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  • P11D Value: £18,345
  • BIK band 2018/19: 30%
  • Small SUV
  • 1-0-litre 3-cylinder petrol 120hp/190Nm
  • Performance: 10.9secs/117mph
  • Economy (On test) 38.4mpg
  • CO2: 133g/km

What is it?

Many years ago a colleague described the then new Countryman as a “Mini on steroids”, and the same could be said of the 500X.

It’s a grown up/blown up version of Fiat’s funky 500 city car and designed to take advantage of the current trend and demand for small SUVs.

And while this sector might be burgeoning, the Fiat does offer some style and individuality over many anodyne rivals thanks to the 500’s cute retro styling.

So, it’s a B-segment’ crossover. The B-segment is now more often described as “supermini” although the crossover variants tend to be bigger and heavier and more expensive than the run of the mill hatchbacks.

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Why would you want a 500X?

 

  • Price – starting at £18,345, it’s well placed against many rivals, and rising towards £25k for the bigger engine with options.
  • Space – actually in the supermini sector we found it pretty roomy and practical compared to much of the opposition.
  • Minimalistic yet practical interior style.
  • New infotainment and connectivity system including CarPlay and Android Auto as standard.
  • Improved seat fabrics, better equipment and driver aids.
  • Latest three-cylinder 1.0-litre with an impressive 120bhp.There is also a 1.3-litre four-cylinder with 150bhp and a dual-clutch auto as standard.
  • The advantage of the 3-cylinder is that it is low in weight making the car light on its feet, with a much better drive than the old diesels

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What might put you off a Fiat 500X?

  • Despite its butch looks, only available with front-wheel-drive, but to be fair that’s pretty much the same with most cars in this sector.
  • The new 3-cylinder we had on test is very excitable on start-up and on initial acceleration although it does settle down.
  • Not that great on fuel economy, around 38.4 over a 450 miles mixed bag of motoring, although par from the course from what we have seen from 3-cylinder engines to date.
  • Acceleration and the motorway cruise is keen and smooth but as with many three pots, it does run out of puff fairly quickly.
  • Not so sure about the ride, it doesn’t seem to ride the B-roads too well.
  • Minimalistic interior means a lot of metal on the dashboard which does lead to some annoying reflections in your peripheral vision.

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Verdict on the Fiat 500X

Actually a lot more positive than we were expecting from the 500X which turns out to be more than just an overgrown version of the base model.

Three-cylinder engines always sound perky and give you the feeling that there’s something quite sporty under the bonnet. That maybe true on initial acceleration but when you get to main-road overtaking speed this engine does hit the wall.

But the car does feel light on its feet, particularly when set against the previous diesels and there’s a nice feel to the steering.

The main downside we found to the overall drive was the ride on the back roads, it just doesn’t quite handle the lumps and bumps as well as some rivals. Motorway ride, though, is pretty good.

Apart from those annoying reflections, the interior of the 500X proves that less can be more. Everything to hand and easy to read.

Front seats are comfortable enough although for the taller driver you will find yourself wishing for a bit more leg stretch which can become painful on a long drive.

You could maybe wish for a bit more headroom in the but this car still feels roomier than many a supermini. The boot is bigger than most with useful under-floor space – if you don’t go for a spare wheel, which is optional.

 

What else?

  • Standard equipment includes speed limit sign recognition and lane departure assist. City brake and blind spot warning are optional as a £650 pack. City brake adds £285 and a third rear head restraint will set you back an additional £75 – a bit harsh.
  • There is a £250 comfort pack as it includes practical storage additions too. LED headlights are £750 and standard on the top trim.
  • Beats stereo is £700.
  • Look out for offers, Fiat often has interest-free deals across three years although watch out for excess mileage penalties.
  • Turbo engines have a particulate filter and all powertrains are Euro 6d compliant.
  • According to WLTP figures engines generally return 36.7 to 42.2mpg depending on whether it’s the 120bhp or 150bhp and on tyre size.