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Fiat 500X Test Drive Review

Date: 20 November 2014   |   Author: John Mahoney

Fiat has experienced phenomenal success with its cheeky little 500.

In just seven years it's sold almost 1.5m of them and built up quite a following - that's why Fiat is cashing in on the 500 love by creating bigger, more expensive (read profitable) variants.

The latest is the Mini Countryman-aping 500X.

Except it isn't a Countryman rival if you believe Fiat's new UK boss, Kate McLaren: "Despite some small 'price conflict' the new 500X is actually a more natural rival to the Nissan Juke."

McLaren says Fiat UK aims to shift 11,500 500X a year, with half going to business users.

In the flesh the 500X looks far more convincing than the bloated 500L, while inside it cleverly retains the little 500's playful interior with lots of exposed painted metal (actually plastic) while blending it with higher quality materials.

Made in the same Italian factory as the Jeep Renegade, the 500X shares the same platform, engines, transmissions and all-wheel drive hardware for range-topping models - although 80 per cent of all 500X sold will be front wheel drive.

There's also a wide choice of engines available beginning with the entry-level 110hp 1.6-litre petrol. Also available is a 140hp and 170hp versions of the firm's 1.4-litre turbo engine with the latter more powerful unit coming with a new nine-speed automatic and all-wheel drive.

On the diesel side the range kicks off with a 95hp 1.3-litre, but business users are more likely to opt for the more powerful 120hp 1.6-litre. The range-topping 140hp 2.0-litre diesel, meanwhile, is also only available with all-wheel drive but with the option of either the six-speed manual or the nine-speed auto.

Fiat has split the range into two with the what it calls the urban model trims, the Pop, Popstar and Lounge and the more off-road-biased models, the Cross and Cross Plus that have extra protective cladding.

We drove what's expected to be the fleet favourite, the 120hp 1.6-litre diesel. Against the clock it offers reasonable performance dashing to the 62mph benchmark in 10.5 seconds. Shame it's not the smoothest or quietest of diesels.

The way the 500X drives is also another highlight. It's agile, balanced and not far off the class best. What isn't so good is the ride that falls apart on poorly surfaced roads especially on the bigger 17-and 18-inch wheels.

Making up for those failing the 500X with the 1.6-litre diesel averages a decent 68.9mpg and emits 109g/km of CO2 - so is it our pick of the small SUV litter?

Depends. Size-wise the 500X rivals the Qashqai, but the Nissan costs an extra £920, and is more efficient. If you can't afford that the Fiat is well-worth considering over the ageing and less practical, though cheaper, Nissan Juke.

Fiat 500X 1.6 Multijet II Popstar

P11D price £19,040
Model price range £14,595-£25,845
Fuel consumption 68.9mpg
CO2 (tax) 109g/km (17%)
BIK 20/40% per month £54/£108
Service interval 18,000miles
Insurance (1-50) group 12*
Warranty 3yrs/60,000mls
Boot space min/max 350/1000litres
Engine size/power 1598cc/120hp
Top speed/0-62mph 116mph/10.5secs
On sale April 2015
 

Verdict


Likeable 500X let down only by poor ride and coarse diesel
7/10

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