Fiat 500X Hatchback Special Edition Leasing

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Fiat 500X

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Whatcar? Review

For

The Fiat 500X is a stylish crossover with a usefully practical and classy cabin. Efficient engines help to keep the running costs low

Against

List prices are on the high side, and cheaper models miss out on some desirable kit. The engine range is limited and the steering is numb

Summary

The Fiat 500X is a compact SUV with plenty going for it. It’s practical, looks good and drives well. It’s affordable to run, but prices are rather high, and Fiat has cut a few corners on equipment

Performance

All engines provide a decent amount of power. Of the three petrol units we’ve only tested the turbocharged 1.4 with manual gearbox, which does the job well enough. The 1.6 diesel model is nippy, and may well be a better bet than the pricier 2.0 diesel version, which comes with four-wheel drive. The higher-powered 1.4 petrol comes with a semi-automatic gearbox, while the 2.0 diesel is available with a conventional nine-speed auto ‘box; all other models have a manual gearbox as standard.

Ride & Handling

Most versions of the 500X ride comfortably. The suspension is supple at low speed, but on faster roads it gets rather unsettled by bumps, and can feel a bit wallowy. Versions with larger wheels ride more firmly, too. Grip is good and the handling is acceptable, but rivals such as the Mazda CX-3 are more fun, with less lean through corners and much more communicative steering. Cross Plus models come with four-wheel drive as standard.

Refinement

The 500X is more refined in petrol than diesel form. You really have to try to get the 1.4 petrol engine to sound harsh, whereas the 1.6 diesel is rather loud if you give the accelerator pedal anything more than a gentle prod. That said, it’s no more intrusive than the engine in most rivals. The controls are pleasantly light and smooth, but the gearshift in manual models has a frustratingly long-throw action. Wind and road noise are well subdued, so the 500X is a reasonably quiet cruiser.

Buying & Owning

Compared with rivals such as the Skoda Yeti, prices for the 500X are rather high, but generous dealer discounts and finance deals are likely to be the norm. Residual values are reasonably healthy, too. Running costs are low, helped by efficient engines. The front-wheel drive 1.6 diesel model that we put through our real-world economy tests returned 49.5mpg, which is acceptable, and it attracts very reasonable company car tax costs, too.

Quality & Reliability

The 500X’s cabin is one of its strong points, with good quality materials and an appealing design that make it look a lot classier than a Renault Captur inside. Only minor details such as the feel of some switchgear and a few sharp trim edges disappoint. Long-term reliability is unproven, although Fiat came 14th out of 37 manufacturers in our latest used car survey. A three-year, 60,000 mile warranty is standard – the class norm, but no match for the Kia Soul’s seven-year warranty.

Safety & Security

The Fiat 500X scored a four-star rating in Euro NCAP tests, a good result but beaten by the Renault Captur's five stars. The 500X comes with six airbags, tyre pressure monitoring, and a full suite of electronic safety aids, although a reversing camera and an emergency city braking system are pricey options. An alarm is optional, which is why the 500X fared quite poorly in Thatcham’s theft tests, where it scored four stars for resistance to theft, and only two for guarding against break-ins.

Behind The Wheel

The 500X’s driving position is good, with well-placed pedals, supportive seats and a wide range of adjustment for the seat and steering wheel. However, the seat backrest uses a system that requires you to pull a lever and shift your weight, and electric lumbar adjustment is an option. Visibility is generally good, although the bootline is quite high, so it’s just as well that all but entry-level models come with rear parking sensors

Space & Practicality

There’s more space in the front of the 500X than in most rivals. Rear seat space is very good, with plenty of head- and leg room. Access is good too, but rivals such as the Kia Soul offer more space outright. The boot is usefully large and deep, although many rivals have a larger capacity. The rear seats have a 60/40 split folding function, but you need to add the optional adjustable boot floor to get a completely flat deck when they’re folded.

Equipment

Even entry-level Pop models come with air-conditioning, cruise control, a touchscreen display and a USB input, but you need to upgrade to Pop Star – our favourite trim level - to gain alloy wheels, rear parking sensors and body-coloured door mirrors. With this mid-spec model you can add options such as a variable boot floor and electric lumbar adjustment. Higher-spec models add sat-nav and bi-xenon headlights. A range of personalisation options allow buyers to create a look of their own.