1.4 MultiAir 140hp Auto Pop Star
you drive youd 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 its
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)
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.
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
to accommodate the
addition of doors
for the rear
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
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.
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.
a relatively soft and
comfortable ride but its
higher ground clearance
and elevated centre
of gravity does produce
some body lean during
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
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
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
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.
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
dropping the seats gets
you a useful 1,000-litre
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
Maximum speed: 118mph | 0-62mph: 9.9 seconds | Test Average: 35.7mpg
Power: 138bhp | Torque: 169lb ft | CO2: 133g/km