8.16.2015

X, As In Multiplied: The 2016 Fiat 500X

Front 3/4 view of 2016 Fiat 500X
The 2016 Fiat 500X.
If you love the little Fiat 500, and we do, you may be hoping for one a bit larger and more practical.  Fiat actually makes one of those, the 500L, but very few people are buying them.  The problem appears to be aesthetic.  They got the proportions wrong and the L looks rather ungainly, a cardinal sin for a vehicle that, in its two-door form, sells largely on style.  So Fiat is giving it another try with the 500X.




Rear 3/4 view of 2016 Fiat 500X
2016 Fiat 500X.
To our eye, they have succeeded this time around, creating a Mini Cooper-esque rear end and stretching the 500 without distorting it.  The 500X is a crossover SUV, one that can be had with all-wheel-drive.  It shares several mechanicals, including the more powerful of its engines, with its American cousin, the Jeep Renegade.

There are five trim levels of the 500X, Pop, Easy, Trekking, Lounge and Trekking Plus.  The Pop comes with the 135-horsepower 1.4-liter MultiAir turbo four that powers the 500 coupe.  Move up to the Easy and beyond and the powertrain is a 180-horsepower 2.4-liter MultiAir turbo four with a nine-speed automatic with an EPA fuel economy estimate of 22 city/31 highway. The only manual available is with the smaller engine in the Pop. Our advice would be to go for the larger engine. The 500X is simply larger and heavier than the 500 coupe.

Our test vehicle was the Easy, which, in addition to the engine and transmission upgrade, adds 17-inch aluminum wheels, comes in 12 exterior colors---some extra-cost--- to the Pop's five, adds Uconnect with a five-inch color touchscreen and deep-tinted windows for a base price of $22,300, a $2,300 jump over the Pop's flat $20,000 base price.

Interior view of 2016 Fiat 500X
2016 Fiat 500X interior.
Our test vehicle had only two options, the Convenience and Safety groups and with destination charges, the as-tested price came to $24,700.  Select the top-of-the-line Trekking Plus and order every option and you can find yourself well above $32,000.  The Easy strikes us as the just-right model, and if you're looking at the smallest crossovers---others include the Mazda CX-3, Nissan Juke, Jeep Renegade, Honda HR-V, Chevrolet Trax, Buick Encore and Mini Cooper Paceman---it should definitely be on your test drive list.

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