Vital Stats

Engine:
Turbo-Diesel 1.6L I4
Power:
103 HP / 236 LB-FT
Transmission:
6-Speed Manual
0-60 Time:
12.0 Seconds (est.)
Top Speed:
112 MPH
Drivetrain:
Front-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
3,320 LBS (est.)
Seating:
2+3+2
Cargo:
56.2 CU-FT (max)
MPG:
23 City / 32 HWY (est.)
Base Price:
$25,000 (est.)
As Tested Price:
$28,000 (est.)
Turning The World's Largest Fiat Into A Larger Three-Row MPV



We've explored every offering of the Fiat 500 family meant for the United States, plus all of the Abarth variations. But the 500 now also comes super-sized; we recently attended a drive of the larger 2014 Fiat 500L people-mover and its Trekking edition, and found them both to be generally enjoyable. We Americans, however, are suckers for anything that comes in an even bigger size than Large, so witness this Fiat 500L Living, which will be landing on our shores sometime in late 2014.

The essential benefit here is that this 500L is bigger (i.e. longer) by 8.3 inches, thereby adding cargo space and, to our eyes, filling out the natural profile of the slightly scrunched design of the standard 500L. You can maximize your 500L Living cargo space to 59.7 cubic feet by knocking down all the seats, or you can opt for the "+2" seating arrangement that sacrifices 3.5 cubic feet of volume for a tantalizing third row of chairs that seems to turn some consumers into dogs of Pavlov, no matter the degree of usefulness of said added row.
Our tester for this drive day around a quaint region of northern Italy came equipped with everything possible on Fiat's top Lounge trim options list, meaning we did indeed get to try out that third row of seats. Loaded thusly, a 500L Living should be buyable for around $28,000, but we would also opt for the nearly five-foot-long, $950 panoramic glass roof and just remember not to park under any trees to avoid tempting the winged bird-poo squadrons.

2015 Fiat 500L Living side view2015 Fiat 500L Living front view2015 Fiat 500L Living rear view

Loaded thusly, a 500L Living should be buyable for around $28,000.

This was a European-spec 500L Living, of course, so the baseball-sized shifter knob for the six-speed manual transmission was collaborating with a much lauded 1.6-liter turbo-diesel inline four-cylinder engine huffing out 103 horsepower and a healthy 236 pound-feet of torque. We spent the day hauling around a crew of two and some small camera gear, so we don't yet have a good idea as to how this package will behave with five or more people aboard, and maybe with 100 pounds of stuff. We were curious, though, since the low-revving and quick rev-drop quality of a small diesel motor between gears requires much getting used to when there are heavier loads combined with steep ups and downs in the road.

Naturally, the 500L Living we'll be getting Stateside will have a six-speed twin-clutch transmission as standard equipment, mated to the North American 160-hp, 1.4-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder gas engine. Apples and oranges weighed equally, it'll cost about the same as this one tested.

Autoblog Short Cuts: 2015 Fiat 500L Living

The 500L Living is the world's smallest seven-passenger vehicle.

At 175.4 inches long – a little less than a Honda CR-V – the 500L Living is the world's smallest seven-passenger vehicle. This can certainly be seen as something of a plus, but those two pop-up seats are extremely limited in their usefulness. After much soul searching, we had to admit that the best Living will be the one without the third row option. In fact, by eliminating that sometimes irrational attraction, you get greater, more flexible cargo space with the so-called Cargo Magic Space, which is a sizable three-level cargo floor panel that allows you to hide stuff below decks if needed.

For this longer, three-row 500L package, though, we have to ask: would it be better to have sliding doors? Would it be better to have a split rear hatch? For maximum flexibility and usefulness, we'd want both – especially the sliders (think Mazda5). It would make the most sense for tighter European parking situations, too, even though it's not really that big of a deal here in the United States or Canada.

2015 Fiat 500L Living interior2015 Fiat 500L Living front seats2015 Fiat 500L Living rear seats2015 Fiat 500L Living rear cargo area

Dynamically, we wouldn't compare the 500L Living's moves to an Infiniti EX or even a Mini Countryman.

One more nice aspect of adding 8.3 inches to the 500L is that overall weight only rises by some 65 pounds over the standard-length 500L. Dynamically, however, we still wouldn't compare the 500L Living's moves to an Infiniti EX or even a Mini Countryman. The Fiat 500L Living with the US-spec 1.4-liter turbocharged motor should get to 60 miles per hour in around 9.8 seconds. This quickness is fine for the intentions of the vehicle; the 500L Living is meant for the practical hauling around of humans, pets, and stuff, while being simple to park, distinctive to stare at and just zippy enough. In Europe, there are 19 exterior colors available, 11 twin-tone possibilities and 15 wheel styles. Our 17-inch optional set of alloys are the largest available rollers on the 500L, and the Continental ContiEcoContact treads – 225/45-seriesall around – were alright on comfort and noise, and surprisingly great in brisker side-to-side dynamics.

