It was just a few months ago that I was trekking around in the 2018 Fiat 500L Trekking model. Though Fiat is known for its relatively smallish looks the vehicle was roomy as it easily sat 5 adults. I enjoyed my weeklong test drive especially the head-turning burnt orange color that mimicked my college alma mater in Austin.
I recently got to experience Fiat’s 500L Lounge version, this time a 2019 model that was bright red – the color of my college’s archrival. An auspicious start for me, to say the least.
The 500L can be classified as a wagon – it has a hatch – and comes in a few variations. The base Pop starts around $22,000, the Trekking begins just over $23,500, and the Lounge starts about $1,000 more. It’s pretty much the same vehicle under the hood and your choice depends on which options you prefer. The engine says “turbocharged” which sounds sexy but at just 160 horsepower there is not a lot of giddy-up. The vehicle is relatively light-weight at so there is a bit of zip when the gas pedal is punched.
Not much has changed from previous models and that is why the 500L continues to elicit glances from other drivers and passers-by. The L model is an elongated version of the iconic, 2-door Fiat 500 with a standout feature in the front window. An additional pillar is placed on each side of the window – in front of the A pillar – which creates not just a unique look but can also cause a hindrance when driving. It took me a while to get used to the front-facing view as those left- and right-side pillars created somewhat of a blind spot for me. I had no issue with typical blind spot areas behind me and in my periphery as the height of the cabin and large rear windows made it easy to see most everything to the sides and behind me.
Fiat includes its FCA parent company’s entertainment system in the 500L. While I generally like the UConnect system the version in my Trekking model seemed a bit rudimentary compared to other variants I have seen. The 7″ display did have navigation and Bluetooth connectivity. Kudos for the Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capabilities. I would suggest using that software for nav and communication services in the 500L.
One other deceiving point for me was the cargo space. It doesn’t look like it could hold a lot of things, but when the back seat is folded down the 500L holds almost 70 cubic feet of space. That matches or exceeds some vehicles that are much larger and the ones Fiat competes with including the VW Beetle and MINI.
The 2019 Fiat 500L Lounge offers practicality with a dash of Italian flair. It stands out. It makes a statement. Not a very fast or powerful statement but ones that says “arevidierci” – see you again soon.