Seat Time: 2016 Fiat 500X

April 27th, 2015 at 3:00pm

500X Exterior

Seat Time is a chance for us to share our impressions of vehicles being tested in the Autoline Garage and at media previews from around the globe.

Reviewer: Seamus McElroy
Manufacturer: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
Make: Fiat
Model: 500X
Type: Compact Crossover
Competitors: Nissan Juke, Kia Soul, Chevy Trax, Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3
Price: Starts: $20,900. Top: $28,000. As tested: $24,900
Made in: Melfi, Italy
Drivetrain: 1.4L four-cylinder w/ 6-speed manual. 2.4L four-cylinder w/ 9-speed automatic.
EPA Ratings: Not Available

Final Impression:
2016 Fiat 500X Trekking Plus
Fiat’s new compact crossover, the 500X, is entering one of the hottest segments and one that’s about to get even more competitive. The Chevy Trax just hit the market plus Honda and Mazda are set to introduce their own small CUV’s. The 500X is built in Italy alongside the Jeep Renegade which it shares a platform with. But it’s not just a rebadged Jeep, the styling is completely different and the Fiat doesn’t have the off-road capability that the Renegade does. But it’s still a bit surprising to see that the 500X has a starting price that’s $2,000 more than the Jeep. $18,000 vs. $20,000. Even though it will be sold in 100 countries, this is the first Fiat developed for the North American market.

The 500X is much larger than the regular 500 and has its own unique styling, but you’ll instantly recognize it as part of the family. Much like MINI does with its models. The nose, clamshell hood and air intake are reminiscent to the 500. But there are some cues that help set the X apart from the others in the 500 line-up. The headlights are more rounded and it has a higher ground clearance plus wheel arches. The interior has a simple layout which makes it easy to use infotainment and climate controls. There are 3 different screen sizes to choose, ranging from 3 to 6.5 inches. It doesn’t feel like you’re in a compact, you sit a bit higher than you normally would in a car that size. And there’s a decent amount of room for passengers in the rear, for your legs and head, but you wouldn’t want to sit back there for a long road trip.

Two powertrains are offered in the U.S. a 1.4L turbocharged inline four-cylinder that’s mated to a six-speed manual. And a 2.4L inline four-cylinder with a nine-speed automatic transmission. Plus it’s offered in both front and all-wheel-drive. The AWD is fully disconnecting, meaning the car is able to switch between front and rear drive when needed. The company expects around 40% of the models to be equipped with AWD. Fuel economy numbers aren’t available yet.

2016 Fiat 500X Lounge

I spent most of the time in the 2.4L with front drive. The engine is a bit buzzy but it doesn’t lack power and capably handled hills and turns. There’s also three driving modes to choose from depending on how you want to drive or what the road conditions are like. Auto mode is for most driving conditions. Traction mode can be used in snowy conditions or other less than ideal road conditions. And Sport mode, as you probably guessed, changes the dynamics for sportier driving. You instantly feel the steering tighten up when switching to this mode and it holds the gears a little longer than in Auto mode. It’s a nice feature but it didn’t really enhance my time behind the wheel.

As I stated in the beginning, the 500X is entering a competitive segment. So it’s probably a good thing that the company doesn’t expect big sales. Look for the 500X to start hitting dealers soon, the first shipments from Italy just got started.

One Comment to “Seat Time: 2016 Fiat 500X”

  1. Paul Says:

    The Fiat 500X is selling very well in Europe, here the statistics by Country and the worldwide sales FCA: