As popular small crossovers such as the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 have become bigger and more expensive over the years, a few automakers have recently debuted new, smaller crossovers to fill the void. Fiat, primarily known for the diminutive 500 coupe and convertible, released its own subcompact crossover, the 500X, just last year. One year later, the 2017 Fiat 500X is not only near the top of its class, it's also one of Fiat's best cars.
From the outside, the 500X doesn't look much different from the 500 aside from its raised stance, beefier bodywork and two extra doors. Inside is a different story, though. With expanded use of soft-touch plastics and higher-quality upholstery, the 500X features a more upscale cabin compared to its corporate sibling and even larger, more expensive compact crossovers. It's also roomier than the 500, though, like many of its brethren, there's not a ton of cargo or passenger room. Fitting four adults requires a great deal of empathy and a good negotiator. This segment also puts a premium on good fuel economy, often at the expense of engine performance. The fairly lackluster acceleration proves the 500X is no exception, but it is less fuel-efficient than rivals, and its nine-speed transmission's clunky shifting behavior can get annoying at times.
If you're shopping for a subcompact crossover, there are a few others you might also want to consider. The Jeep Renegade is mechanically related to the 500X but has a more adventurous personality and enhanced off-road ability. The Mazda CX-3 is reasonably quick and surprisingly sporty for this segment. If maximizing the utility of your little crossover is a priority, the Honda HR-V offers one of the largest cargo areas and rear seats in the class. But overall we think you'll like the 500X, especially if you desire a subcompact crossover with some Italian flair and attitude.
Standard safety features of the 2017 Fiat 500X include antilock brakes, traction and stability control, a driver knee airbag, front side airbags, side curtain airbags, active front head restraints and hill start assist.
Available safety features include a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, a blind-spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alert, a lane departure warning and intervention system, and a forward collision warning system with automatic emergency braking.
In Edmunds testing, the 500X came to a stop from 60 mph in 121 feet, which is average for a small SUV.
trim levels & features
The 2017 Fiat 500X is a subcompact five-passenger crossover SUV offered in three trim levels: Pop, Trekking and Lounge.
Standard equipment on the Pop model includes 16-inch steel wheels, full power accessories, heated mirrors, remote locking and unlocking, cruise control, air-conditioning, a driver information display, height-adjustable front seats, a fold-flat front passenger seat, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a four-speaker sound system with an auxiliary audio jack and a USB port. Remote engine start and keyless entry and ignition are included if the 2.4-liter engine is ordered. All-wheel-drive models also get 17-inch alloy wheels and a center armrest.
Optional for the Pop is the Popular Equipment package, which adds alloy wheels, automatic headlights, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, a leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel, front and rear floor mats, a 5-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a six-speaker audio system, satellite radio and an additional USB port (charging only).
The 500X Trekking gets the larger engine and all of the above features (minus the rearview camera and parking sensors), along with 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, rear privacy glass, an upgraded information display, adjustable drive modes, upgraded cloth upholstery and a removable, height-adjustable cargo floor panel.
A Popular Equipment package is also available for the Trekking, adding roof rails, a rearview camera, dual-zone climate control, ambient interior lighting, an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat (with four-way power lumbar) and a four-way power passenger seat. The Cold Weather package adds a windshield de-icer, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. A navigation system is packaged with a 6.5-inch touchscreen and HD radio.
The Lounge includes all of the above options plus an auto-dimming rearview mirror, an eight-speaker audio system and a rear cargo cover.
There are two more packages available on both Trekking and Lounge models. The Advanced Safety package adds automatic high-beam control, automatic wipers, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, a forward collision warning system with automatic braking, rear parking sensors, and lane departure warning and intervention. The Premium package adds 18-inch wheels, a dual-pane sunroof and a nine-speaker Beats premium audio system. You can also get leather seating for the Trekking and Lounge as a standalone option.
The 2017 Fiat 500X's base Pop model comes standard with a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder that makes 160 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. This powertrain is offered only with a six-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive.
Optional for the Pop and standard on the Trekking and Lounge is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that is good for 180 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque. It is mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is optional. The AWD system normally powers just the front wheels, such as when cruising on the highway, and can send up to half of the engine's power to the rear when the front wheels lose grip.
In Edmunds testing, a front-wheel-drive 500X went from zero to 60 mph in 9.0 seconds, which is slow in general but close to average for the segment.
While official EPA fuel economy estimates were not available for the 2017 500X at our review's publishing time, we don't expect them to change much from last year's model. The 2016 Fiat 500X with the 1.4-liter engine and manual transmission earned an EPA rating of 28 mpg combined (25 city/34 highway). The EPA estimated the 2.4-liter engine achieved 25 mpg combined (22 city/31 highway) with front-wheel drive, while going with all-wheel drive dropped the figures slightly to 24 mpg combined (21 city/30 highway). These figures are lower than those given to competitors including the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3.
Fiat offers two engine and transmission setups for the 2017 500X, but neither is perfect. The 1.4-liter four-cylinder in the Pop model is smoother than the 2.4-liter standard in all other models, and its easy-shifting manual transmission lets you readily tap into its usable power. Its limited availability largely makes it a moot point, however. The 2.4 has more low-rpm torque, and it comes with an automatic transmission. Unfortunately, it can sound rough at high rpm, and its acceleration is disappointing given its ample power figures. The automatic's occasional clunky gearshifts at low speeds (as in when stuck in heavy traffic), along with slow downshifts for highway passing, are other demerits.
In most other respects, we like how the Fiat 500X drives. Its body structure feels substantial, and the suspension, though firmly tuned, does a good job of absorbing bumps and ruts. Around turns, the 500X remains fairly flat and nimble (especially the front-wheel-drive model that sits about an inch lower), and it's small enough to dart in and out of traffic and park with ease.
The 500X is a high-water mark for Fiat interiors. The overall look is attractive, and the materials are higher in quality than those found in not only other Fiat cabins but several larger, pricier SUVs as well. Soft-touch surfaces are found on the dash and armrests, and Fiat makes a center console standard in a class where they can be optional. There are still some hard plastics on the dash face and door tops, but that seems appropriate for the price point.
Fiat also offers modern connectivity for buyers who choose the Uconnect 6.5 system. It's run through a 6.5-inch touchscreen and offers such features as navigation, Yelp local search and internet radio through owners' smartphones, text-to-speech and speech-to-text capability, remote locking and starting, and, for an additional fee, Wi-Fi hotspot capability. Uconnect is easy to understand and operate and is among the best infotainment systems on the market. Although the 5.0-inch touchscreen on Pop and Trekking models also utilizes Uconnect, it's not the ideal system for the 500X. The virtual buttons look cramped in the smaller screen, making it more difficult to hit the right button without diverting your eyes from the road.
The 500X is small, offering less rear seat and cargo room than compact hatchbacks such as the VW Golf and Mazda 3. Compared to other subcompact SUVs, though, it's average. Front seat occupants have more than enough head- and legroom, with the available eight-way power seats offering a truly impressive degree of adjustment even for tall occupants. Of course, you'll want to avoid tall drivers if you're stuck in the back. Rear seat space is otherwise sufficient, though the optional sunroof could chew into headroom. There is enough room for a week's worth of groceries behind the rear seats, and the rear seat folds down (but not fully flat) to expand that to 32.1 cubic feet. The trunks of all but the base model can also expand by removing or lowering the floor partition.
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.