The latest addition to Fiat’s 500 family blends practicality, good looks and low running costs writes Hannah Gordon
What is it? Following on from the monumental success of the Fiat 500, Fiat have now jumped on the SUV bandwagon and used the cute 500 styling with a more user friendly twist.
Who is it aimed at? Anyone who loved the Fiat 500 styling but couldn’t stand the lack of space or uncomfortable seating position. The Fiat 500X gives you the best of both worlds with chic styling but enough space to fit your family and luggage inside.
What about the Styling? Familiar styling to its smaller sibling the 500X retains the rounded front lights, with the profile still trying to retain as much of the Fiat 500 as possible, just on a much larger scale. The 500X comes with two body styles, you can go for the city look or the Cross and Cross Plus which have a more rugged type stance. The all wheel drive versions are raised an extra 17mm off the ground.
Under the bonnet? There are a broad range of Fiat engines available, there is a 1.4 litre petrol and three diesels – a 1.3 litre, 1.6 litre and a 2.0 litre. The car tested had the 1.6 litre diesel which was pleasant enough and made progress well when needed, although the engine noise and harshness was a constant intrusion into the cabin. The Fiat 500X is available in two wheel and all wheel drive and has three transmission choices including a nine speed automatic, the six speed manual fitted to the test car proved smooth in transition.
What about inside? The Fiat 500X feels a lot more grown up inside compared to its smaller sibling the 500, luckily the seating position is now a more comfortable affair and the added perk of a higher seating position helps. Incorporated into the dash is a 6.5 inch touchscreen monitor with Bluetooth and DAB. There is plenty of room for five adults to sit in comfort and enough quirky features such as coloured plastic inserts to make the 500X not feel to grown up or boring. The boot space is compromised by the design of the sloping rear tailgate and that does mean a smaller area than its competitors.
On the road? The 500X isn’t too bad to drive at all, the compactness around bends means body roll is minimal but watch out when specifying your car as large wheels will give you a pretty uncomfortable ride over the notoriously crumbling UK roads. Fiat expect the 1.6 litre diesel to be the best seller, but if you like the quieter things in life then probably get the 1.4 litre petrol, there is less engine noise and more refinement.
And Safety? Although the 500X didn’t receive the full five stars in its Euro NCAP it still comes with front, side and window airbags. Electronic Stability Control and Hill Start Assist as standard, but what lets the 500X down is that all the other safety equipment is an optional extra and will set you back more money. The added safety features do come as a bundle called the Active Protection Option pack which makes it easier to purchase.
What are my options? If looks are more important than the ride then a set of 18” alloys will set you back £300, leather interior is an added £900 and an Electronic Sunroof is £950 extra. Weirdly enough in the extras for the 500X it lists a vehicle theft alarm that costs £200, I always thought they came as standard.
Will it break the bank? The most economical option is the front wheel drive 1.3 litre diesel emitting just 107 g/km of CO2. The choice of many will be the 1.6 diesel front wheel drive manual that manages a combined MPG of 68.9 and a CO2 output of 109 g/km. This puts yearly tax for the 1.6 litre diesel at just £20. Expect economy to take a dive should you opt for the all wheel drive and automatic transmission options.
So the Verdict? The cute and pocket size Fiat 500 package has had a serious bulk up and the result is the 500X, it looks great, is made well and will appeal to plenty of people. The styling is fun and attractive and with the added space it means more people can actually fit in a Fiat and travel in comfort. Engine choices should be either the 1.4 litre petrol or the 1.6 litre diesel and try and stay away from the nine-speed automatic. If you value your body then stay away from large optional wheels to save regular hospital visits and if you don’t need the rugged look then the City spec is perfect. Overall the 500X would make a great addition to a family who still want the retro looks but need the space.
Why you’ll buy one? Retro styling; Good build quality; Practical
Why you won’t? Once you add in the options it can be a little pricey.
Fiat 500X Lounge 1.6 Multijet 120hp
Engine: 1598cc 16v 4 cylinder Diesel
Max speed: 115 mph
0-60 mph: 10.5 seconds
Emissions: 109 g/km
Model price range: from £14,295
No of Doors: 5 doors
Euro NCAP : 4 star
Fuel type: Diesel
Fuel Economy (combined cycle): 68.9 mpg
Boot Capacity Seats up(down): 255 litres
Car Seats: 2 isofix in the rear.
Length: 4273 mm
Width: 1796 mm
Height: 1608 mm
Wheelbase: 2570 mm
18th July, 2016