Fiat’s 500X is a great example of how the jacked-up look can be made more attractive than ground-hugging hatches.
WHILE I’ll never understand the collective lure of the “crossover”, a style of car that’s slowly killing off the once mighty hatchback, Fiat’s 500X is a great example of how the jacked-up look can be made more attractive than ground-hugging hatches.
On the face of it, the 500X is just another iteration of the once-cool “retro” fad that gave rise to all manner of monstrosities that reminded us of cars we grew up with.
Its looks are based entirely on the cute Fiat 500 city car, which was, of course, based on the original 500 we all adored in the 1950s.
And much like the return of the Mini, its retro reintroduction spawned bigger versions, with this being the middle-ground supermini-based crossover that’s going head to head with Renault’s Captur and Kia’s Stonic.
But don’t let the chunky looks fool you. As with its afore-mentioned rivals, the 500X might sit higher off the ground than usual, but it’s no mud-plugger. There’s no four-wheel drive option and Fiat’s done away with diesel for this, the latest version.
There’s not a lot to differentiate it from its pre-facelift predecessor, but that’s fine because, to be honest, the first version of the 500X was a thoroughly agreeable car.
It drives well for a crossover, it’s priced keenly and it oozes style and individuality. Although I’m the least stylish person in the Midlands, I’ve always had a soft spot for it. I like cars that pull off an intended look without trying too hard.
While Fiat’s done little to alter the looks of the 500X, the changes under the skin are more significant.
There’s a new, vastly improved infotainment and connectivity system, which now includes CarPlay and Android Auto as standard and safety kit has been added, along with nicer materials inside.
Under the bonnet there’s been some big changes too. While there’s now no diesel option, there are two new petrol engines to choose from
There’s a three-cylinder 1.0-litre making a reasonable 120bhp and a four-cylinder, 1.33 litre, that serves up a very healthy 150bhp, with a dual-clutch automatic gearbox as standard.
The entry engine is a 1.2-litre with 110bhp and it’s likely to feel a bit under-powered in this car, but it’s the one to pick if you’re on a budget.
Fiat seems to be continually making a reasonable job of sorting out handling in their cars of late, and the 500X is not left out in this. It corners neatly and the steering feel is surprisingly good. The ride is a bit jittery at times, that said.
Space in the back is acceptable, if a bit short on headroom and the boot’s not bad. You’ll find some of its rivals a bit bigger, but that’s the pay-off for having a cute bodyshell.
You could climb into a 500X for a shade over £17,000 and that’s not bad, especially given the fact Fiat is famously generous with its standard kit.
Far from being outclassed, the 500X does a reasonable job of just about everything it sets out to. It’s not the best crossover in its class, but its strength is in its style. And if you’re a fan of how it looks, then there’s little else to dislike.