The 2017 Fiat 500X represents the Italian automaker's entry in the hot compact crossover segment. Though most folks will equate Fiat with its tiny 500 coupe and convertible models, the 500X strikes us as one of its best offerings.
Although not nearly as small as its aforementioned little brothers, the 500X certainly looks like part of that family. Of course it is taller and bulkier and has four doors. Folks more familiar with Fiat's lineup may wonder why the company brought out the 500X when it already had a four-door version of the 500 in the form of the 500L. Though somewhat similar in design and very similar in size, they are quite different under the skin. The L is marketed as a small wagon, whereas the X is a compact crossover that, unlike the L, can be had with a larger engine and available all-wheel drive.
Inside its cabin, the 2017 Fiat 500X impresses with its high-quality materials and user-friendly high-tech features. The overall ambiance is not only more upscale than its Fiat family brethren but nice enough to give pricier and larger crossovers a run for the money. Indeed, if opting for the navigation system opens access to conveniences such as Yelp local search and internet radio (via the owner's smartphone) as well as text-to-speech/speech-to-text and Wi-Fi hot-spot capabilities. Other niceties the 500X offers that are rare for this segment include adjustable driver modes, a heated steering wheel and an advanced safety package with blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning and intervention, and forward collision warning with automatic braking.
This year, Fiat reduced the number of the 500X's trim levels from five to three: Pop, Trekking and Lounge. The entry-level Pop is only available with front-wheel drive and with a 160-horsepower, 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine matched to a six-speed manual transmission. Stepping up to the Trekking and Lounge trims brings a larger, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine making 180 horsepower, a nine-speed automatic gearbox, and a choice of standard front- or optional all-wheel drive.
In terms of performance and fuel economy, the Fiat 500X isn't exactly a standout. On the move, the Fiat feels fairly nimble thanks to its firm suspension and flat cornering attitude, but acceleration is just adequate, if slower than that of rivals, and the nine-speed automatic can be caught off-guard, making for clunky gear changes. The EPA fuel economy numbers are a little subpar, ranging from 24 mpg combined (21 city/29 highway) with the 2.4-liter engine, automatic and all-wheel drive to 28 mpg combined (25 city/33 highway) with the 1.4-liter engine, six-speed manual and front-wheel drive.
Overall, the 2017 Fiat 500X strikes us as a very likable small crossover thanks to its handsome cabin, available high-end features, agile nature and healthy dose of Italian style. Let Edmunds help you find the Fiat 500X that's just right for you.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.