Fiat 500L Trekking: Quirky and perky but not necessarily an acquired taste
When Fiat returned to the U.S. a few years back, they came first with the classic Cinquecento two-door that had a solid following of admirers in love with its unique – many say quirky – Italian panache that was fun to drive and to be seen in.
A couple years later, Fiat sent us their first version of a four-door Cinquecento – the 500L – expecting it to resonate similarly. It did not.
For 2018, Fiat has updated the 500L – enhancing the styling while retaining design cues from the classic Cinquecento plus adding performance and current technology to expand its appeal.
Some say that the Fiat 500L is an acquired taste. Our take is that the 2018 Fiat 500L presents good value and is worth consideration by those looking for a unique vehicle – offering more room than many others in the crowded small CUV segment.
2018 Fiat 500L
The 2018 Fiat 500L comes in three trim levels Pop (MSRP $20,995), Trekking (MSRP $23,070) and Lounge (MSRP $23,895). You could call them basic, sporty and luxury. They all seat five comfortably with headroom and legroom – front and rear – notably better than many competing vehicles. We noted also the generously sized doors front and rear that made jumping in and hopping out a snap for both large and small folks.
Also notable is the very large, high lift rear cargo door that reveals a 22.4 cubic foot cargo space with an adjustable cargo shelf for added functionality. With the second row of seats folded down, the available cargo space increases to 68.0 cubic feet.
At first glance, one sees the placement of front corner windows at the A-pillar and rear corner windows at the D-pillar in the rear as being a potentially a visibility problem. Not so, in fact they give a very adequate 360-degree view around the vehicle plus let in abundant light. In fact, so much light, one might skip the optional panoramic sunroof option.
All are front-wheel drive (FWD) and powered by a 1.4L MultiAir I-4 Turbocharged engine mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The powertrain produces 160 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque and deliver fuel economy rated at 22/30 mpg city/highway and 25 mpg combined.
2018 Fiat 500L Trekking
The 500L Trekking is the ‘sporty’ of the bunch. For 2018, Trekking features distinctive front and rear fascia styling, flared wheel arches and unique 17-inch wheels.
Recently, Fiat sent us a 2018 Fiat 500L Trekking for a look. Ours came in a bold Arancia Pastello (Pastel Orange) topped with a Nero (Black) roof. The Carrera Gray interior featured heated Leather-Trimmed bucket seats, ambient LED lighting and a textured painted instrument panel.
Trekking runs on 17-inch machined aluminum wheels. Suspension is MacPherson with coil springs, twin-tube struts and stabilizer bar at the front and twist beam axle with coil springs and twin tube shock absorbers rear – both with Koni FSD technology. We found the ride, handling and braking to be very adequate for the vehicle size.
The exterior includes lower sill and wheel arch accent moldings in black, body-color side moldings with Satin Insert, body-color fascia with Satin Silver accents, Bifunctional Halogen Projector Headlamps, high beam daytime running lights and fog lamps.
Other features include Electronic Stability Control, Electronic Roll Mitigation, Hill-Start Assist, ParkView Rear Back-up Camera, Remote Keyless Entry, Tire Pressure Monitoring, Variable Intermittent Front Windshield Wipers, Rear Window Defroster and Rear Window Wiper/Washer.
Technology in our Trekking included Uconnect 4 NAV with 7-inch touchscreen display, Bluetooth Voice Command and Streaming Audio, GPS Navigation, available Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, SiriusXM Satellite Radio with XM Traffic and USB charging ports.
The Beats Premium Audio system features six premium speakers, an eight-inch subwoofer (in the cargo bay), eight-channel amplifier with BeatsAudio digital sound processing.
Options and Packages
A Convenience Group package ($795) added Dual Zone Automatic Temperature Control, Auto-Dimming Rear-View Mirror, Power 2-way Driver Lumbar Adjust, Manual 2-way Passenger Lumbar Adjust and ParkSense Rear Park Assist System.
As noted, the Fiat 500L Trekking two-color exterior was topped with the ‘Nero’ (Black) finish roof and exterior mirrors ($345).
Delivered, our test 2018 Fiat 500L Trekking priced at $25,460.
A Dual Pane Power Panoramic Sunroof is available ($1,395). We would pass on that one here in Texas due to the amount of heat it would allow inside – especially now that we are in the ‘triple-digit temperature’ season.
Fiat 500X: a 500L Trekking with a bit more
If you are a Fiat person wanting five passenger room, good cargo capacity, nice amenities and a good ride, the 500LTrekking is a nice choice.
But, if you want a bit more punch with a touch bigger footprint, you will want to take a look at the Fiat 500X Trekking.
Available in both FWD and AWD, both versions are powered by the 2.5L MultiAir I-4 Turbocharged engine generating 180 horsepower with 175 lb.-ft. of torque and mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission. For that bigger footprint, 18-inch wheels and tires are available.
- FWD MSRP $23,080
- AWD MSRP $25,585
- 18-inch Wheels $495