Fiat Charm in a Crossover
We Like: Its charm inside and out, luxury-car features, available stick.
We Don’t Like: The recalcitrant automatic, raucous engine, lack of a manual with AWD.
If you’re having a sense of dj vu while contemplating this Fiat crossover, it’s for good reason. The 500X is almost exactly the same size as Fiat’s other big car, the 500L. It also looks almost identical, except the X successfully marries the 500’s adorable styling to crossover proportions. It shares its underpinnings with the Jeep Renegade, which means it’s available with all-wheel drive—thankfully.
Stay tuned to MotorTrend.com as the 2016 Motor Trend SUV of the Year contenders and finalists are revealed in advance of the official winner announcement on the evening of November 16. Learn about other SUV of the Year contenders at the links below. Check out the SUV of the Year evaluation process HERE, and read about the evolution of our Of The Year awards HERE.
In base trim, the 500X uses Fiat’s 1.4-liter turbo and sends 160 hp to the front wheels through a vague-shifting six-speed manual. Remember this because you’ll never see one in the flesh. Ever. Nobody buys front-wheel-drive, stick-shift crossovers. This model likely exists for its low base price ($20,900 USD) and high fuel economy (34 mpg – 6.7 L/100km – highway). In other words, it’s a marketing tool, as well as a bone to throw to us journalist types.
The real 500X comes with Chrysler‘s 2.4-liter, 180-hp Tigershark four paired with ZF’s much lamented nine-speed automatic and optional all-wheel drive. As usual, the Tigershark is rude at high revs, and the nine-speed automatic is argumentative, fighting to keep revs low and forward progress to a minimum. One editor measured three scientifically timed Mississippis before noting any acceleration after applying full throttle. Another actually timed it. Starting from an indicated 80 mph (129 km/h), the 500X required 2.5 seconds of matted accelerator before the display changed to 81.
The 500X’s ride is flinty at low speeds but relaxes slightly on the interstate, where it’s met with considerable wind noise. And though the rear seat has plenty of headroom, the 500X’s packaging falls far short of the Honda HR-V‘s. That said, its interior styling charmed most of us, and it offers unexpected luxury items such as a heated steering wheel, auto high-beams, adaptive cruise control, and Fiat Chrysler’s pretty damn great Uconnect navigation/entertainment solution.
|2016 Fiat 500X||Pop||Trekking|
|Price As Tested||$20,900||$28,100|
|Vehicle Layout||Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV||Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV|
|Engine||1.4L/160-hp/184-lb-ft turbocharged SOHC 16-valve I-4||2.4L/180-hp/175-lb-ft SOHC 16-valve I-4|
|Transmission||6-speed manual||9-speed automatic|
|Length x Width x Height||167.2 x 75.5 x 63.1||167.2 x 75.5 x 63.1|
|Wheelbase||101.2 in||101.2 in|
|Curb Weight (F/R Dist)||2,936 lb (61/39%)||3,307 lb (61/39%)|
|Acceleration, 0-60 mph||8.2 sec||8.5 sec|
|Quarter Mile||16.3 sec @ 82.9 mph||16.6 sec @ 82.3 mph|
|Braking, 60-0 mph||123 ft||116 ft|
|Lateral Acceleration||0.79 g (avg)||0.76 g (avg)|
|MT Figure Eight||28.0 sec @ 0.61 g (avg)||28.7 sec @ 0.59 g (avg)|
|EPA City/Hwy/Comb||25/34/28 mpg||21/30/24 mpg|
|Energy Consumption, City/Hwy||35/99 kW-hrs/100 miles||160/112 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 Emissions||0.68 lb/mile||0.80 lb/mile|
|Real MPG City/Hwy/Comb||28/34/30|
2016 Motor Trend SUV of the Year Contenders:
- BMW X6
- Chevrolet Trax
- Fiat 500X
- Ford Edge
- Ford Explorer
- Honda HR-V
- Hyundai Tucson
- Jeep Renegade
- Kia Sorento
- Land Rover Discovery Sport
- Mazda CX-3