This test mule wears a ton of camouflage, but the updated vehicle doesn't look much better than the current one

Fiat continues to prep a refresh for the 500L, and the updated design appears to make the original rather awkward shape just a little easier to swallow. Don’t expect the five-door hatchback to transform from a frog into a prince after these upgrades, though.

In front, the updated 500L seems to take influence from last year’s revisions for the standard 500. The tweaks likely include a larger grille, revised headlights, and changes for the taillights. The new styling should keep the 500L fresh, but the adjustments aren’t extensive enough to fix the model’s gawky appearance from the three-quarters perspective. The oddly shaped greenhouse is the model’s biggest weakness, and the unwieldy design doesn’t have any alterations for this refresh.

Fiat 500L Spy Pics
Fiat 500L Spy Pics

These photos don’t give us a look inside the updated 500L, but similar revisions as the refreshed 500 seem likely. Expect infotainment system updates and improved materials in the cabin.

Fiat probably doesn’t have any major powertrain changes for the refreshed 500L. Expect a mix of small-displacement gasoline- and diesel-fueled mills to be available depending on the market.

The 500L sits in a difficult place in the Fiat lineup. The 500 offers buyers a tiny, retro-styled hatchback. The 500X applies the vintage style to a compact crossover.  The 500L essentially exists as a compromise in the middle, and that’s not an easy spot in today’s CUV-crazy automotive market.

At least in the United States and Canada, Fiat would likely welcome any boost in 500L’s dismal sales. Through February 2017, the brand has delivered 178 of them to American dealers – a 76 percent drop from the same period last year. In Canada, just 18 were sold in January. Even the 124 Spyder has outsold it so far this year with a volume of 542 roadsters (42 were sold in Canada in January). The 500L didn’t perform any better in 2016. The five-door hatch moved just 3,118 units in 12 months, versus 15,437 examples of the 500 and 11,712 deliveries of the 500X. In Canada, it sold 303 units in 2016. That's compared to 1,028 500s sold in the same time.

Photo Source: Automedia

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