The Car Connection FIAT 500X Overview
The Fiat 500X is a compact crossover SUV that's related to the Jeep Renegade—the two are even built together in Italy.
In the 500X, Fiat gained a small crossover that it desperately needed to buoy the brand and its sales in North America.
Competition comes from the Hyundai Kona, Honda HR-V, Chevy Trax, and Mazda CX-3—not to mention the Renegade.
MORE: Read our 2020 Fiat 500X review
The Audi-esque shape of the 500X comes from Fiat's design studio in Turin, where it was penned with the goal of taking the 500 hatchback silhouette and reshaping it into a bigger, more mature package. The 500X shares the "whiskers and logo" front-end look of the 500, and also has a clamshell hood and slitted nose like the smaller car as well as the 500L hatchback (a vaguely mechanically related five-door sold by Fiat, but built in Serbia). Though not as large inside as the awkward 500L, the 500X is easily the more attractive of the two, and a better scaled-up interpretation of the 500 hatchback's design.
Inside, the 500X wears body-color trim on the dash like other 500 models. A circular theme ties the interior together, from the gauges to the climate controls. A large 7.0-inch LCD touchscreen sits atop the dash on all models.
Starting with model year 2019 in America, the 500X comes only with a 177-horsepower 1.3-liter turbo-4 engine on Pop, Trekking, and Trekking Plus trims. It comes standard in all-wheel drive and with the 9-speed automatic transmission makes 210 lb-ft of torque. A set of adaptive driving controls lets drivers choose between normal, sport, and traction modes to tailor the responses of the throttle, transmission, and stability control, as well as steering feel.
The AWD system disconnects from the rear axle when power is not needed, which helps lower the 500X's fuel consumption to 26 mpg combined. The 500X isn't really built to be an off-roader, but it delivers enough capability to bounce up a dirt road to a hiking trail, for instance.
The Fiat 500X comes standard with remote start, rearview camera, seven airbags, stability control, and hill-start assist. Safety options include forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-path detection. The 500X has not been crash tested by the NHTSA, but it earned "Good" ratings from the IIHS in all categories except headlights, which were rated at "Poor."
Initially launched for model year 2016, Fiat offered five trim levels for the 500X, but was streamlined to Pop, Trekking, and Trekking Plus. Trekking has unique front and rear fascia designs and satin silver accents for a distinctive appearance.
Standard features include an audio system with a 7.0-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, dual USB ports; Bluetooth streaming audio; navigation; a digital display for vehicle functions in the gauge cluster; keyless ignition; and heated front seats and a steering wheel.
The Fiat 500X has distinct advantages when it comes to efficiency: all models achieve 30 mpg or better on the highway thanks to the smooth body shape.
In 2017, Fiat pared down the 500X lineup to just Pop, Trekking, and Lounge trim levels. The 2018 model added a standard 7.0-inch touchscreen and rearview camera on all trims. For 2019, the 500X gained a new 1.3-liter turbo-4 engine rated at 177 horsepower. For 2020, Trekking Plus replaced the Lounge trim, and a new Sport trim was introduced. The Sport model was a cosmetic upgrade featuring a distinct front end, body-color side moldings, 18-inch aluminum wheels, and sport badging throughout.