The 500X has comfy suspension that soaks up bumps well, resists body roll and feels nicely controlled at high speeds, but its automatic gearbox is a letdown
The Fiat 500X is available with a choice of three petrol engines with 1.0, 1.3-litre and 1.6-litre capacities.
Despite having the largest capacity, the 110hp 1.6-litre model’s old design and lack of turbocharger mean it is the slowest and least economical model in the range. It’s worth avoiding, as a result, despite being the cheapest option.
The 120hp 1.0-litre petrol model is much more attractive. Its power hike might be modest on paper but it feels like a peppier performer than its 0-62mph time of 10.9 seconds might suggest. It’ll happily rev to more than 6,000rpm and pulls strongly to that point with a satisfying growl that suits the 500X’s cheeky character.
The Fiat 500X petrol engines have a terrier-like energy that suits the charismatic 500X
More to the point, it is cheap to run with Fiat quoting fuel economy of 47mpg – a real-world figure that should be more easily achieved than the pie-in-the-sky numbers that were quoted in the past.
If you need more power – for example, if you’ll often be driving the car fully loaded – then it’s worth considering the 150hp 1.3-litre model. It gets from 0-62mph in 9.1 seconds, has more mid-range shove for quick overtakes and will still return decent fuel economy of 46mpg. The only downside is that comes with a six-speed automatic gearbox that’s slow to respond when you want a sudden burst of acceleration.
Owning a car that is fun to drive might not be a huge priority if you’re looking for a sensible family car but, nevertheless, the Fiat 500x’s direct steering and notchy gearbox mean it feels sportier than you might expect.
In town, both the 1.0 and 1.4-litre models have all the punch you need to nip into and out of gaps in traffic and its accurate steering means you can nose into tight spaces confident that you’re not going to end up in a scrape. That said, it’s disappointing that automatic emergency braking doesn’t come fitted as standard.
Although the pillars around the rear windscreen do cause a little bit of a blind spot (you can spec the optional blind spot alert to get around this), the 500X is still easy car to park and its raised driving position gives you a good view out the front of the car.
Find yourself on a country road and the 500X’s weighty steering means you can turn into bends with confidence that the car will respond as you expect and there isn’t much body lean to worry about. The 1.0-litre petrol model is actually a little bit nicer to drive because its lighter engine makes it feel a touch more agile.
You’ll want to stick with the 1.4-litre model if you do lots of motorway driving, though. It has a little bit more power in reserve for overtakes and its slow automatic gearbox is less of an issue at higher speeds. Active cruise control is a new option that was added in 2018 and its ability to brake and accelerate the car automatically helps take the strain out of long drives, when combined with the standard lane assist, which can gently steer the car in lane.