Fiat 500X (2015 -) Driving & Performance

Review by Debbie Wood on
Last Updated: 23 Oct 2015
4
Trying to gain traction in the small car market requires not one model, but a whole family - which is why the new Fiat 500X has been added to the successful (and retro) 500 range of Fiat's superminis. This third distinct model in the 500 line, after 500C and 500L, boasts rugged looks and is set to take on the MINI Countryman and closely related Jeep Renegade at their own game.

4 out of 5

Performance

Fiat 500X performance is good both off-road and on road.

From launch there is a range of petrol and diesel powertrain options here in the UK, some coupled with the 4x4 versions and others available exclusively to front-wheel drive models.

Fiat 500X petrol engines

The two-wheel drive petrol range starts with a 108bhp 1.6-litre "E-torQ" engine mated to a five-speed manual gearbox, next in the line-up is a 138bhp 1.4-litre Turbo MultiAir II offered with either a new-generation six-speed manual gearbox or Fiat’s six-speed twin-clutch automatic.

This engine proved more than capable on the road, its 230Nm of pulling power helped propel the car forwards quickly creating plenty of confidence when overtaking. Running costs are pretty low too with a combined fuel consumption figure of 41.7mpg and CO2 emissions of 139g/km.

The 4x4 petrol model is exclusively powered by a 168bhp 1.4-litre Turbo MultiAir II engine mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission as standard. It will go on sale shortly after launch.

Fiat 500X diesel engines

The two-wheel drive diesel range consists of a 94bhp 1.3-litre MultiJet II turbo diesel equipped with a five-speed manual gearbox and a 118bhp 1.6-litre MultiJet II turbo diesel mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. If you need the 4x4 option the choice is limited to the 138bhp 2.0-litre MultiJet II turbo which will be available with a six-speed manual or nine-speed automatic transmission.

Those wanting to keep CO2 emissions low should opt for the 1.6-litre powertrain as it offers the best of the bunch with 109g/km of CO2 emissions. Fuel economy is 68.9mpg and there is 320Nm of torque available, enabling the car to sprint from 0-62mph in 10.5 seconds.

The 2.0-litre mirrors the performance from the petrol option with an improved official combined fuel economy figure of 51.4mpg and with slightly higher CO2 emissions of 144g/km.

Meanwhile the nine-speed automatic gearbox is a particular highlight thanks to slick and seamless gear changes.

4 out of 5

Handling

On the road the Fiat 500X impresses, the steering is precise and well-weighted creating an overall fun experience when behind the wheel.

The car is pretty well-balanced too and produces little body roll in the corners; it feels just right, a car fit for Goldilocks if you will. Its smooth and comfortable ride feels at home on the motorway while also proving nimble and agile enough for driving down country lanes plus in-town manoeuvres - thanks in part to the car’s compact dimensions.

Pop Star and Lounge trims offer a drive selection system as standard which adjusts the brakes, steering and engine set-up depending on the mode selected. There are three to choose from, Auto (for the best in terms of comfort, consumption and CO2 emissions), Sport (for a drive that favours performance, and one we found particularly good) and All Weather (for improved grip in difficult conditions).

On 4X4 versions All Weather mode is replaced by the “Traction” function, which speeds up the transmission of torque to the rear axle making the car more capable off-road.

Designed mainly for on-road use rather than off, the 500X is still very capable off-road and easily handled some tricky terrain and conditions while on test.

Ground clearance for 4X4 versions is increased to 179mm, from the 162mm height of two-wheel drive models, while the bumpers are redesigned with protective skid plates to protect the bodywork.