While the 500X might look like a steroid-enhanced version of the Fiat 500 city car, the two have far less in common than you might think.
The 500X’s platform is actually derived from the Jeep Renegade. And that is no bad thing - It makes the car one of the best to drive in Fiat's current line-up.
On the outside it benefits from the same classic Italian styling treatment that made the original 500 such a hit.
We tested the 500X Cross, which is the ‘off-road’ focused model. It has chunkier bumpers and a raised ride height. Standard specification is also higher than the City versions.
Having tested the Fiat Tipo for six months, earlier in 2017, we were impressed by the way the 500X drives. It has more direct steering and stiffer suspension, which makes it more engaging with a greater sense of stability.
On the motorway, the 500X is refined and quiet, a bonus in this sector where low-priced rivals struggle at higher speeds with wind and road noise.
Our test car came well equipped with sat-nav, climate control, heated front seats and steering wheel, automatic lights and wipers and keyless entry.
It was fitted with a 2.0-litre diesel engine, all-wheel drive and a nine-speed automatic gearbox.
Emissions for this derivative are high at 144g/km. Unless 4x4 is a priority, we recommend the manual front-wheel drive 1.6-litre unit. It makes 120PS with CO2 emissions of just 109g/km.
Running costs are closely aligned with a Nissan Juke 1.5DCi Tekna, although drivers (20% taxpayers) will pay around £40 per year extra in benefit-in-kind tax for the Fiat.
Passenger space is adequate for a family and the driver’s seat offers plenty of adjustment.
Boot capacity isn’t class leading, but 350 litres should be adequate for most users. Folding the seats creates a 1,000-litre load space.
There is an array of active and passive safety systems available as part of a safety pack (£1,000), including blind-spot monitor, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control and autonomous emergency braking.
The uConnect infotainment system is the biggest disappointment with the car. The screen is too small and it lacks the functionality and crisp graphics that most other manufacturers have managed to accomplish. A larger 6.5-inch display is fitted to range-topping models.
It is difficult to dislike the 500X, though. It is a great looking SUV with plenty of character. The interior is equally ‘chic’ and, depending on trim-level, there is plenty of equipment.
Driveability is less of a priority in this segment than styling, but the 500X delivers both with competitive prices and running costs.
Specifications shown for Fiat 500X Cross 1.6 JTDM