The sub-compact crossover segment is one of the hottest in the auto industry, but even pint-sized all-roaders can come with shocking stickers. That, or they’re so basic you would have to upgrade to shop at Wal-Mart. Some start under $20,000, but it’s not uncommon to find them near $30,000. In the spiffy middle are models that are both affordable and fashion-forward – cars like the Fiat 500X.
Worthy of swoon
If you swoon over the micro 500’s cute Euro looks, you’re going to lose it beside the 500X too. Right up front is Fiat’s famous whiskers grille accent, flanked by big bug-eye headlamps with fog lights beneath. The body was stretched and flexed to accommodate four doors, but the little car’s arching roof and cute rump are very much on display. Our Pop edition looks urban ready, so fly over beefy 17-inch alloys.
Interiors are simple, but do not appear cheap. Our car came with cloth seats, but they felt like canvas and were supportive. Check details like the body color dashboard, wrapped steering wheel, and faux carbon fiber on the console and doors. It’s all so much more upscale than you would expect. Climate control is manually adjusted with big knobs, but the crossover comes with Bluetooth, thumpin’ 6-speaker audio system, back up camera, reconfigurable center instrument display, and parking sensors.
Pop the cute hood to reveal a 2.4-liter “Multiair” four-cylinder engine that delivers 180 horsepower and 175 lb.-ft. of torque – all connected to the all-wheel-drive system through a 9-speed automatic transmission. Hill start assist holds your position while you lift from brake to throttle. That’s nice, but you may wish for better fuel economy than 21/29-MPG city/hwy. You definitely won’t race Fiat’s little 124 Spider, but the 500X is able to scoot off smartly and comport itself well no matter the road.
Romp and rumble
What you notice romping through the rollies is a very heavy, safe feeling that’s quite European and not what you would expect from a pint-size crossover. Even over rough pavement, it just rumbled across without shaking, squeaking, or creaking. Firm steering and suspension calibrations feel wholly appropriate. Adjust the powertrain for sport, comfort, and snow/rain. Rear passengers will feel a little squeezed, but the cargo area is deep and expandable by putting down the flip/fold rear seats.
But, how does the 500X stand up against competitors? You should compare it to cars like the Honda CR-V, Subaru Crosstrek, Toyota C-HR, Nissan Rogue Sport, Chevy Trax, Buick Encore, and Jeep Renegade. To stand out against that crowd, Fiat had to do something different. And, it did; it build the Fiat 500 of crossovers. It’s cute, yet sophisticated. Affordable, but not cheap. And, stylish, but not Avant-garde. Power is right on target, even if MPGs are a bit stingy.
So, what does all of this affordable and stylish Fiat crossover going to cost? You can buy a 500X for just $19,995, but our mid-range Pop edition came to $25,780. All in, most would say that’s a pretty good deal.
2017 Fiat 500X Pop
- Five-passenger, AWD Crossover
- Powertrain: 180hp 2.4-liter 4-cyl, 6-speed manual trans
- Suspension f/r: Ind/Ind
- Wheels f/r: 17”/17” alloy
- Brakes f/r: disc/disc
- Must-have features: Style, Value
- Fuel economy: 21/29 mpg city/hwy
- Assembly: Melfi, Italy
- Base/as-tested price: $19,995/25,780