The tiny Fiat 500 is an iconic city car first launched in the late 1950s but while millions loved its chic persona, there are those who wished it was just a little larger and more practical.
So Fiat created the 500X, a much bigger version which while retaining cute styling echos of the original 500, has its own distinct character. With prices starting at €20,792 (£18,810), a choice of varying-output petrol engines from 1.0 litre upwards and with three trim levels, the 500X has made a significant impact in its sector with sales already topping 500,000.
All models get a touchscreen infotainment system with a DAB radio, Bluetooth, two USB ports and Aux-in, and you also smartphone mirroring, alloy wheels, cruise control and air-conditioning. Standard safety features include tyre pressure monitoring, lane-keep assist, traffic sign recognition and a speed limiter.
My test model was the top-spec Cross Plus version with the 150 hp 1.3 litre turbo-petrol engine and automatic gearbox. Extra equipment includes larger wheels, reversing camera, LED headlights, sat-nav and connectivity features. This version costs €25,976 (£23,500).
The 500X is attractively styled and the interior trim materials have had a quality-upgrade which delivers impressive cabin ambiance. I found the seating rather firm by class standards but the cabin is spacious with good head and leg-room for four adults. There are plenty of storage places around the cabin, including a large chilled glovebox. Boot space is a useful 350 litres, boosted to 1,000 litres by folding the rear seats.
The elevated driving position gives good forward visibility and underway, the 500X has as easy driving feel. While the light steering is good for parking agility, the feedback at higher speeds is a little less precise though overall handling is still very good, as is the ride comfort.
The 1.3 litre turbo-petrol engine has 150 hp, giving a nippy 0-100 kph time of 9.1 seconds and top speed of 200 kph (124 mph). Average fuel economy is 13.4 kpl (37.7 mpg) and emissions 145 g/km.
Rivals in the sector include the Renault Captur, SEAT Arona and Citroen C3 AirCross but the 500X is a strong package and exudes the same engaging charisma and charm which helped make its smaller predecessor a worldwide success.
Facts At A Glance
- Model: Fiat 500X Cross Plus
- Engine: 1.3 litre petrol
- Transmission: Automatic
- Performance: 0-100 kph 9.1 seconds, top speed 200 kph (124 mph)
- Economy: 13.4 kpl (37.7 mpg)
- Emissions: 145 g/km
Model tested is UK-specification and equipment levels and prices may vary in other markets.