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MotorBar - New Car Reviews
Fiat 500X 1.4 MultiAir 140hp Auto Pop Star

Click to view picture gallery“If you drive you’d be hard pushed
  not to have noticed the huge growth
  in SUVs and Crossovers on the
  road. And with so many varieties now
  on offer it
s easy to overlook some
  that have been with us for a while

  such as the 500X from Fiat...”


A COMPACT SUV first launched in the UK in 2015, with five doors and the choice of 2WD and 4WD models, the 500X sits within the iconic Fiat 500 range between the 500 city car and 500C Convertible and the Italian brand's 500L five- and seven-seat MPVs.

Sure, the 500X has numerous competitors — such as the Nissan Juke, Peugeot 2008, Vauxhall Mokka X and Crossland X, MINI Countryman, Suzuki Vitara and Ignis, Kia Stonic and Renault Captur, to name just a few — but that's no reason not to check it out!

On the road prices for the 500X kick-off at 15,555, rising through twelve versions to 25,565. The revised 2018 spec levels are now Pop and Pop Star and the more 'butchly'-styled Cross Plus with larger front and rear bumpers and underbody skid plates in keeping with their SUV potential along with AWD (four-wheel drive) derivatives.

Externally nothing has
really changed for
the 500X since it was
launched — it carries on
with its iconic styling
hints of the 500 city car
but with an extended
wheelbase
to accommodate the
addition of
doors for the rear passengers...”
Starting with two-wheel drive, engine options are: 1.6 E-Torq 110hp petrol manual, 1.4-litre turboed 140hp MultiAir (manual or automatic), and 1.6-litre MultiJet 120hp turbodiesel (manual/auto). Go for 4WD and you can choose between a 170hp 1.4-litre MultiAir petrol automatic or a 140hp 2.0-litre MultiJet turbodiesel auto.

Like all other brands, there has been a marked shift from the once-popular diesel units to petrol engines so the 1.4 140hp MultiAir powerplant looks the best buy coupled with the Pop Star spec level — with a manual gearbox this model costs 18,655; or with the DCT twin-clutch automatic transmission, as reviewed here, 20,155.

Recent upgrades to the 2018-model 500X add next-generation Uconnect with a 7-inch high-res touchscreen (from the Pop Star trim level upwards) and also provide Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard for a smarter, safer way to use your phone in the car. Uconnect also provides a Bluetooth interface with handsfree system, audio streaming, text message reader, and voice recognition. Android Auto, by the way, offers access to Google Maps with voice-guided navigation, real-time traffic information and lane guidance and, among other music services, Google Play Music. Essentially, all these functions allow drivers to make and receive calls and send messages while remaining focused on the road ahead.

The standard equipment levels can be boosted with the addition of a number of packs, such as the 400 Cold Weather pack which provides a heated steering wheel, heated front seats and heated wiper area; or the 350 City pack to add powerfolding and heated door mirrors and rear parking camera. A Comfort pack adds rear seat head restraints, driver's seat lumbar support, and a height adjustable boot floor and, if you're going for the auto then you can, should you wish, choose to add handy steering wheel-mounted gearshift paddles. So getting the exact spec that suits you best is as easy as ticking the boxes.

The entry-level Pop spec list includes AirCon, cruise control, remote central locking, electronic parking brake, tyre pressure monitoring, and 16-inch steel wheels (with an inflation kit instead of a spare). The major items fitted to the best-selling Pop Star trim level include the seven-inch touchscreen, DAB radio with Bluetooth, leather-wrapped steering wheel with multifunction controls, rear parking sensors, auto dual-zone AirCon, front fogs, and 17-inch alloys. The top Cross Plus level comes with additions that include all-road bumpers, half-leather upholstery, driving mode selector (for 4WD versions), lane keep assist, keyless entry with push button start, dark tinted rear windows, and 18-inch alloy wheels.

