Fiat 500X review
The Fiat 500X gets the retro looks of the 500 city car and grafts them on to a small crossover body
The Fiat 500X is one of the more style-focused offerings in the small SUV/crossover class. It does a good job of extending the iconic design cues of the 500 city car into this segment. Not everyone will fall for the cutesy looks, but those who do will find it a practical lifestyle accessory – even if Fiat no longer offers the more rugged 4x4 version.
With a chassis shared with the Jeep Renegade, the 500X’s dynamics and handling on the road are surprisingly sharp, while the latest petrol engines boost efficiency and performance. We’d go so far as to say the high-speed refinement is exemplary for a car in this class, making it a perfect small family car for the fashion-conscious buyer. That is unless they’re worried by the four-star crash safety rating from Euro NCAP.
With so many crossovers for sale in the UK, the Fiat 500X needs something special to help it stand out. And as its name suggests, that something is a retro look inspired by the evergreen Fiat 500 city car. But while the looks are similar, the 500X is a lot bigger, and it would suit somebody who likes the look of the 500, but needs a bit of added practicality.
Under the skin, the Fiat 500X shares running gear with the Jeep Renegade, while other rivals that offer similar space and upmarket appeal include the Mazda CX-3, MINI Countryman and Audi Q2. These cars are slightly larger than other rivals, such as the Peugeot 2008 and SEAT Arona.
A comprehensive range update in 2018 saw Fiat drop the 500X diesels completely. There's no 4x4 version any more due to low sales, either, so all cars are front-wheel drive. The line-up was tweaked so that the two different styles you could get for the 500X, City Look and Off-Road Look, were renamed Urban Look and Cross Look, and are now trim levels within the range. The line-up is completed by the racier 500X Sport.
As you might expect, there are subtle differences in the way Urban and Cross models look, with the latter getting chunkier bumpers, roof rails and extra body cladding to emphasise its faux-off-road appeal. The Urban Look models start at a slightly lower price, from around £18,500, with the Cross Look costing around £2,000 extra. In addition, the flagship Sport ramps up the kit and adds a more athletic look.
Petrol engines are fitted across the board, and the line-up features Fiat's new FireFly powerplants. In 2019, Fiat dropped the old 1.6 eTorq motor, and while that's no hardship in itself, it does mean the 500X's basic list price has risen by around £1,000.
Anyway, we'd always recommended skipping that most basic version as the newer 1.0 and 1.3 turbocharged FireFly engines are more powerful yet also more efficient. The 1.0 is a three-cylinder turbo with 118bhp and a six-speed manual gearbox, while the 1.3 is a 148bhp four-cylinder with a six-speed DCT auto. The 1.3 represents a price premium of around £2,200 over the 1.0-litre.
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe Fiat 500X gets the retro looks of the 500 city car and grafts them on to a small crossover body
- 2Engines, performance and driveThe 500X’s sharp handling is a surprise for a small crossover
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsAll cars offer a good balance of cost, performance and efficiency
- 4Interior, design and technologyClever design extends the iconic Fiat 500 brand into a new lifestyle sector
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe 500X is not the ultimate family hauler, but there aren’t too many compromises in the name of style
- 6Reliability and SafetyFiat’s reputation for reliability is not the greatest, and crash test results have disappointed too