Since superminis are often too small for family car duties, buyers after a dose of style with enough space for the kids can now buy the 500X – a family SUV with styling inspired by the popular Italian runaround.
Fiat has already had a crack at producing 500-like success in a larger package with the 500L but the large, round headlights and bulging bodywork make that car look a little awkward. While it’s subjective, we reckon the 500X is a much more successful interpretation of the family look, managing to appear both cute thanks to its eye-like headlights and chunky thanks to its raised ride height and slightly flared wheel arches.
Interior quality is, like the smaller 500, significantly improved compared to Fiats of old. An expanse of body-coloured glossy plastic runs the length of the dashboard with a clear touchscreen nestled in the middle. Cheaper plastics feature lower down in the cabin but, for the most part, everything fits together without squeaks or rattles. The steering wheel is arguably the most crucial ‘touch point’ in the cabin and, in the 500X’s case, feels chunky and high quality.
The 500X is a world away from roly-poly Fiats of old on the road. It strikes an excellent balance between comfort and control meaning it resists body roll very well for a crossover but doesn’t let hard bumps enter the cabin. Steering accuracy is high so you don’t have to saw at the wheel on the motorway to keep the car pointed straight and, while at speed, only tyre roar makes much of an impact on the otherwise respectable refinement.
It’s offered with the usual range of Fiat-Chrysler engines including 1.6-litre non-turbo and 1.4-litre turbo petrol units – the latter of which is the pick of the range. Diesel buyers are offered either 1.6 or 2.0-litre units – both of which are perfectly acceptable if not outstanding. Gearbox choices include either a manual, twin-clutch automatic or a new nine-speed automatic on four-wheel drive models.
The 500X comes in two distinct flavours – either ‘City look’ or ‘Off-road look’. The former is offered in more efficient two-wheel drive guise only with the least consuming engines. Off-road look adds chunkier bumpers, some underbody cladding, roof rails and the more powerful engines along with the option of four-wheel drive. See the paint choices available in our Fiat 500X colours guide and check if it’s the right size for you with our Fiat 500X dimensions guide.
There's plenty to like about the 500X – it looks cute and drives reasonably well
The Fiat 500X is an admirable effort from the company and worth considering if you’re in the market for a small family car with a healthy dose of style. It’s not quite as practical or user friendly as the Renault Captur, nor is it as sporty as the Mazda CX-3 or Nissan Juke but it strikes a great balance between these characteristics.
It feels planted on the road, well built inside and looks attractive and eye-catching outside. If you need five-door practicality but love the style offered by the Fiat 500, the 500X is a great way to have your cake and eat it. Rivals might best it in certain areas but the sum of the Fiat 500X’s parts adds up to a fun-to-drive, stylish and reasonably practical package.
If you want to know more about the 500x, read the interior, practicality, driving and specifications sections of our review over the following pages. Or, if you would like to know the kind of saving you can get on a Fiat 500X, click through to our deals page.