The suspension setup is quite the standard fare with no surprises: MacPherson front and compact multi-link rear. But you and we know that expecting phenomenal feedback while thrashing the 500L around is simply not in the cards. This is a rolling style-choice that sets an American driver and family well apart from their neighbors, while also being incredibly practical overall. Visibility looking out as we drove along was, in Fiat people-mover tradition, significantly better than the norm in this part of the market. This makes the 500L Living not only safer in traffic, but also a great road trip choice, too. Maneuverability and steering action are spot-on for a vehicle of this style, which means really tight-turning radii, light-as-a-feather lock-to-lock action for parking structures and good on-center feel in everyday cruising.

2015 Fiat 500L Living rear 3/4 view

There'll be little or nothing like the 500L Living on North American roads.

Inside, you can get full leather if you must, but we would stick with the resilient fabric we had in our tester. We do wish Fiat would create a longer lower seat cushion for generally meatier North American thigh bones, but the seating position and comfort themselves are beyond reproach. That said, we remain confused by the stitched-in quotation that runs across the fabric itself in front and back. Very Euro.

You wanted more Fiats? For now, we're getting more Fiat 500L. Once again, there'll be little or nothing like the 500L Living on North American roads. The 500L and Trekking models and the few new Livings we saw on Italian roads all looked surprisingly better in person than they've come across in photos, we must admit. And Italians, who are pretty good arbiters of what turns heads, turned and looked in approval.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 91 Comments
      Tuga
      • 1 Year Ago
      The 500LLLLLLLLiving is NOT the Worlds smallest 7 seater. The Honda Freed, for exemple, is 165 inches long ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_Freed ). Not even mentioning the bucketload of microvans that are sold everywhere across the globe, like the Maruti Omni ( 133 inches long, seats 8, http://www.marutisuzuki.com/omni/OmniVariants.aspx ).
      Sam Davidowicz
      • 1 Year Ago
      You might as well call that 3rd row seat a parcel shelf.....
      Terry Actill
      • 1 Year Ago
      Expanding the range of vehicles is a good idea of course. The styling of the Living does take some getting used to. That roof line is goofy, but the overall concept works. The 500L is a cool car and way more useful than the 500. Anybody who enjoys being looked at will buy this vehicles.
      RustyShackelford
      • 1 Year Ago
      Funny thing is, the dimensions aren't even all that far off of the original Chrysler minivans in the 80s. It's not near as "mini" as people think.
        Shiftright
        • 1 Year Ago
        @RustyShackelford
        Park a '13 Mini next to a '63 Mini, or a '13 Camaro next to a '67.
      Fazzster
      • 1 Year Ago
      Regarding the 3rd row, where does one put their feet?
      Jasonn
      • 1 Year Ago
      Perfect for Charlie Sheen and 6 very tiny women! Too bad there won't be any storage room left for his true love...
      cpmanx
      • 1 Year Ago
      I actually own and routinely use a vehicle like this--the sadly departed Kia Rondo. It's an odd kind of vehicle in the U.S. but it makes sense for a family with young kids living in a crowded urban environment, as I do. Some comments from that perspective: I love the overall style and packaging of the car. The interior materials look a bit cheap in the photos (corroborated by some of the reviews of the 500L), but the overall design seems both playful and functional. Exterior styling is polarizing but I really dig the look. And the ride/handling balance sounds quite promising for a 7-passenger MPV. My reservations: With the third row seats all up, the remaining cargo space looks even more meager than in my Rondo. With the 3rd and 2nd row seats, the cargo hold appears a bit less flat/flexible. But my biggest concern is the ability of the 1.4L turbo to handle a full load of passengers and cargo. The Rondo, with 185hp on tap, is just adequate. The high-strung Fiat engine seems like a bad fit for this vehicle on American roads. Fiat doesn't have many powertrain options that will fit under that hood, though I also wonder about that 2.0L turbodiesel, which would be better suited to the character of the 500L Living.
        Gordon Chen
        • 1 Year Ago
        @cpmanx
        I like the idea of the car. I just think it's ugly. Why does this car look like this anyway, if it's named after the 500? They could've just made the regular 500L and Living look like an oversized fiat 500 and that would be awesome.
      2o6
      • 1 Year Ago
      500L Living is not the smallest 7 seater in the world.... The Toyota Passo Sette/Daihatsu Boon Luminas/Perodua Alza (Essentially, a 7-seat Yaris) is still a full 10" shorter. Honda Freed (essentially a Fit Minivan, even comes in an 8 seat version) is still smaller...
        aatbloke1967
        • 1 Year Ago
        @2o6
        Essentially, essentially. You still enjoy wikipedia, I notice.
          2o6
