2016 500X New Car Test Drive
The tiny Fiat 500 was introduced a few years ago to rave reviews, and it was followed by the longer but unpraised 500L, and cool little electric 500E. Now comes the 500X, about five inches shorter and one inch wider than the 500L.
The new 2016 Fiat 500X is called a crossover because it's available with all-wheel drive, and it shares running gear with the rugged little Jeep Renegade (both of them built in Italy). The Renegade just won Northwest Outdoor Activity Vehicle of the Year at an event called Mudfest, a good sign for the components of the 500X.
If you don't want to drive your 500X like a crossover, you might see it as more of a five-seat hot hatchback. Then it would compete against the likes of the Mercedes-Benz GLA or Audi Q3, or maybe the Nissan Juke. Less ambitious thinkers might cross-shop the 500X with the Mazda CX-3, Chevy Trax, or the all-new Honda HR-V. But the Fiat clearly has spirit on those three. It is Italian, after all.
The standard powertrain is a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with six-speed manual transmission, making 160 horsepower and a healthy 184 pound-feet of torque. But that setup only comes in the base model, the 500X Pop.
More popular is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder with a 9-speed automatic, making 180 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque, an engine shared with the Dodge Dart, Chrysler 200 and Jeep Cherokee.
The upgraded trim levels are called 500X Easy and 500X Lounge. Add all-wheel drive and the models become 500X Trekking and Trekking Plus. The Pop is priced at $20,900, while a maxed-out 500X Trekking Plus tops $30k.
The 500X comes standard with seven airbags, stability control and hill-start assist, with rearview camera standard on the Lounge and Trekking Plus. The Pop is stripped of cruise control. Options and upgrades include collision, blind spot, lane departure, and rear cross-path warning; Bluetooth, navigation, touchscreen, panoramic sunroof, pushbutton start, eight-speaker Beats audio system (but not for the Pop), and heated front seats and steering wheel.