Reviews

2018 Fiat 500X Introduction


The Fiat 500X is a compact crossover that’s entertaining to drive comes with a choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The 2018 Fiat 500X offers more standard equipment than 2017, including a rearview camera and a 7.0-inch touchscreen. New Urbana and Blue Sky editions are available for 2018.

The Fiat 500X is made in Italy to North American standards with heavy American engineering influence. Introduced for the 2016 model year, it didn’t change for 2017.

The compact crossover market is booming, and the 500X has a bunch of rivals, including the Jeep Renegade, on whose platform the 500X is built. Also in this class: the Honda HR-V, Chevrolet Trax, Buick Encore, Mazda CX-3, Hyundai Kona, Mini Countryman, just to name some of them.

Size-wise, the 500X slots between the super-trim Fiat 500 and awkward 500L. Looking like a tall hatchback, it’s more mainstream than those two.

The ride is firm but not punishing, and the handling is responsive but not as quick as the Fiat 500. The available all-wheel drive helps in sand and snow, although it doesn’t give the 500X the offroad capability of the Jeep Renegade, especially not the Trailhawk model. To save fuel, the all-wheel drive actually detaches the driveshaft and rear differential from the front wheels, until wheelspin at the rear calls it back.

Base engine is a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder making 160 horsepower that’s fun but unrefined, mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox that’s a hoot. Only the Pop model gets this powertrain, which can also be found in the Dodge Dart. Fiat says only one in 20 500Xs will have this powertrain.

The main powertrain is a 2.4-liter four cylinder making 180 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque, that dates back to the Dodge Caliber, but it’s been much improved over the years. It’s mated to a 9-speed automatic that’s pretty rough, and which Fiat is working on improving.

The EPA rates the turbocharged 1.4-liter 500X at 25 miles per gallon City, 34 Highway and 28 Combined; and the front-wheel-drive 2.4-liter at 23/31/27 mpg. The all-wheel drive 500X rates 21/30/24 mpg.

It gets great safety reports from the IIHS, who give it the Top Safety Pick Plus rating, including the top Good score for the notoriously difficult small overlap front test, as well as an Advanced rating for front crash prevention when it’s equipped with optional automatic emergency braking.

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