the Lounge trim, featuring different seat upholstery, a dashboard fascia finished with technical fabric, a climate control system both automatic and dual zone, and standard items that include fixed glass sunroof, chromed inserts, fog lights, UconnectTM HD Live 7-inch touchscreen, 16-inch alloy wheels, rain and dusk sensors and boot organiser.
The Wagon, also available in a seven seat configuration, is the ideal solution for combining spaciousness and versatility with distinctiveness and 500 style character. The Popstar and Lounge trim levels are available. The 500L Wagon is the most compact seven-seater on the market: 4.38 metres long.
It also features the characteristic scope for customisation of the 500. Specifically developed, exclusive packs are available for every version to customise the 500L by enhancing its style, connectivity, comfort and safety features, offering lower prices than if each accessory were purchased separately. They are the City, Comfort, Connect, Safety, Style and Style Plus packs.
The engines most suited for the specific needs of customers were picked for the different identities of the model. The petrol engine line-up includes the 1.4-litre 16V delivering 95 HP, the 1.4-litre 16V TJet delivering 120 HP and the 0.9-litre TwinAir delivering 105 HP. The range is completed with the bi-fuel petrol and LPG 1.4-litre TJet delivering 120 HP and the bi-fuel petrol and methane 0.9-litre TwinAir delivering 85 HP. The offering is completed by two diesel engines: the 95 HP 1300 cc 16V MultiJet, also with Dualogic transmission, and the 120 HP 1600 cc 16V MultiJet. All engines comply with the Euro 6 standards and successfully combine sparkling performance with fuel economy.
Mopar for the new 500L
Mopar offers a collection of ninety-two accessories created to enhance the versatility of the car, optimise its functional and loading capabilities, which are already at the top of its category, address the need for safety and protection of families with children and provide solutions for customising the looks and details of the new 500L.
In line with the versatility of the model, solutions are available for arranging luggage, such as protectors, nets and cargo organizers, and increasing transport capabilities. Mopar has also created bicycle racks, surf board racks, ski racks and boxes, which can be easily installed on the roof racks to carry everything you need for your hobbies. Practical and convenient are the coat hooks and tables which can be anchored to the head restraints, the seat back protectors, the front seat organiser with multiple pockets and the tablet holder.
Mopar also offers an innovative passenger compartment filter with anti-allergy functions. By exploiting the properties of polyphenols, the new filter can reduce allergens in the passenger compartment: showing the brand's dedicationto customer needs, including health and well-being.
Finally, with Mopar, Fiat 500L becomesthe ideal choice for pet-loving families with a range of essential accessories for travelling with your four-legged friends safely and comfortably. These include the handy, removable and washable boot protective tray, the rear bumper luggage protector, the rigid partition net, the rear window sun shades and the convenient rear seat housing.
Mopar Vehicle Protection: more certainties, more freedom, more value also for Fiat 500L
Mopar Vehicle Protection ensures that servicing is performed by highly qualified, specialised technicians at authorised FCA service centres, using specialist equipment and tools and genuine spare parts. The Mopar product portfolio contains a wide and flexible range of extended warranties and service plans. Each plan offers different options in terms of duration and mileage and is designed to meet the different driving requirements of individual customers, ensuring that the car works as efficiently as possible in the long run. A MAXIMUM CARE warranty extension and the EASY CARE prepaid service package are both available. A new package has been prepared for the launch of the Fiat 500L which includes climate control system sanitation and replacement with a special new pollen with anti-allergen filter.
More connected than ever
Even more impressive news comes from the new advanced smartphone integration systems debuting on the new 500L. You can now access your main smartphone apps directly on the 7-inch high-resolution touchscreen of the UconnectTM HD Live system integrated in the dashboard. The system is also available with Apple Car Play integration and is compatible with Android AutoTM.
The next-generation UconnectTM system also features hands-free Bluetooth interface, audio streaming, text reader and voice recognition, AUX and USB ports with iPod integration, controls on the steering wheel and, on demand, rear parking camera and the new TomTom 3D built-in navigation system. You can stay connected with UconnectTMLIVE services. Download the UconnectTM LIVE free app from the App Store or Google Play Store to your smartphone: UconnectTM LIVE offers music streaming with Deezer and TuneIn, news from Reuters and connected navigation with TomTom LIVE, and you can keep in touch with your friends via Facebook Check-in and Twitter. You can also benefit from the savings, eco-friendliness and monitoring functions wherever you choose to go with eco:Drive and my:Car.
As mentioned, UconnectTM system is now also available with the Apple CarPlay, the smarter, safer way to use your iPhone in the car. It perfectly integrates the iPhone with the display and native controls of the car so users can make calls, play their music, send and receive messages, get directions optimised for traffic conditions and much more, while staying focused on the road.
Android Auto gives the driver useful information organised on simple screens which only appear when necessary. With this function you can access Google Maps, with voice-guided navigation, real time traffic information and lane guidance and Google Play Music and many other music services. You can make and receive calls and send messages while keeping your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. Android Auto, Google Play, and Google Maps are trademarks of Google Inc.
The 500L can be upgraded with the BeatsAudioTM system, which boasts a total power of 520 Watt, divided between two 80 Watt mid-Woofer speakers (diameter 165 mm) positioned in the bottom part of the front door panel, two 40 Watt tweeter speakers (diameter 38 mm) positioned in the top of the front door panel, two 60 Watt full-range speakers (diameter 165 mm) positioned in the rear door panel and an 80 + 80 Watt subwoofer (diameter 165 mm) located in the boot - which ensures dynamic, powerful bass tones, maximising the listening experience for fans of a wide range of musical genres, from hip hop to soul. The picture is completed by an amplifier with DSP and 8 channels, featuring a built-in advanced equalisation algorithm capable of reproducing the entire spectrum of sound that an artist experiences in the recording studio.