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Racing Teatray

Fiat 500X

By request, here is a rather late review of the 500X we were given by Avis last September.

Having been deprived of the opportunity to try out the Fiat 500x that we booked last time we went to Milan (we got a Clio estate instead), this time around we turned up at Malpensa to find Avis had magically transformed our booked Opel Adam into a 500x in "City-look" 1.6d Lounge spec. Moreover, it was in a passing approximation of "Racing-spec", being a dark bottle green metallic (Toscana Green apparently) with a dark brown and dark grey interior.

I shall start with the exterior looks. It's a smart-looking car in Lounge spec with tasteful chrome accents, gangsta glass, smart multispoke alloys and whatnot, and has a cohesive well-planted look. I liked it and it got a thumbs-up from the wife, which is rarely a given. She also liked the colour inside and out, which suited it. It looks pleasantly SUV-ish without being too overly "lifestyle".

Inside is also good news. Yes, much of the plastics are not German but the bits you touch are typically soft-feel and tactile enough. Plus the overall design is smart, cohesive and blessed with decently classy detailing that all-in-all felt appropriate for the circa 20k price-tag. The seat design is also attractive and looks hard-wearing although the dark-brown "eco-leather" on the bolsters and door panels does not do a very convincing impersonation of real leather and is so dark it is very nearly black. The steering wheel was relatively small and chunky, and the ergonomics pretty good. Decent visibility too with just enough of the high driving-position so beloved of SUV drivers (my wife certainly remarked approvingly upon it). Plenty of space and comfort up-front and ok space in the back. Boot space was merely ok it has a high floor (presumably to accommodate the rear axle on 4x4 versions (which this was not)).  

Standard equipment levels on the Lounge model are good. As well as the usual expected electric this that and the other, it comes with a built-in touchscreen navigation system which was evidently using TomTom software and is largely user-friendly albeit that the screen is rather small by modern standards. At least it is mounted high-up and not tablet-style. The other notable goody was bi-xenon headlights, which do add a certain upmarket feel to things.

Drive-wise it was much as you would expect. Light easy controls without much feel but equally they didn't feel too flimsy or loose. It handles well enough for the type of car it is with less body roll than I expected and proved an easy car to place and drive. The engine was reasonably pokey (feeling more so than the similar Renault Captur we got a couple of weeks later) and performance was adequate with a decent mid-range but there was no mistaking its dieseasel nature thanks to a relatively clattery soundtrack, and I'd fairly sure I'd rather have the petrol version. We didn't do very many miles in it, but the economy in mixed use seemed pretty decent.

Overall, despite not being SUV fans, we actually really liked it. It manages to be several leagues more desirable as an object than most of the competition in its class, thanks to having a large dose of the smartly detailed exterior and interior styling, and general desirability of the standard 500. Regardless of whether it is a good car, it has bags of consumer appeal (in a way that the ugly sister 500L just doesn't). Like the standard 500, it feels like a car you might actually actively choose to buy because you like it and it fits into your life, not merely because it was what you could afford and needed.

This is the only pic I can find:

simonp

I like the way these look, but it's really stretching it to call it a 500. I blame MINI.
Frank Bullitt

I like these, not driven one but from the dealership prods I've had they are very nice indeed, the Lounge spec being especially nice as you say. I would add thought that Fiat have made some odd spec 'faux pas' on these, for example a centre rear headrest is part of an option pack (and cannot be retro-fitted) and you need the visibility pack to get auto lights and wipers for example; fine if buying new, but finding a used one is rare.

I'm not surprised it outperforms the Captur as that car had 95bhp and the 500X 1.6 multijet has 120!

They do step a very good line of '500 brand but bigger whilst looking good' in a way the 500L erm doesn't.
PG

As already said, the 500X seems a very good expansion of the 500 brand. Still smart looking and desirable. So way better then the 500L - it is that which ought to be called something else - anything else really.
Chris M Wanted a V-10

Frank Bullitt wrote:

I'm not surprised it outperforms the Captur as that car had 95bhp and the 500X 1.6 multijet has 120!

The 1.5dCi has "only" 89bhp (rounded up to 90 for the naming convention), so the Fiat has around 50% more, which would indeed make quite a difference to their relative performance
PhilD

PG wrote:
As already said, the 500X seems a very good expansion of the 500 brand. Still smart looking and desirable. So way better then the 500L - it is that which ought to be called something else - anything else really.


600 maybe?


Frank Bullitt

The original multipla
PhilD

The original MPV?
DetmoldDick

I had a sit in a 500X a while back and was pleasantly surprised by it's apparent sense of quality at the price point. The doors shut with a satisfying thunk is one thing that struck me.
I also had a sit in a Mokka, which I guess is in the same segment, but was shocked that the price tag was a good 50% higher.
I believe the 500X shares much with the Jeep Renegade and I would far rather take the Fiat over the aesthetically challenged Jeep product.
gonnabuildabuggy

Interesting to read your comments on your wife's reaction.

I suspect she is just like mine? Mrs GBB has little/no interest in cars but will comment on something that is good and does know what she likes, in her case the high up driving position of the FRV and the MINI for being easy to drive/park and also relatively fun to drive and I suspect also for it's trendy image whilst being relatively classless.

The only other car we've owned which she enjoyed driving was my old Mondeo.

The write up made me ponder if a 500X or Mini Countryman might actually be the right replacement for her MINI when the time finally comes, rather than the default high hatch of a Q3.
Frank Bullitt

PhilD wrote:
The original MPV?


Completely
Racing Teatray

It's the first rentacar where my wife has actually got behind the wheel and tried it out...
PhilD

Re: Fiat 500X

Racing Teatray wrote:
By request, here is a rather late review of the 500X we were given by Avis last September.


By me I think! I can easily imagine a sweet talking salesman and some man maths getting me in one of these the next time the mighty Punto is in for a service. If I can tear myself away from the 500L of course.
PG

Racing Teatray wrote:
It's the first rentacar where my wife has actually got behind the wheel and tried it out...


Sounds like the decision has been made when it comes to replace your 500 then?
JohnC

I think that's a thoroughly likeable family car. It doesn't offend the eyes and at the right price would be a great buy.
Racing Teatray

PG wrote:
Racing Teatray wrote:
It's the first rentacar where my wife has actually got behind the wheel and tried it out...


Sounds like the decision has been made when it comes to replace your 500 then?


Actually no idea. This was long pre-GC. Now that we have that, I'm not sure it makes such sense.

It will depend on whether we manage to have kids.

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