Roadshow Video Reviews
Fiat's cutesy SUV has a nice personalityIts performance and tech are objectively just okay, but the 2017 Fiat 500X charms with its style and character.
[MUSIC] A while I ago I had the displeasure of testing the Fiat 500L, and I hated it, everything about it. So I was in no rush to find myself behind the wheel of another Fiat crossover, but eventually curiosity got the best of me and here we are the Fiat 500X. And I've got to say, it's actually pretty good, surprisingly good actually. Not the best in its class but I'm willing to bet it's better than you think it is also. Let's head behind the wheel and I'll show you what I mean. [MUSIC] That's preppy. The Fiat 500X is powered by 2.4 L naturally aspirated. Engine that is made with a nine speed automatic transmission. That's going to send power to either front wheels or with the optional all wheel drive system all wheels. Now there is a six speed manual transmission option available, but to get that you have to step down to the small 1.4 liter turbo charged engine. Engine, that makes less power at 160 ponies, but interestingly more torque at 185 pound feet. But that engine also requires premium fuel and I'm guess that there's not a huge overlap between enthusiasts looking for a manual and people just looking for a cute small crossover. So I'm gonna assume that most people will leave the dealership with this nine speed model. Now around town the performance is like I said peppy. The nine speed transmission spreads it's gears out in such a way that you got some really low gearing that makes for good off the line acceleration and around town performance that just feels lively. And when you hit the highway the really tall gears seven, eight, and nine are geared in such a way that you get pretty good fuel economy. Averaging around 30 miles per gallon on the highway. However, at those speeds you do lose a little bit of that sort of feeling of power to the tall gearing and with so many gears to step down through, when it comes time to make a pass, there could be a half to whole second delay between putting the pedal to the metal and actually feeling acceleration from the engine. [MUSIC] Now we do have multiple drive modes. The controller down here let me switch between automatic, sport and a sort of climate mode that's sort good for rain or snow or what have you. But I found that on the good twisty road it's better just to put the transmission in it's manual mode Mode. And then just pick my own gear. Leave it in four, or three, and then just have more fun that way. Now speaking of twisty roads, the handling is interesting. You got really good initial turn in on the steering, and once you set into a turn, it does feel like this vehicle has good grip. But there's just so much body roll that That the transition between those two states feels a little bit mushy. On the positive side, the sort of soft suspension does mean this car soaks up bumps well, particularly pot holes on the city. Even though it does feel like an oddly firm ride, it's supple. Brakes are also really good. They're not mushy. Machine when you really want to get into them and shave off some speed quickly but they're also very easy to modulate. Overall I find that this car is probably better around town than it is on a country road and that's perfectly fine because this is a city car. [SOUND] Now the amenities are also sort of a mixed bag. We've got a blend of high and low tech features. The dashboard feels really low-tech. We talked about it in a separate video. It's a sort of simple, yet effective system that doesn't do a whole lot to wow you. However, check the right boxes and you can get some fairly advanced driver features. Things like lane departure preventing steering, that'll pull you back into the lane if you drift over the lines, or blind spot monitoring, or automatic emergency braking. which will step on the brakes for you if the car in front of you comes to a stop, that you're distracted. It's a fairly modern tech car when you get into those sort of options. The cabin that's built around that technology is what I like to sort of call budget sheek, meaning that, if you poke at certain parts, they might feel cheap, but generally speaking, everything looks meticulously styled, and is at least of a visual high quality. Generally speaking the cabin is a nice place to be, but I do have a couple of nitpicks with the ergonomics. I just can't really get comfortable in this car for long drives for some reason. I'm not a 100% sure if the steering wheel isn't bang on center or if there is something odd with the seats. Either way there needs to be some changes Here. Specifically I'd like the steering wheel to maybe telescope and tilt down a little bit more so I don't get this sort of school bus steering wheel thing happening with it. But overall the 500X is not perfect. It's not a tool for every job, but as a city car it's got a lot of traits that I definitely admire. More importantly It's got character, and for a lot of people that's actually more important. [MUSIC] So yes, I like the FIAT 500X. It's a stylish and pretty fun to drive compact cross-over. I'd go so far as to say that it's probably the most compelling model in the italian automakers lineup, short of the 124Fiata The problem is, that in this compact crossover class, the competition is just so good. And for this amount of money, the 500x starts at around $20,000, but as tested here we're closer to 30k, we could just get so much more car for your money with something like a Kia Sol Turbo, or even step up a class and get something larger, like the Mazda CX-5. So you just gotta get that price right if they expect this to go from being a good car to a great one. [MUSIC]