Fiat 500X 1.6 Multijet 120 Lounge
Chunky looks hint at the 500X's rugged personality
- Good ride quality and general driving manners
- Stylish interior environment balances practicality and fun
- Spacious cabin is good for small families
- Engines offer decent blend of performance and economy
- Don't expect bargain-basement asking prices
- Diesels can sound gruff when pushed hard
- Trick nine-speed auto gearbox reserved for 4x4 variants
- Navigation system is sometimes slow to respond
If you think that Fiat's popular 500 range is expanding in more than just numbers, you'd be right. This 500X variant is the predictable move into compact SUV territory.
From the modest origins of the original - current generation, at least - 500, Fiat's range of small cars with a trendy twist has expanded to include ragtops, people carriers and hyper-sports cars. This 500X completes the list, for now, with an all-important faux 4x4 variant.
Only that it doesn't just look the part but is perfectly capable of taking on less than smooth roads. It can, unsurprisingly, also be had in front-drive guise, but don't dismiss the 500X's abilities on the basis of its cartoon-like 4x4 looks.
Still, what's likely to important for most buyers is that the 500X at least looks the part even if it never sees a muddy trail in its life. For that reason, the car's front-drive transmission is easily up to the task of taking on the urban jungle, thanks in part to well-sorted engines and a decent manual gearbox.
Also key the 500X's appeal is Fiat's generosity with the equipment levels. Both comfort and safety kit isn't in short supply, right down to the number of airbags, fancy electronic stability kit and fully featured infotainment options.
Our verdict on the Fiat 500X 1.6 Multijet 120 Lounge
Looks can be deceiving, and while it's fashionable in some quarters to bash compact, urban-centric 4x4s like the 500X, you'd be advised to step back and think. Fiat's take on the urban off-roader is a fully featured and competent one if you need the extra grip. And if you don't, the car is a pleasant, capable and refined high-rise urban hatchback.
Fiat is unapologetic about the fact the 500X is priced at the upper end of its market sector. The reasoning is that this compact SUV, like so many others, is a lifestyle purchase complete with all the trimmings and not some bargain basement hatchback. So, while the 500X might appear pricier than other small Fiats it does boast frugal engine choices and high levels of standard kit.
Space and practicality
There's ample room in the 500X's cabin for most people, although children will gain the most from sitting in the back. The wide cabin ensures elbows won't clash, which should be good news for the driver, while headroom is good all-round. At the back the car's boot lip is high, making loading straightforward, aided by the folding rear seats.
Controls and display
Lifting design themes and practical applications from the 500 and 500l, the 500X's cabin and controls offer users a largely clear and intuitive living environment. The car's touchscreen infotainment screen can be a little slow at times, but the rest of the experience is a positive one.
The 500X's cabin is well noise-insulated, but there's sometimes a whistling around the door mirrors at higher speeds. Occupant comfort is also taken care of, with the seats being some of the best in this sector, proving to be supportive without being overly firm.
Don't expect anything unusual here, as the 500X offers the usual array of deadlocks, immobilisers and remote central locking. There's a sturdy-looking load shelf shielding belongings in the prying eyes, too.
There are no complaints here, as just like its 500 stablemates the 500X comes with a raft of airbags, traction aids and the option of numerous active systems to help keep you safe. Naturally, opting for a 4x4 variant should help boost physical grip when conditions underfoot are less than perfect.
Despite the 500X's lofty stance, the driving experience is very car-like - even when cornering. Ride comfort is also impressive, although keen drivers will likely bemoan the steering's lack of feel and feedback. Engine choice depends on usage, with petrol proving a refined yet sprightly experience. The diesel experience will appeal to longer distance drivers, thanks to the perceived extra pulling power.
Family car appeal
Significantly larger than the regular 500 and, although different in concept to the 500L people carrier, this 500X is practical and versatile alternative to a regular family hatchback. There's ample cabin space for a growing family and the car's rugged appearance gives it plenty of 'lifestyle' points if you're an active, outdoors type.
First car appeal
Although the 500X is clearly targeted at the sort of buyer who is upgrading from a 500 city car, there's no reason why a novice couldn't just move straight into this SUV instead. The lofty driving position and easy of use make it as pleasant and enjoyable car to drive.
Quality and image
Fiat has made considerable improvements in recent years and company bosses believe the 500X is the firm's best work to date. Cabin trim quality is impressive, as is the car's overall fit and finish. Looks-wise, the car joins the 500L in being a polarising design, although this 4x4 is likely to prove more popular aesthetically.
The 500X's tall, flat roofline means that entry and exit is as easy as any other car of this size or better. Rear access is okay but don't expect limo-like ease of access and egress if you're tall. The boot lid is wide and offers a very practical aperture, but is initially heavy for the first moment that you pull it.
Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)
All attention to focused on the car's main display, which does a good job of delivering all the information you need clearly. The navigation function can suffer from some frustrating lag at times, but the rest of the experience is a positive one.
Colours and trim
With a number of unusual and attractive body colours available, it's easy to make a statement with the 500X. The interior trim looks much better than in many other Fiats, which helps justify the car's price tag.
With its lofty driving position and lots of glass, visibility is good in all directions. Parking sensors help, but the car's light steering and easy to place extremities are the real winners here.
Tyre mobility kit supplied as standard.
Petrol engine options - 1.4-litre (140bhp). Diesel engine options - 1.6-litre (120bhp); 2.0-litre (140bhp). Transmission options: six-speed manual gearbox plus nine-speed auto gearbox for all-wheel drive variants. Trim levels: Pop, Pop Star, Lounge, Cross, Cross Plus.
Peugeot 2008 Fabulous looks, impressive practical touches and a good range of engines
Skoda Yeti More polished than the 500X but a highly acclaimed all-rounder
Renault Captur Bold two-tone styling hides Renault at its best. Two-wheel drive only
Vauxhall Mokka Smart-looking, straightforward and undemanding to live with