By on 2023-09-01 -
Fiat 500L - Used Car
THE MPV or people carrier is a dying breed as people vote with their cash and go for SUVs instead.
But from 2012 until 2022 the Fiat 500L offered excellent, spacious family transport with very good practicality and good economy.
The L (for Large) was supposed to link the model with its diminutive and best selling city car brother the 500.
But it's much larger and it doesn't really have the same cachet. In fact, is based on a completely different floorpan and drive systems.
Howsoever, it does have affordable running costs, and throughout its long life, there were hundreds of customisation options, allowing original owners to personalize them as much as they wanted.
Despite the fact that it lacks the charm of the little 500, it's still a great family car, and when you're buying one secondhand, just hunt around and find one with all the ‘extras' you want.
And of course, insist on full service history. So many secondhand dealers fail to place enough importance on this. Its vitally important that you know any car you buy has been properly taken care of.
Being designed as a multi-purpose vehicle (MPV), the 500L was made to carry people and all their stuff, so it's still more practical and spacious than similarly sized SUVs.
The engine range, which is shared with a number of other cars in the Fiat range, included both petrols and diesels, but the diesels were dropped in 2018.
Petrols available at different times start with the 0.9-litre TwinAir that has 105bhp and reaches 60 miles an hour from rest in 11.9 seconds. It's good for a claimed 58 miles per gallon.
Then comes the mainstay 1.4, which has 95bhp, reaches 60 in 12.4 seconds and is rated at 46mpg.
Diesels are a choice of 1.3 and 1.6-litre MultiJet units. The 1.3 boasts 95bhp, and can get to 60 in about 13.5 seconds. Its rated at 68mpg.
The 1.6 MultiJet has 120bhp and is the performance king of the range, getting to 60 in 10.4 seconds, while still being capable of 67mpg at very best.
The handling and roadholding are surprisingly good considering that there is a fair amount of roll in the corners.
Its biased towards making the car easy to drive and this it achieves brilliantly - even adding Fiat's city steering button, which makes the wheel feather light even when stationery.
Ride quality is good in the main, but cars fitted with the larger 17-inch wheels feel many more of the small imperfections in the road surface.
There is little side support in the seats and this does not instill confidence in the car's cornering ability even though it's actually very good.
Safety is good and the 500L rated a top score of five stars when it was tested by Euro NCAP.
All models have six airbags, stability control and ABS, plus Fiat's City Brake Control system, which is capable of recognising obstacles in front of the car, and braking automatically up to 19 miles an hour if the driver fails to do so.
Inside, everything is well-laid out and easy to use and legroom and headroom for those in the back is exceptional.
Mid-range Urban models come with front electric windows, air conditioning, remote locking, steering reach and rake adjustment, audio remote and cruise control.
Pay about Â£9,450 for a '19 19-reg 1.4 95bhp Lounge, or Â£11,300 for a '21 21-reg 1.4 Pop.
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