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In-depth reviews

Fiat 500L review - Interior, design and technology

‘Marmite’ looks mean the 500L doesn’t share the universal appeal of Fiat’s 500 city car

Despite carrying the 500 name, the 500L doesn’t actually share all that much with its city car namesake. It’s in fact based on the underpinnings of the Punto supermini.

Whether wrapping this practical chassis in a Fiat 500-inspired body has resulted in an attractive-looking car or not is a matter for debate – the looks are certainly not to everyone’s taste. Still, details like the twin rounded headlights and single chrome bar grille leave you in no doubt of the 500’s role in inspiring this car’s design. And, like the hatch, there’s lots of scope to customise your 500L, with contrasting roof colours and coloured door mirrors.

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The range-topping model in the 500L range, the Trekking, has its ride-height increased by 10mm, and black plastic body cladding along the lines of the Dacia Sandero Stepway. Despite its rugged looks, don't expect to be going anywhere far off-road as the Trekking is only available as a front-wheel-drive car.

For those who are not enamoured of the 500L’s looks, the feel-good factor doesn’t improve much once you climb into the driver’s seat. With chunky buttons, a simple dash layout and a lofty seating position, the Fiat’s cabin focuses on practicality more than style, and aside from the seat design and the chunky steering wheel, there’s little to remind you of the stylish 500 city car.

Equipment levels are pretty good though, and the glass ‘Skydome’ roof that’s standard on Lounge models gives the interior a bright and spacious feel.

There’s not much in the way of exotic technology, but you can have an automatic emergency braking system as an option extra – or standard on top-of-the-range Trekking models.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

Connectivity is taken care of with a Bluetooth enabled stereo operated via a 5 inch touchscreen on all but the entry model Pop where Bluetooth isn’t even an option. On cars that are equipped, the Uconnect system allows you to link your phone to handle calls and read text messages, and you can also stream music from compatible devices.

Digital DAB radio and satnav are optional extras, as is a Dr Dre-branded Beats hi-fi system.

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