The 500X’s suspension
set-up provides
a relatively soft and
comfortable ride but its
higher ground clearance
and elevated centre
of gravity does produce
some body lean during
cornering...”
Externally nothing has really changed for the 500X since it was launched — it carries on with its iconic styling hints of the 500 city car but with an extended wheelbase to accommodate the addition of rear passenger doors. It has a 'moulded' shape, perhaps best described as a Fiat 500 city car on steroids, with rounded body lines rather than the sharper edges and sculptured panels of its sector classmates.

It does have the familiar Fiat 500 family front face but scaled up so as to retain its family genes. Despite that it is not based on the 500's platform as, like the 500L MPV, it uses a platform based on the Jeep Renegade SUV courtesy of the Fiat-Chrysler automotive alliance.

Inside it's more akin to the Fiat 500 city car with an iconic dash that accommodates a pair of upper and lower gloveboxes with a centrally positioned touchscreen. All the other controls are where you'd expect to find them although the multifunction controls, a series of arrowed pushbuttons on the steering wheel, are not that logical to use and I had to delve into the handbook to work out how to zero the trip and mpg readings. Once learnt it was okay but it's not the most intuitive design. The dashboard has a brightly coloured plastic overlay in keeping with the vehicle's exterior paintwork, adding some harmony. Plus there's a decent amount of soft-feel interior trim throughout, including the door panels.

The seats are comfortable but the thick front A-pillars do restrict front-quarter visibility at road junctions, and rear-quarter visibility is also restricted. Given the 500X is an urban SUV/Crossover, where visibility for driving in traffic will be its main role in life, its SUV styling is clearly more about fashion than function.

Family owners will be pleased to know that the 60:40-split rear seats will accommodate three children well enough (but two adults will find it a bit of a pinch in the legroom department). Behind the rear seatbacks is a 350-litre boot accessed via a high-opening tailgate — drop the seats and you get a 1,000-litre loadbay.

The 500X's suspension set-up provides a relatively soft ride but its higher ground clearance and elevated centre of gravity does produce some body lean during cornering. By and large the ride is comfortable on good road surfaces; on not so good ones shocks from impacts and potholes are noticeably felt inside the vehicle.

Family owners will be
pleased to know that the
60:40-split rear seats
will accommodate three
children well enough;
and behind the
seatbacks is a 350-litre
boot accessed via a
high-opening tailgate —
dropping the seats gets
you a useful 1,000-litre
loadbay...”
That said, for urban driving and at commuter speeds, the handling is sure-footed and well balanced but up the speed on winding country roads and the handling gets 'lively' — the 500X will pitch fore and aft and side to side over undulating road surfaces so you'll need to adjust your speed accordingly. However, during motorway cruising the handling was more predictable and certainly better appreciated by my passengers.

The 1.4 MultiAir four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine kicks out 138bhp with 169lb ft of torque at 2,250rpm. It's a high-revving unit that needs to be kept in its powerband's sweet spot and that was helped somewhat by the six-speed twin-clutch automatic gearbox. This unit doesn't supply as fast-acting gearchanges as other DCT units do in normal auto mode, but the immediacy of changes sharpened up noticeably when the wheel-mounted paddle-shifters were used. Top speed is 118mph and zero to 62mph takes 9.9 seconds.

Officially the Combined Cycle fuel economy figure is 49.6mpg but during my week of motoring (with the usual mix of long and short journeys) the computer readout showed an average of 28mpg — very disappointing if that was the true figure. However, I decided to do a fill-up to fill-up check and the figure increased to 35.7mpg; still not anywhere near the official figure but more accurate than the onboard computer. With CO2 emissions of 133g/km, road tax charges are 205 for the First Year and thereafter 140 per year.

With over 3.5-million SUVs of all shapes and sizes now on UK roads there's a SUV for every taste — Fiat's 500X offers a practical small SUV city car with a classy interior and enough of the 'X' factor to satisfy fashionistas. ~ David Miles
.
Fiat 500X 1.4 MultiAir 140hp Auto Pop Star | 20,155
Maximum speed: 118mph | 0-62mph: 9.9 seconds | Test Average: 35.7mpg
Power: 138bhp | Torque: 169lb ft | CO2: 133g/km

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