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First Drive

First Drive: Fiat 500X

The story:
Fiat has given its 500X crossover a mid-life revision, with the styling, technology and a more efficient engine line-up being the main points of attention.

Category:Compact crossover
Key rival:Vauxhall Crossland X
Fiat 500X City Cross 1.0 Firefly T3 120
On sale:Now

Fiat’s mid-cycle refresh of its 500X continues the brand’s theme of cutting right back on offering diesel engines, with the crossover getting new 120hp 1.0-litre and 150hp 1.3-litre petrol engines, but no diesel option.

New LED tail lights and daytime running lights mark out the new car, while the City Cross model also gets LED headlights that Fiat claims illuminate obstacles a full four seconds (or 100 metres) sooner than the regular halogen lights at 56mph.

First Drive-29th May 2019-Fiat 500X-Image 1The entry Urban model, only available with the 120hp 1.0, gets a different front and rear bumper design from the other models, with the Cross and Cross Plus being given new protective skid plates designed to imply a more adventurous lifestyle. There’s also a new S-Design trim at the top, which gets styling features including black alloy wheels, door handles and tailgate insert to distinguish it from the rest of the range.

The cabin has a new and improved instrument cluster with more readable graphics, as well as a new steering wheel and the introduction of safety kit including lane assist, intelligent speed assist and traffic sign assist on all models, although autonomous emergency braking is only optional. On the plus side, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone connectivity are standard, and run through the car’s seven-inch touchscreen.

First Drive-29th May 2019-Fiat 500X-Image 6The driving experience isn’t the Fiat 500X’s strongest suit. There’s nothing wrong with it as such, but the 120hp petrol engine doesn’t have the feeling of grunt that some of its better rivals, such as the Seat Arona, can manage, and refinement is also a little behind the best.

Still, the 139g/km emissions figure betters those of rivals such as the Mazda CX-3 and Mitsubishi ASX, even if they are all well behind the Vauxhall Crossland X’s 105g/km or the Arona’s 115g/km for similar levels of performance.

Interior and boot space are at least in line with the average for this sector, and the car’s competitive pricing offsets slightly weaker residuals than its main rivals.

The 500X successfully takes some of its city car 500 sibling’s style, although it’s not an entirely convincing transfer from Fiat’s most successful model. It’s a reasonable car, and the updates help it remain relevant, but there’s a lot of depth of competition, and be it for price, emissions, running costs, looks or driving experience there are cars that better stand out in this sector.




Paul Barker

The verdict

Useful range of updates including increased engine efficiency, but there is nothing to make the 500X sparkle against more established compact crossover rivals.