          • 1 Year Ago
          @aatbloke1967
          Ho ho ho, and you're still the resident elitist *******. Why post on this site if the only thing you do is make jabs at other posters? 500L Living isn't that small.....quick search shows it's only a tiny bit smaller than the Grand C-max. Why is that so offensive to you?
        aatbloke1967
        • 1 Year Ago
        @2o6
        I'm not suggesting the 500L is small - it fact it's larger than the Secici it replaced. But your comments are continually amusing in the wikipedia-esque recitals. Keep up the entertaining work ...
      mariot.usa
      • 1 Year Ago
      I have a 500L (Easy), manual transmission same color as the one on the article, and is actually pretty fun to drive, and the internal space is really good. Of course, the beauty is on the eyes of the beholder, since, I don't like anything that is ordinary, for me the design is kind of "sexy", just a matter of taste. The engine can be a little more "powerful", yes, but, the car is pretty responsive , so far. So , coming from a Honda CR-V, FIT, VW Jetta, I am pretty satisfied so far, but only time and miles will say.
      FuelToTheFire
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'm sorry but this is NOT a 7 seater by the furthest stretch of the term, and there is NO way I would compromise my kids' safety in this deathtrap. A car this size should not be carrying more than 3 people: For 4 people or more, you need a fullsize sedan, a minivan, or a 3 row SUV. I'm speaking as someone who has 6 year old twins and a 1.5 year old toddler. All of us could not fit inside the Cherokee, much less the Evo, and we were relying on an old Plymouth Voyager(which I inherited from my dad), but we were feeling extremely uncomfortable in that thing, plus, it is so painfully slow(100 hp and 13 seconds to 60) that I'm scared of driving in for long distances, especially on the highway. So I replaced my Cherokee with a used, 2008 Hummer H2. It's a huge truck, very macho, very safe, very spacious, and extremely comfortable. It was originally a 7 seater, but I took out the the right-most seat for easier access to the third row, making it a 6 seater. My point is, when you have a relatively large family, you do not want to compromise their safety, and anyone with 2 or more kids will agree. You NEED a large, truck based SUV to haul around your family. These dinky 7 seaters like this Fiat are a joke. They are unsafe and extremely uncomfortable. And did I mention that the acceleration to 60 is 12 seconds? No sane person would EVER drive this on the highway. On the other hand, my H2, with a Magnuson supercharger kit installed (393 hp without the kit, 513 hp with) runs 7s all day.
        Mike Pulsifer
        • 1 Year Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        Can't fit three young children in a Cherokee? Sounds like the family needs a weight loss program. What's next? Occupying two seats on a plane and demanding that you pay for only one?
        NightFlight
        • 1 Year Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        This might be in the top five dumbest comments I've ever read on Autoblog, and your responses to others comments are equally as ridiculous. Listening to how you justify your purchase is comical, you calling the H2 safe is even more comical.
        aaab.baaa
        • 1 Year Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        LOL! Be careful and don't run over your kids, or other people's kids, with your huge safe box on wheels (neither roll over).
        Shiftright
        • 1 Year Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        The most troubling fact about your drivel filled ignorant paranoid xenophobic rant is that you have unfortunately already reproduced. I feel for your children, burdened as they are with your genes, and what is sure to be a life long lesson in selfishness, jingoist blind nationalism, general ignorance, short sightedness, small mindness, etc, etc, etc
        superchan7
        • 1 Year Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        How's that H2 in evasive maneuvering?
          FuelToTheFire
          • 1 Year Ago
          @superchan7
          Learn how to drive first, then you can complain about "evasive maneuvering".
          NightFlight
          • 1 Year Ago
          @superchan7
          @ superchan7 Don't forget to mention how the roof structure holds up to rollovers, and how the vehicle is more prone to rolling over. Typical ignorant mindset that bigger = safer.
        aatbloke1967
        • 1 Year Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        FueltotheFire - if you really need to drive your kids around in a Hummer, then that says everything about your own lack of driving skills. Which, in America, wouldn't surprise me whatsoever because driving standards there are utterly abysmal to the average European.
          superchan7
          • 1 Year Ago
          @aatbloke1967
          So in your ideal world, everyone would drive tanks. That would be exactly as safe as if everyone were to drive Mazda 2s.
          Suzq044
          • 1 Year Ago
          @aatbloke1967
          @ FuelToTheFire -- .. sounds a little overprotective.. and a misuse of the word NEED..
