The 2018 Fiat 500L has a tall roof providing an astounding amount of headroom and excellent visibility. (Manufacturer photo)

The 2018 Fiat 500L has a tall roof providing an astounding amount of headroom and excellent visibility. (Manufacturer photo)

Attractive pricing, new features call attention to Fiat 500L

All versions of the four-door hatchback now have the Uconnect system as standard equipment.

The Fiat 500L, an enlarged version of the tiny and eccentric Fiat 500 two-door, is an endearingly styled four-door hatchback with attractive pricing and fuel economy ratings.

For 2018, Fiat has mildly revised the 500L’s exterior and interior, made the Uconnect infotainment system and a rear backup camera standard features on all models, and introduced three new exterior paint colors.

Exterior updates include new wheels, new front and rear fascia design, and new bodyside molding design.

The updated interior has a new steering wheel, a revised center console with relocated cupholders for better convenience, a new gear shifter and parking brake handle, and an additional USB port. The Uconnect system has a 7-inch display and supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

New paint colors are Blu Denim, Arancio Pastello and Bronzo Metallizzato. In English instead of Italian, the last two would be Pastel Orange and Metallic Bronze.

There are three trim levels of the 2018 Fiat 500L, namely Pop, Trekking and Lounge. Base pricing, including $1,245 for the destination charge, starts at $22,240.

My tester was the Trekking model, sporting the great new Blu Denim color but with an optional ($345) white roof and white exterior mirrors. Appearance-wise the white roof and mirrors are an enhancement because Blu Denim is distinct, and as with many distinct things in aesthetics, less is more.

All versions of the 2018 Fiat 500L have a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. Horsepower is 160, torque is 184 pound-feet, and the fuel economy rating is 22 mpg city, 30 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined. Fiat says 87 octane fuel is acceptable but recommends 91 octane.

Fiat 500L’s acceleration won’t pin anyone’s head to the headrest, but it’s adequate for a car in this segment. Responsive steering, a surprisingly civilized ride and a quiet cabin with an astounding amount of headroom and excellent visibility provide compensation for the lack of performance excitement.

Rear seat legroom is generous, and in addition to the expected versatility of folding, the seats also slide and recline.

Notable standard features on my tester include 17-inch wheels, a Beats premium audio system, heated front seats, a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, panoramic sunroof, power heated outside mirrors, front fog lights, and the previously mentioned Uconnect system, which includes SiriusXM satellite radio.

The Trekking model’s 17-inch wheels are accompanied by flared wheel arches, giving the Trekking trim a bit of an off-roady look.

2018 FIAT 500L TREKKING

Base price, including destination charge: $24,570

Price as driven: $25,710

Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.

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