Where the 500L excels is in styling, both inside and out. The spunky exterior looks much better than the squared-off, form-follows-function utilitarian boxes that have been popularized in recent years, and its two-tone interior is as handsome as anything on the market.
I also like the unique way Fiat treats the glass layout on this car. It's almost like it has two small A pillars up front and glass that nearly wraps all the way around the back of the car, giving great visibility in all directions and lots of light streaming into the cabin. Fiat calls it a loft-like design.
Pricing starts around $19,000, which might be the best thing of all about this car. It seems like a nice fit for young families who need a practical car but also want good Italian looks and a European driving feel — a rare mixture in this price class.
Derek Price is an independent automotive columnist. Reach him at email@example.com.