It comes to us all at some point, that stage in your life where you have to grow up, saying bye bye to the single life as you marry and decide having kids is a good idea. You not only outgrow your single room apartment but you also outgrow your car, that little two door motor is not quite big enough for what now is the day to day running around. So what do you do when your cute, chic Fiat 500 no longer has enough space for this change in your life? You like its looks, the way it drives, its happy go lucky attitude, well thankfully it has a bigger brother (or sister?). Alongside the slightly bigger Fiat 500L, you can also get the crossover, the 500X, a little more rugged looking with those crossover looks but still retains the Fiat 500 family looks.
The Fiat 500X has been around for a few years and much like you and me when you reach that mid life point it’s time for a bit of a change, a new wardrobe and maybe a few healthier eating choices. Well the 500X is doing much the same thing, changes to the outside remain minimal, in fact unless the new version is parked beside an existing model most people would find it difficult to tell them apart, such is the subtly of the changes. And it has got a little bit more healthier by dropping the diesel engines, yes it’s so long to that diesel option, something which will also be rolled out across the rest of the Fiat family over time.
The tweaks on the outside are few and far between, with new LED daytime running lights (combined with full-LED headlights as standard on top models), LED rear lights with a nice design that is almost 500-aping, combining to really bring the car up to date and look rather slick. The subtlety continues with refreshed bumpers as well as new colour options – Techno Green, Blue Italia and Ivory. Urban models feature body-coloured bumpers and fewer trim additions, while City Cross and Cross Plus trims get the faux skidplates, black cladding around the wheel arches and an altogether more rugged aesthetics.
Overall it’s a ‘if ain’t broke don’t fix it’ kind of approach, which works very well. The reality is in keeping it part of the 500 family it can’t be easy trying to come up with a design that stays true in part to that and Fiat have got this about right with the new 500X looks.
Under the bonnet:
If changes to the outside are minimal then changes under the bonnet are far less so, as mentioned gone is the diesel option as is the AWD model (which we are sad to see), however Fiat has introduced it’s new ‘Firefly’ turbocharged petrol engines. Two are available, a 118bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder and a 148bhp 1.3-litre four-cylinder, the 1.3 being available only as a six-speed automatic.
It is the 1.0 that we prefer, it is a surprisingly sweet engine, true you won’t break any land speed records with a 0-62mph time of around 10.9 seconds but it feels a lot livelier than that and quiet. With 118hp it has enough zip in it and you can expect mpg figures of around 47 miles to that gallon of petrol (remember no diesel now), it drives well with steering that feels fairly accurate, overall it is nimble and has an agile chassis that works well, making it a useful car for relaxed driving in town as well as on the motorway.
Inside looking out:
The 500 looks continues on the inside, with the new updates most noticeably including a new steering wheel, an updated Uconnect touchscreen with the addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard.
All 500X models now have traffic sign recognition and lane assist system, as well as a city braking function which can automatically apply the brakes to avoid a collision. Other options include blind spot detection and adaptive cruise control can be added.
The 500X is an extremely practical crossover for families, four 6ft adults can travel in reasonable comfort as there is plenty of head and legroom in the front and rear, while the 350-litre boot is generous size. Like most crossovers thanks to the elevated ride height visibility is also good.
In retaining those Fiat 500 looks, the new 500X is by far the best looking crossover on the market, add to that the new engines, competitive price, spacious interior and updated onboard technology it makes a compelling case for itself. The 500X makes the mid-life that X-tra good.
Model: Fiat 500X City Cross 1.0
Engine: 1.0-litre 3cylinder petrol
Max speed (mph): 117mph
Torque (Nm): 190Nm
Emissions (g/km): 133g/km