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Fiat 500X 2016 review

Fiat 500X 2016

Fiat 500X

                                                                                        Fiat 500X

WHAT IS IT?

A potential goldmine for Fiat – the runaway-successful 500 city car’s retro looks stretched over a flavour-of-the-month crossover bodyshell. Fortunately, the 500X wears the cues better than the elephantine 500L MPV, and neither is it based on the minivan version. Underneath, this is a Jeep Renegade, but with different suspension settings for a less off-road thirsty audience. That said, you can choose two different all-wheel drive systems, and (weirdly) three different gearboxes. It’s not the cheapest soft-roader in the class, but build quality is good and Fiat argues kit levels are more generous spec-for-spec than key rivals like the Yeti or the Qashqai.

DRIVING

The 500X is very spec-sensitive when it comes to the driving dynamics. Sleepwalk in the rough 2.0-litre turbodiesel with clumsy all-wheel drive and the absent-minded nine-speed automatic gearbox and you’re going to resent every journey, such is its coarse nature.

The big-selling 1.6 diesel is a better bet, but by far the sweetest 500X is the zingy, 1.4-litre turbo petrol mated to a slick six-speed manual gearbox and front-wheel drive. It’s so much lighter on its feet, nicer sounding – it actually feels Italian. The ride’s pretty harsh over rough roads, so avoid the trendy 18-inch alloys for a Brit-friendly set-up. It looks food enough anyway – don’t spoil it with lead-footed alloys.

ON THE INSIDE

What with all the hoo-ha about the 500 city car’s cute looks and lusty TwinAir engine, one plus-point that’s often overlooked is how nicely put together its cheery interior is. The good news is the 500X enjoys the same treatment – there’s a splash of coloured dash to brighten it up and the dashboard buttons are clunky.

The driving position is pleasingly adjustable too. On the down side, the visibility is pants on account of the thick-pillared cutesy styling, and it’s not very spacious in the back. That alone will push families with older children straight towards the Yeti, Countryman and Qashqai, which make better use of similar dimensions, but without much of the Fiat’s rosy-cheeks charm.

OWNING

Fiat reckons most of you will buy the 1.6-litre diesel 500X, which can achieve a claimed 68.9mpg and 109g/km – although mid-forties are a more realistic bet. It’s good for 236lb ft and 0-62mph in a respectable 10.5 seconds, so if you can’t abide revvier petrol power, it’s a safe bet. The muddy-trousers 4×4 Cross versions can top £24k before options (you can nudge £30k if you’re really committed), so avoid them like a fake designer handbag. When it comes to 500Xs, less really is more

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