Fiat 500X vs 500L vs 500: Italian Family Comparison

Fiat 500X vs 500L vs 500 comparison 8 photos
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Fiat 500X vs 500 vs 500L comparisonFiat 500X vs 500 vs 500L comparison: interiorFiat 500X vs 500 vs 500L comparison: side viewFiat 500X vs 500 vs 500L comparison: rear three quarterFiat 500C vs 500 Abarth vs 500C Abarth vs 500eFiat 500L Trekking vs 500L LivingFiat 500X versions
Imagine a perfect world where every automotive producer only builds the cars that define it. In such an universe, Fiat would definitely stick to the 500. Come to think of if, now that the Paris Motor Show has brought us the 500X, there are enough versions of the little car to fulfill such a dream. Grab a pillow and let’s go through the 500 family together.
For now, the sub-brand includes the 500 that (re)started it all, the 500L compact people mover and the 500X crossover. Each of the tree is offered in a variety of flavors. We’ll start with the 500X, which has two versions, a stylish and a rugged one. By the way, the differences between these two are only cosmetic and you can check these out in the gallery below.

When it comes to the 500L, the standard incarnation is accompanied by the 500L Living, a seven-seater that’s slightly longer and by the 500L Trekking. The latter offers a tougher look, but remains front-wheel driven, so those seeking actual off-the-road stuff should go to the 500X.

As for the 500, this comes in such a wide variety of versions that it would take us hours to cover them all. The most important are the 500C open-top, the 500e EV, as well as the Abarth pocket rockets. The Abarths have their own bouquet of versions, forming one crazy little sub-family. Heck, we even get racecars that pay tribute to the brand’s history.

Shape and size

While we’ve thankfully passed the era that saw the original Cinquecento (500) motorize Italy after WWII, the sales war is incredibly fierce nowadays, so styling is a key element. This is where the 500 obviously wins the battle with its siblings, even though some may prefer the new X model thanks to its more masculine approach. While the 500L is no Multipla oddball in terms of design, its MPV configuration means it falls behind its cousins as far as the eye is concerned.

Under the skin, the 500L and the 500X share their SCCS platform, which was co-developed with Opel - you’ll find it under the Adam, for instance. The 500 is built on the Fiat Mini platform, which also serves the Panda and is a development of an architecture designed in the late 90s.

While the Fiat 500 stays true to its miniature status, measuring about 3.55 meters (140 inches) in length, the 500L sits at 4.1 meters (163 inches), while the 500X is 4.25 meters (167 inches) long. For the record, the cargo capacity of the 500X is almost double compared to that of its little sibling.

The trick with the original 500 was the intelligent packaging and you can also find this with the new models. We’ve only spent few brief moments inside the 500X at the Paris Motor Show, so we have to wait for a more intimate encounter. Still, we can be sure about the 500 and the 500L. Both are incredibly spacious for their size.

As far as the cabin design is concerned, the retro approach of the 500 means the car doesn’t quite show its age (it was launched back in 2007). While the 500L’s dashboard unfortunately shies away from the old school details, the designers returned to this approach with the 500X.

Engine and gearbox details

Since the 500 tips the scales at under one ton, while the 500L weighs in at over 1.3 tons (we’ll have to wait for the full specs of the 500X), you can imagine the engine range is a bit different for each one. We’ll list the best choice for each of the cars, with this obviously depending on the market.


Leaving aside the Abarth madness, which goes up to 190 horses, the European 500 offers a rich variety of engines. It’s best to go for the simple, naturally-aspirated 1.4-liter petrol. The 100 hp mill can be work with either a five or a six-speed manual. Stay away from the six-speed “automatic” as this is actually a robotized manual that brings jerky shifts.

There’s also a diesel alternative, which comes in the form of a 1.3-liter Multijet unit. Opt for the entry-level 75 hp version, which is paired with the only gearbox available, a five-speed manual.

In the US, the engine range is limited to two units. We recommend the 101 hp 1.4-liter MultiAir turbocharged entry unit. If you’re looking for a two-pedal drive, you can skip the five-speed manual in favor of the six-speed automatic, as this is a torque converter unit. Interestingly enough, the other option is the 500 Sport, which matches the European Abarth model’s 135 hp rating.

500 L

In Europe, the 500L is best had with the 120 hp turbocharged 1.4-liter petrol. The unit is only offered with a six-speed manual. With the Living being a family hauler, you can go for the 105 hp 1.6 Multijet diesel, which also comes with a six-speed manual. As for the 500L Trekking, you should order this in the same configuration recommended for the standard 500L.

Americans only get the 500L with an 160 hp turbocharged 1.4-liter engine, which you can have with either a manual or a twin-clutch gearbox, both offering six ratios.

The 500L Living isn’t offered in the US, but the Trekking is, borrowing the powertrains of the standard 500L.

Mind you, many users have complained about the reliability of the 500L, so perhaps you might want to give the situation a deep thought before you make a buying decision.


Being the newest of the lot, the 500X has the most advanced powerplants, with the petrol versions ranging between 110 and 184 hp, while the diesels go from 95 to 140 hp. It’s too early to tell which unit fits the car best, but we have to mention we’re eager to test the optional nine-speed automatic.

Despite sharing its platform with the Jeep Renegade, the Fiat 500X will make it Stateside - you’ll be able to get yours in the second half of next year.

There’s another 500 coming

In case you thought Fiat was done with the 500, you were wrong. There’s a five-door version of the normal 500 coming. This will replace the carmaker’s current compact offering, while also keeping the battle with the MINI alive - we’ll remind you Paris brought us two extra doors for the British icon.

Regardless of the flavor you go for, the Fiat 500 doesn’t miss out on the Italian charm story. For instance, the larger versions look considerably better in person. As for the little car, don’t spend the day with a modern Cinquecento unless you’re financially ready for it. This Fiat knows how to get under your skin and you might just end up putting some pressure on your bank account.
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About the author: Andrei Tutu
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In his quest to bring you the most impressive automotive creations, Andrei relies on learning as a superpower. There's quite a bit of room in the garage that is this aficionado's heart, so factory-condition classics and widebody contraptions with turbos poking through the hood can peacefully coexist.
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