          FuelToTheFire
          • 1 Year Ago
          @aatbloke1967
          Well, that's good for you. Stay in Europe and enjoy your dinky little Fiats. Typical socialist European, always telling others how to live their lives, and always the first to bash America. Enjoy your high taxes, government regulations, and dying economy. Did I mention that European drivers are WORSE than Americans? I visited my cousins in the UK a few years ago. The drivers there make the drivers in New York look good. And yes, I need a Hummer to drive my kids around. The only reason I bought a Hummer was because an M1 Abrams isn't street legal. I want my kids to be safe, which simply won't happen in a dinky little European car. The European government is too busy taxing its citizens to worry about their safety.
          NightFlight
          • 1 Year Ago
          @aatbloke1967
          @ FuelToTheFire Holy lord. 1. aatbloke lives in the US. 2. ALL of Europe isn't having financial issues, educate yourself. 3. Some of those countries have governments that are FAR more functional than ours. 4. Those higher taxes pay for necessary things in life and in the country. Look at our road network, enough said. 5. Statistically, European drivers are better than American drivers. 6. You don't NEED a Hummer for anything. 7. If you are implying that smaller European vehicles unsafe, you just solidified your ignorance. Enjoy your overpriced, passe, faux luxury, rebadged Yukon from a dead brand. There is a reason why you don't see them on the road anymore. I can't even imagine how the rest of your family thinks.
          aatbloke1967
          • 1 Year Ago
          @aatbloke1967
          "Typical socialist European, always telling others how to live their lives, and always the first to bash America. Enjoy your high taxes, government regulations, and dying economy." Most of my time is actually spent in the US. It's a beautiful country, but when it comes to driving standards, there's very little by way of disciplined motoring and all the Americans I know wholeheartedly agree. Statistically, you're five times more likely to suffer a fatal injury on a major US highway than a European one, despite (when averaged out) there being a lower traffic density. The socialist card I find is always thrown by those Americans who don't know what socialism is and don't understand Europe. I can't think of a single European government with a purely socialist agenda. All of them embrace a capitalist economic system, however not all adopt a similar "every man for himself" social agenda which the US tends to lean towards.
        G_Rock
        • 1 Year Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        Its wonderful to see yet another person that knows nothing about automobile design or safety commenting on Autoblog. When I think of the average American car buyer, I'm guessing its someone with your level of knowledge which is why we never get the good stuff offered overseas.
        The Wasp
        • 1 Year Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        Is this sarcasm? I can't tell.
        mariot.usa
        • 1 Year Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        Hello Fuel. Well, I don't know about "safety", but I have one 500L, and 5 people, (2 front, 3 back) is pretty comfortable, well, at least , what my coworkers said. But, call the 500L as "deathtrap", well, I guess works fine with your "name", FuelToTheFire :).
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        rcavaretti
        • 1 Year Ago
        Stupid comment of the day, bro.
          Wally SirFatty
          • 1 Year Ago
          @rcavaretti
          And you had to show your wit with that lame comment. Good job, ****-waffle.
        superchan7
        • 1 Year Ago
        You know, it's actually a lot of fun to have a serious discussion on cars. Features, driving experience, design, maintenance, etc. Try it; I think you'll enjoy it.
      Eco-Dork
      • 1 Year Ago
      Great, another dork mobile for me to run off the road with my Excursion. Funny how Chairman Obama, Botox Nancy etc, all say we should be driving small junk like this, yet you never see them driving one of them. By the way, my personalized plate says "CrushEm". That will be the last thing you see after I run right over you in this weenie box.
        cpmanx
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Eco-Dork
        "Chairman Obama"? Hoo-boy, you gave it to him but good! I'll bet he's still smarting from that one.
        superchan7
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Eco-Dork
        When you stop daydreaming about crushing cars, you'll still have to spend $130 to fill up your Excursion, while I will spend $55 on my Porsche and $45 on the 500L that I'm probably going to buy in a few months. Don't forget the Prius drivers that spend about $25. Keep it up; you have a lot of people to judge at this rate.
        Shiftright
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Eco-Dork
        Cro-magnon troll speaks! Seriously bro, cool story! Maybe lay off those testicle shrinking 'roids though. Hey, don't you have a Jersey Shore marathon to watch with your sister wife?
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