You get an urban confidence with the 500L, something encouraged by the light lock-to-lock steering. A car you might enjoy on the school run. If not quite so much pushing on beyond the city limits. Here, you might wish that the steering offered you a little more feedback, a pity because in other respects, this is one of the more dynamically able five-seat mini-MPVs on the market, with a range of willing, torquey engines. Well, most of them are willing and torquey anyway. You couldn't really say that of the entry-level petrol unit, a 95bhp petrol 1.4 that's one of Fiat's older efforts and which, thanks to limited pulling power, doesn't really feel as fast as the performance stats suggest (rest to 62mph in 12.8s on the way to 111mph).
Better then, if possible, to find the funds to stretch to one of the other engine options. There's a 120bhp 1.4-litre T-Jet petrol unit, but most customers will want one of the two Multijet diesels. There's a 95bhp 1.3-litre unit, which can also be ordered in semi-automatic 'Dualogic form. Or a 120bhp 1.6-litre powerplant. If you choose your 500L in 'Cross' form, you even get some mild off road ability, thanks to the inclusion of a 'Mode Selector' with a choice of 'Normal', 'Traction+' and 'Gravity Control' settings.