Fiat 500x 2019 Review
The charming 500 is the car which saved Fiat. It
cleverly tapped into the delight of the original 1957 model but in a pleasing,
modern package. Yet in making a desirable small car, Fiat created a new problem
for itself: how to retain customers when they wanted to move on to something
bigger. Style-conscious 500 owners were unlikely to turn to the less
charismatic 500L so Fiat simply made a bigger 500, the 500X.
The 500X isn’t just a pumped-up 500 of course;
in fact it shares its platform with the Jeep Renogade. And earlier models were
offered with all-wheel-drive but the latest range is front-wheel-drive only, a
shame as this differentiated it from many of its rivals.
And rivals are a key part of the consideration
here; when the 500X arrived, there weren’t many other models in this sector.
Now, there are countless to steal sales from Fiat. So with a gentle mid-life
refresh and a fashionable one-litre petrol added to the range, does it have
enough to pull buyers away from the likes of Hyundai’s Kona, Kia’s Stonic and
Over the last 12 months, the 500X has received
visual updates, new engines and new trim levels. It starts of course with a
gentle face-lift at each end, infotainment system improvements and a stack of
detail changes beneath the skin.
Importantly, the 500X is now propelled by the
next-generation three and four-cylinder turbo petrol engines, claiming better
fuel-efficiency than their predecessors.
The cabin remains a cheery place with retro body-coloured
facia inserts and bold dials. It feels spacious enough and there is plenty of
Like the smaller 500, its seats are almost
chair-like, giving a feeling of sitting on
rather than in them. The seat backs are also
fairly flat and without adjustment, so offering little in the way of lumbar
support. Steering is adjustable for rake and reach, although doesn’t drop as
far as some may wish.
Trims and engines
To simplify its models, the 500X has been split
into three families: Urban Look, Cross Look and recently-added Sport (with
ascending prices). Beneath these, there are additional trim names: within Urban
Look, there’s the Urban and 120th special edition; Cross Look covers City
Cross, Cross Plus and S-Design; Sport is a single trim level.
Just two petrol engines are on offer: the
1.0-litre 120hp with manual gearbox or 1.3-litre 150hp automatic.
Standard equipment is good with all cars now
including LED daytime running lights, LED headlights and rear lights. Traffic
Sign Recognition, Speed Advisor and Lane Assist driving assist systems are
standard on all versions. Also standard fit is the neater 7-inch touchscreen
with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. One omission from the standard kit is
emergency city brake.
The latest addition, Sport, is lowered by 13mm
and has received tweaks to the steering calibration. It also includes 19-inch
alloy wheels, body coloured side skirts and exclusive Sport Red pastel paint.
The newly-offered one-litre is a good fit for
the 500X. It is smooth, reasonably quiet and more than adequate to propel the
car comfortably up to motorway speeds. Ride is pliant at lower speeds but
becomes a little unsettled as speeds increase, especially if the road isn’t
The lack of a hill-hold-assist feature does
makes stop-start traffic on an incline rather tedious. And the now standard
traffic sign recognition can be useful but isn’t linked to GPS and mapping so
doesn’t always show correct speeds.
So the 500X certainly has improved but is feeling
its age when compared to the more contemporary competition. That said, it is
practical to live with and does have plenty of equipment. And while 4x4 was a
good selling point for the 500X, most buyers won’t miss it.
About the Author
Andrew is a freelance motoring journalist with a background in IT and the vehicle leasing industry. With a lifetime’s passion for all things automotive, he can be found behind the wheel of everything from vans to supercars. In addition to reviewing the latest vehicles and technology, Andrew also runs a couple of classic British motors. He lives at the edge of the Peak District with his son and cat.
Andrew Wright @theMotorWriter
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