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In-depth reviews

Fiat 500L MPV (2013-2021) - Reliability & safety

Five-star Euro NCAP score and automatic braking system make the Fiat 500L a reasonably safe choice

Carbuyer Rating

2.5 out of 5

Owners Rating

3.9 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Reliability & safety Rating

2.0 out of 5

Fiat finished in a poor 26th place out of 29 brands covered in our Driver Power 2021 owner satisfaction survey, although too few owners responded for the 500L to be individually featured. When it comes to durability, it certainly feels better built than budget models such as the Dacia Sandero, but the plastic quality inside doesn’t inspire a huge amount of confidence. For that reason, we’re left with the feeling that the 500L won’t be anywhere near as durable as Volkswagen Golf over a three-year period.

Fiat 500L reliability

The Fiat 500L wasn't featured in recent Driver Power survey, but a 26th-place overall finish for Fiat is 11 places down from the 2019 survey. Owners seem to be happier  with the reliability of their cars than in previous years but Fiat cars on the whole were rated as stylish and well equipped, with impressive connectivity and electronics. However, the fact that rear seat space and very limited practicality were cited as particular weaknesses suggests that Fiat 500 owners made up the majority of respondents.

Safety

The 500L includes driver and passenger airbags, side airbags, anti-lock brakes, traction control and electronic stability control as standard. That all helped it achieve a five-star safety rating when it was crash-tested by Euro NCAP. Although the latest tests are even tougher, NCAP found that the Fiat’s passenger cell remained stable after a head-on shunt and protection for the driver and front passenger was judged to be good. Full marks were also awarded to the 500 for the protection it provided in the event of a side impact.

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Although it can’t be fitted to the basic model, the optional automatic braking is the easiest way to make your 500L safer and it comes as standard on the Cross model. It’s part of the Safety pack, and comes bundled with automatic light and windscreen wipers, plus an auto-dimming rear-view mirror. Other options include a third rear headrest, a heated windscreen and front foglights.

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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