The 500L is a five-door, five passenger, front-engine, front-wheel drive, high-roof B-segment MPV manufactured in Kragujevac, Serbia by the Fiat subdivision of FCA — and marketed globally since its debut at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show.
Based on a variant of the GM Fiat Small Platform, the 500L uses Fiat's Multiair variable valve timing engine technology in a cab forward architecture: a packaging concept that prioritizes interior room. With a total passenger and cargo volume of 121.1 cubic feet, the 500L features high H-point seating, tall roof and greenhouse, split front (A) pillar with glass and polycarbonate rear (D) pillar — and a reconfigurable interior design marketed as Magic Cargo Space which includes a three-level rear cargo floor panel, fold-flat front passenger seat as well as for-aft sliding, fold and tumble, reclining rear seating. In 2013, Fiat began marketing a lengthened 7-seat variant, the 500L Living, in Europe.
The 500L derives its name from Fiat's widely known 500 models, including the original 1957 Fiat 500 and the current Fiat 500, introduced in 2007. Underscoring its increased length and overall size over other 500 variants, the suffix L denotes "large."
During its development, beginning in April 2010 when Fiat released its 2010-2014 product development plan, the 500L was internally designated the L0 or Ellezero, and was conceived as a replacement for the Fiat Idea and its rebadged variant, the Lancia Musa. Two variants were announced, five and seven passenger, the latter targeted at North America.
The 500L platform was based on Fiat's "Small" platform, first used with the Fiat Grande Punto, and further developed since its launch in 2005. With the 500L, the platform is both longer and wider, to accommodate the 500L's cab forward architecture. The concept prioritizes interior volume and reduction of the vehicles volume dedicated to mechanicals, moving the cockpit forward, toward the front of the car.
Designers of the 500L said its development was inspired by Villa Savoye, the modernist house designed in the 1930s by Le Corbusier, located in Poissy, France. Fabrizio Vacca, senior interior designer with Fiat's Centro Stile in Turin described a common "layered" theme to each, including a base, a windowed middle with expansive visibility and an available, very large, dual-pane panoramic sunroof. The 500L's sunroof is 10.8 sf, the largest in its class.
The designer cites the split A-pillar as a notable element contributing to the interior's open feel, visibility and sense of transparency.
Manufacture of the 500L began at Fiat’s Kragujevac plant in Serbia, previously the Zastava Automobiles factory, in June 2012. Originally scheduled for manufacture at the Italian Mirafiori plant in Turin, labor relations resulted in the manufacturing moving to the Kragujevac assembly plant. Approximately one percent of 500L production is sold in Serbia, with 90% exported from Serbia via the port of Bar, Montenegro.
In 2013, a ship carrying the first 3,000 Fiat 500L units for the North American market docked in the port of Baltimore (United States) to unload its first consignment, subsequently delivering the remainder of its cargo to the Canadian port of Halifax.
Fiat markets the 500L in various trim levels worldwide, beginning in 2014 in the US with four trim levels: Pop, Easy, Trekking, and Lounge — subsequently consolidated to three levels with model year 2017. Trim levels available globally include Sport in Canada in lieu of Easy — and Pop Star in Europe. Engine and transmission vary by country and model year. Available transmissions include a six-speed manual, dual-clutch transmission (DCT), and an Aisin six-speed traditional torque converter automatic.
The standard (entry) trim level, typically marketed as Pop, includes power windows and door locks, Uconnect 5.0 system with 5-inch touchscreen interface, handsfree calling, Bluetooth-streaming audio, voice-controllable radio; hill start assist; and a reconfigurable interior design marketed as Magic Cargo Space which includes a three-level rear cargo floor panel, fold-flat front passenger seat as well as for-aft sliding, fold and tumble, reclining rear seating. The standard trim level typically offers no option packages.
Upper trim levels (variously marketed as Easy, Sport, Pop Star or Lounge) include more standard features and numerous option packages, including wheels, navigation, leather trim, heated front seats, dual-pane panoramic sunroof or fixed sunroof (Europe), 6.5" Uconnect system, roof color options, fog lights, power outlets, Illuminated visor mirrors, and chrome trim.
Trekking models, first presented at the 2012 LA Auto Show, feature unique front and rear fascias, optional two-tone Nero/Marrone (black/brown) interior upholstery and distinct options packages.
To complement the regular length 500L, codenamed Fiat L0 (or Ellezero) (design code 330), in 2013 Fiat began marketing a lengthened seven-seat variant as the 500L Living (or MPW in Ireland and UK), developed under project code L1, Elleuno, or design code 334. The Living variant is not available in North America.
The 500L was the first production car with an optional in-vehicle espresso machine.
For most markets, the 500L is available in a range of petrol and diesel engines; the 2-cylinder 0.9 L Twin Air and the 4-cylinder 1.4 L petrol, and the 1.3 L and 1.6 L MultiJet II common rail diesel engines. In North America the 500L is only available with a 1.4 L turbo petrol engine, not available in Europe. A "Natural Power" methane powered version of the 0.9 L Twin Air is available in selected European markets.
All petrol models are equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission, with an automatic option only in North America. The 1.3 L diesel is available with 5-speed manual or a 5-speed semi-automatic transmission called "MTA Dualogic". The 1.6 diesel is only available with a 6-speed manual.
The 1.6 MultiJet II 120 PS (88 kW; 118 hp) and 1.4 T-Jet 120 PS (88 kW; 118 hp) engine versions for the 500L, 500L Trekking and 500L Living were unveiled in Frankfurt Motor Show 2013.
For 2014 three new engine options (1.6 MultiJet II (120PS) turbo diesel, 1.4 T-Jet (120PS) petrol, 1.4 Turbo LPG) were announced for all 500L derivatives. A 1.4 turbo LPG engine models of 2014 Fiat 500L would be available at later date.
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)
As part of Fiat 500L Trekking launch, a 500L Trekking commercial directed by the director Adam Stevens for the production company 'Filmmaster Productions' was premiered in 2013-06-30.
Fiat 500L and 500L were used in 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics by the Italian team.
Fiat Chrysler donated eight black 500Ls to serve as papal limousines during the 2015 visit of Pope Francis to the United States. The vehicles were later donated to organizations involved in the Pope's visit, including the Archdioceses of Washington, Philadelphia, and New York.
2013 SEMA concepts: Two special versions of the 500L were unveiled in 2013 SEMA Show with a "surf and turf" theme. The 500L Adventurer is a version of 5-seat Fiat 500L with bright white body colour, with Mopar roof rails and a roof basket, and many other accessories from the Mopar range. The 500L Thalassa is a based on the Fiat 500 Beach Cruiser from 2012, with bright orange body work and 18" orange wheels and other Mopar accessories.
2014 Fiat 500L Beats Edition: The Beats Edition was produced in association with artist and record producer Dr. Dre, Interscope Geffen A&M Records chairman and record producer Jimmy Iovine, with two-tone grey/black livery in matt or gloss finish and new interior trim. It went on sale in spring 2014 Italy, and subsequently in other markets.