At the end of 2015 Fiat expanded its 500 range with the introduction of a crossover called the 500X. Significantly bigger than the standard Fiat 500 it has more interior space, utilised through the convenience of rear doors.
The Fiat 500X was designed in conjunction with the new Jeep Renegade. Italian Fiat now controls Jeep after American company got into financial trouble during the GFC. There’s a nice combination of Italian style and American 4WD knowhow in this partnership. Fiat 500X as tested this week is an all-wheel-drive (AWD) Cross Plus, rather than a true 4WD in the manner of a Jeep.
Should you not need AWD the Fiat 500X also comes with 2WD, through the front wheels, at a lower cost.
Visually, the Fiat 500X is an expanded version of the 500 with a family resemblance to its baby brother at the front, in various details around the body, and in its funky interior. The latter has the pseudo metallic look that appeals to all Fiat lovers.
Cross Plus is easily identified by the protection bars front and rear, with further body mouldings around its wheelarches and on the sills.
Like its little brother the 500X is offered in a huge variety of colours and you can choose from a large range of accessories to permit personalisation. There are 12 body colours, 15 dress-up decals, nine choices of door mirror covers, five door-sill inserts, five alloy wheel designs, fabrics and leather can be part of the pack. Even the key fob can be ordered in five different designs.
Our test 500X was in glowing white with red door mirrors and stripes in the same bright hue on the lower areas of the doors, best of all is the red-and-white ‘‘500X’ decal stretching most of the way along the roof. You have to be tall to see this feature – but it looked brilliant when viewed beneath our balcony at home – particularly with a nice cappuccino in hand…
The range starts at $28,000 for the 500X Pop with front-wheel-drive and a six-speed manual gearbox and rises to $39,000 for the all-wheel-drive 500X Cross Plus with automatic transmission.
In between are the Pop Star (great name!) at $33,000 and the Lounge for $38,000. The 500X Pop can be specified with a six-speed dual-clutch auto for an added $2000, the automatic is standard in the Pop Star. The AWD models, the Lounge and Cross Plus, have a nine-speed automatic.
Equipment levels are high to justify the prices. Even the entry level 500X Pop has 16-inch alloy wheels, a 3.5-inch TFT instrument display, cruise control, paddle shifts on the automatic, Fiat’s Uconnect system with a 5.0-inch touchscreen, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and Bluetooth connectivity.
The 500X Pop Star gets has 17-inch alloys, automatic headlights and wipers, three driving modes (Auto, Sport, and Traction plus), keyless entry and start, and a reversing camera. The Uconnect system has a 6.5-inch touchscreen and GPS navigation.
Fiat 500X Lounge also receives 18-inch alloy wheels, a 3.5-inch colour TFT instrument cluster display, automatic-high-beam, a BeatsAudio Premium sound system with subwoofer and eight speakers, dual zone automatic air conditioning, interior ambient lighting and two-tone premium interior trim.
Cross Plus has steeper ramp angles, xenon headlights, and a different finish on the dashboard.
Power in all models is from a 1.4-litre turbo-petrol in 500X all models. It produces 103 kW and 230 Nm in the front-drive models and 125 kW and 250 Nm in the AWDs.
Fiat is very strong in the safety field and the 500X has more than 60 standard or available items that include a reversing camera, forward collision warning; LaneSense Warning; lane departure warning; blind-spot monitoring and rear cross path detection. The ESC system has integrated electronic roll mitigation Seven air bags are installed in all models.
Ride comfort is very good and it’s obvious a lot of work has gone into noise and vibration suppression. Indeed, the Fiat 500X is as quiet, or quieter as many SUVs from the next class up.
Interior space is good and four adults can be carried, though tall travellers may have to compromise on legroom at times. A family with three children will find it just right .
Handling isn’t exactly Italian sporty, but the 500X is neutral in the way it feels until you’re well above the cornering speeds likely to be attempted by the average owner. Outward visibility is very good thanks to the relatively upright greenhouse.
The new Fiat 500X offers Italian style, the ability to be personalised in thousands of different ways – yet is very practical. What more could you ask?
AT A GLANCE
500X Pop 1.4-litre turbo-petrol 2WD five-door wagon: $28,000 (manual), $30,000 (automatic)
500X Pop Star 1.4-litre turbo-petrol 2WD five-door wagon: $33,000 (automatic)
500X Lounge 1.4-litre turbo-petrol AWD five-door wagon: $38,000 (automatic)
500X Cross Plus 1.4-litre turbo-petrol AWD five-door wagon: $39,000 (automatic)
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Citroen dealer for driveaway prices.
SPECIFICATIONS (Fiat 500X Cross Plus 1.4-litre turbo-petrol AWD five-door wagon)
Capacity: 1.368 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 125 kW @ 5500 rpm
Maximum Torque: 250 Nm @ 2500 rpm
Fuel Type: Petrol 95ROM
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 6.7 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 157 g/km
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4248 mm
Wheelbase: 2570 mm
Width: 1796 mm
Height: 1612 mm
Turning Circle: 11.0 metres
Kerb Mass: 1405 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 48 litres
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Solid disc
Three years / 100,000 km