2017 Fiat 500X Pop AWD Review

This Italian jellybean is the best Fiat that's not a roadster

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June 6, 2017

2017 Fiat 500X Pop AWD Review

Driving Experience

One of the best things about the 500X is how it drives. Enthusiasts won't be pleased, but the everyday driver will love it. You might not expect much from this little crossover, but it offers responsive handling and good brakes and power. It's a nimble vehicle, and it shines in tight city spaces.

Ride Quality: The 500X walks a fine line between a sporty and comfy ride. It soaks up bumps with ease, but the suspension isn't so soft that it feels like you're floating on pillows.

Acceleration: The 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine in our tester offers plenty of power in most situations. It's the nine-speed transmission that we don't care for. It's hesitant in the lower gears. Still, the Fiat 500X accelerates at a reasonable pace. Reported 0-60 times are about 7.8 seconds.

Braking: The brakes are strong and progressive with good pedal feel. There is a fair bit of nose dive under heavy braking, though.

Steering: Steering is surprisingly precise with decent road feel. It returns to center quickly and without any input needed from the driver, too. This makes it easy to do quick maneuvers in tight spaces.

Handling: There's a fair amount of body roll in the corners, and if you push the 500X very hard, it will lose grip on a twisty road. This model isn't much for spirited driving. It's best suited for city streets.

2017 Fiat 500X Technology

The Fiat 500X isn't the most tech savvy vehicle out on the road. You can get a system with navigation and a lot of the modern bells and whistles, but it adds a lot to the overall price of the vehicle. Even if you opt for the upgrades system, it isn't the best out there. Still, we experienced no issues during our time with the vehicle. If you're not too worried about tech, then the 500X will be just fine.

Infotainment System: The infotainment system is fast and smooth, but it lacks features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The system in our test car also lacked navigation. The 5-inch screen is too small and the graphics were a little fuzzy.

Controls: The buttons and touchscreen controls are clear and easy to read and use.

Bluetooth Pairing: Pairing a phone was fast and easy. Repairing was automatic upon re-entry and we experienced no issues.

Voice Call Quality: Calls were clear with no interruptions.

2017 Fiat 500X Styling

The Fiat 500X takes the cute styling of the smaller 500 and supersizes it. The 500X is still undoubtedly a Fiat. It brings the same level of Italian charm to any road. If you're a fan of the retro-inspired styling of the 500, you're probably going to be a big fan of the 500X.

Front: The Fiat 500X shares most of its face with the smaller 500 but it comes with a few styling elements that are its own. The headlights aren't quite as round and the lower portion of the bumper is a little more interesting.

Rear: The rear of the 500X also takes cues from the smaller Fiat car. It features a similar horizontal chrome bar and oblong taillights. The attractive, retro elements are sized larger so they fit the body of the crossover.

Profile: From the side, you can see that the 500X is well-proportioned. It doesn't look stretched like the ugly 500L and stands tall on its 17-inch aluminum wheels.

Cabin: The interior of the car keeps with the 500X's retro-inspired styling and matches the regular 500 with a portion of the dash that's the same color as the exterior. It's an attractive cabin.

2017 Fiat 500X Comfort

The Fiat 500X offers plenty of room for the front passengers and an adequate amount of space in the rear of the small crossover. Three across the rear seats is tight but doable for small trips. This is the most comfortable Fiat out there. Still, it's not amazing. Much of the interior materials feel hard and cheap, and there's a lot of hard plastic. The interior looks good, but it doesn't necessarily feel it.

Front Seats: The cloth, manually adjusting seats offer good padding and decent bolstering. They make for an upright seating position and offer more than adequate leg and hip room. Our tester came with heated seats, which is a plus on those chilly mornings.

Rear Seats: The rear seats offer considerably less legroom than the front, but they're not too cramped. The seats themselves are well-padded and comfortable. If the legroom is good for you, you'll be happy for long trips.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): We noticed no errant noises. The road noise levels are on par with the top of the competition. When driven hard, the 2.4-liter engine does make a fair bit of noise but in everyday driving, it's not very noticeable.

Visibility: Front, side, and rear visibility are all good. The 500X sits up higher than a car, meaning you get a good view out of the vehicle. The A-pillars are on the thicker side, but otherwise, there's little to complain about.

Climate: The HVAC system is powerful and cools off or heats up the cabin quickly. The equally powerful heated seats make staying warm easy.

2017 Fiat 500X Safety

The Fiat 500X is a safe vehicle. It received top marks from the IIHS and comes with a fair amount of standard safety equipment. Our tester had some additional optional safety equipment that made it even safer.

IIHS Rating: The Fiat 500X is a Top Safety Pick+. The model scored a 'good' rating in all crash testing and it received an 'advanced' rating for crash avoidance and mitigation. The two marks against it were the headlights with a 'poor' rating and the child seat LATCH ease of use, which was rated 'marginal.'

NHTSA Rating: Not tested.

Standard Tech: The 500X comes with airbags all around, ABS, electronic stability control, security alarm, tire pressure monitoring, and hill start assist.

Optional Tech: Our test vehicle came with some additional safety equipment as a part of the Pop Popular Equipment Package. Optional equipment included ParkSense rear park assist system and ParkView backup camera.

2017 Fiat 500X Storage

The Fiat 500X offers the storage spaces in the cabin placed exactly where you might expect but they're all on the smaller side. This means if you carry a lot with you daily, you're going to have to get creative. The cargo space is of reasonable size and we took to tossing just about any bag back there.

Storage Space: The space under the armrest is small. In front of that are two cup holders that are plenty large enough for any regular sized drinks. In front of that is a small space for phones and other small items. The glovebox is small and just suitable for the owner's manual and a pair of gloves or sunglasses. The door pockets are surprisingly spacious. We fit a larger Gatorade bottle in the door pocket cup holder without issue.

Cargo Room: The 500X comes with a generous cargo area that offers 18.5 cubic feet with all the seats in place and up to 50.8 cubic feet with the seats folded. The only thing we didn't like about the cargo area is that when you fold the rear seats, the loading floor isn't flat.

2017 Fiat 500X Fuel Economy

The Fiat 500X is a reasonably fuel efficient vehicle, but it doesn't do as well as some of the competition. The 500X's competitors don't beat the vehicle by much but just about every vehicle manages a mile per gallon or two more, especially when the 500X is equipped with AWD as our tester was. Still, the Fiat manages to post respectable fuel economy numbers.

Observed: 26.4 mpg.

Distance Driven: 561 miles.

Driving Factors: We drove a mix of highway and city miles. We covered more ground on the highway, which is why our mileage number is over the EPA's 24 mpg estimate. When on the highway, we used cruise control as often as possible.

2017 Fiat 500X Audio

The base Fiat 500X comes with a paltry 4-speaker audio system. Our tester had the upgraded 6-speaker system. It provided decent sound but you'll see better, more upscale optional systems in most other vehicles.

Final Thoughts The Fiat 500X is a good compact CUV for someone who wants all-wheel drive, retro-inspired styling, and needs something for the city that's still very practical. The Fiat 500X checks a lot of boxes, but it's not perfect. If you like the styling, aren't looking for a tech-laden vehicle, and can stand the nine-speed automatic transmission, it's a fine choice for the adventurous urbanite.


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