Our cars: Fiat 500L - April

Article 3 of 11 See all
  • Fiat 500L enters its ninth month on What Car? fleet
  • Driven more than 8000 miles so far
  • Run by deputy production editor Melanie Falconer
  • After 10 months and more than 9000 miles, we say goodbye to the Fiat 500L

    After 10 months and more than 9000 miles, we say goodbye to the Fiat 500L

  • Our 500L's alloy is now as good as new, and the door's been fixed, too

    Our 500L's alloy is now as good as new, and the door's been fixed, too

  • Driver's door locking issue diagnosed by our local dealer. Great service, and parts now on order

    Driver's door locking issue diagnosed by our local dealer. Great service, and parts now on order

  • A huge wheelbarrow fitted into our 500L's 1310-litre load bay without much fuss

    A huge wheelbarrow fitted into our 500L's 1310-litre load bay without much fuss

  • Door locking problem previously identified has returned, so a trip to the dealer could be on the cards

    Door locking problem previously identified has returned, so a trip to the dealer could be on the cards

  • Built-in Lavazza coffee maker is a £200 option, but it's not officially available as a retro-fit

    Built-in Lavazza coffee maker is a £200 option, but it's not officially available as a retro-fit

  • Mel's driven the trendy 'Beats' edition of the 500L. But does she prefer it over the standard car?

    Mel's driven the trendy 'Beats' edition of the 500L. But does she prefer it over the standard car?

  • The 500L stood out in our car park for Paul Garlick - but not because he likes the looks

    The 500L stood out in our car park for Paul Garlick - but not because he likes the looks

  • Diamond-cut finish on alloy looks great, but kerb damage can't be repaired by a mobile technician

    Diamond-cut finish on alloy looks great, but kerb damage can't be repaired by a mobile technician

  • Mel's new phone is now recognised by the Fiat, meaning she can make the most of the Uconnect system

    Mel's new phone is now recognised by the Fiat, meaning she can make the most of the Uconnect system

  • The alloys have unfortunately suffered from some damage

    The alloys have unfortunately suffered from some damage

  • The 500L's stop-start system seemed to struggle in the colder weather

    The 500L's stop-start system seemed to struggle in the colder weather

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Fiat 500L 1.6 Multijet Pop Star

Read the full Fiat 500L review

Week ending April 28
Mileage 8919
Driven this week 29 miles

I finally grew tired enough of the 500L’s mysterious driver’s door locking issue to book the car in with my local dealer to get it sorted this week.

After a couple of hours and poking and prodding inside the door, the culprit was found to be a faulty door mechanism, which means the Fiat needs a couple of new internal door parts to put things right.

These parts are on order but should arrive early next week, which isn’t bad at all. The dealer in question, Fiat Parkside in West London, was friendly, efficient and helpful; I was pretty impressed with their customer service.

On another note, the 500L’s wheel, which was badly kerbed a couple of months ago, is also getting refurbed in a few days, so it will be good to get the Fiat back to full working order again soon.

By Melanie Falconer
Melanie.Falconer@whatcar.com


Read the full Fiat 500L review

Week ending April 21
Mileage 8890
Driven this week 11 miles

The 500L is definitely one of the roomiest mini-MPVs, with a maximum 1310 litres of boot space to play with; even so, I’m constantly surprised by how much you can fit in the 500L.

Not only have I squeezed in an almost two-metre long sun lounger recently, but the next item the Tardis-like Fiat has been able to swallow is a 120-litre Chillington wheelbarrow.

Now, that may seem like an easy feat, but wheelbarrows are bigger and more awkwardly shaped than you think - well, to get into the back of a car anyhow.

The wheelbarrow fitted with the rear seats folded and slid all the way forward, although the 500L’s high loading lip made it trickier than anticipated to lift the ‘barrow into the boot on my own.

By Melanie Falconer
Melanie.Falconer@whatcar.com



Read the full Fiat 500L review

Week ending April 14
Mileage 8879
Driven this week 7 miles

The 500L hasn’t put many miles under its wheels this week. However, the driver’s door locking problem I reported a couple of week ago is back, albeit intermittently.

The door doesn’t want to unlock around every third or fourth time of blipping the key fob’s central locking function.

When this happens, I can actually open the door but only by really tugging on the door handle, which seems to be sticking horribly.

So, maybe a trip to the dealers is on the cards again, as this definitely is becoming a pain.

By Melanie Falconer
Melanie.Falconer@whatcar.com


Read the full Fiat 500L review

Week ending April 4
Mileage 8872
Driven this week 10 miles

Until this week, the Fiat 500L had passed me by. No more. Now I understand why it warrants a three-star - average - rating.

In parts, the 500L is charming, albeit not on the level of the standard Fiat 500. Alongside its distinctive looks, the 500L has an airy cabin, bathed in light by both the tall windows and panoramic roof. The high-up seating position instills confidence, while the steering is always light, adding to a sense of breezy progress.

Meanwhile, the practical if uninspiring cabin offers enough space to make family life a doddle, so long as you're transporting youngsters rather than teenagers, and the interior materials, while basic, are at least robust. So far, so good.

The 1.6-litre diesel engine in our long-termer is always gruff, however, a flaw that frustrates even if it is capable of hauling the car along at decent pace. Meanwhile, the impression of being at the helm of a large, clattery vehicle is only enhanced by contact with a gearknob the size of a fist. These negatives serve to undermine many of the positives of the cabin ambience, while in almost every other respect it goes about its job without wowing or disappointing.

That's a real shame, because the 500L has many of the ingredients of a good car. As it is, though, it's an also-ran when pitched against price point competition as strong as the Nissan Qashqai.

By Jim Holder
Jim.Holder@whatcar.com

Our cars: Fiat 500L - March

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