As finally spring starts to settle into place, the subcompact SUV market begins to bloom…
…and along with it some colorful new options appear on the scene.
The 2016 FIAT 500X is a excellent example as one of these types of newcomers because:
It is completely new from the ground up,
And a significant deviation from what the Italian auto company is known for in the automotive industry.
Here we are unveiling everything you need to know about the 2016 Fiat 500x Crossover, from price to specs, pros and cons:
The SUVs are blooming in USA, and of course, FIAT follows with the 2016 FIAT 500x Crossover
As the American market continues its love-affair with the smaller SUV…
…automakers are running to create an army of affordable compact crossovers that will attract the people.
FIAT makes the same move, as it chose to follow in Mini’s footsteps by ditching all things small, and going with a little more of a brazen “big-boy” approach.
Forbes said that:
the subcompact SUV category “is the hottest segment in the industry right now because it features vehicles with arguably the perfect combination of price, size, style, functionality and fuel efficiency.”
Meaning lots of consumers are thinking about vehicles in this category because they can appeal to buyers at every stage in life and they are offering all-wheel-drive, are safer than a compact car, are easy to parallel park, cost very little to buy, possess, and insure, and are as practical as can be.
But will their latest creation be everything we want in a car?
Or is it only going to be one more bust, much like the company’s previously launched lacklusters?
It is possible, but we believe there is more to this little guy than it meets the eye.
FIAT starts off on a strange note though with the basic model
Because they’ve chosen to outfit the base model (called the “500X Pop”) with a tiny turbo-powered 1.4-liter motor that puts down a decent 160 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque through a six-speed manual.
This crossover with a price tag of $20,900 is only available with front-wheel-drive in this trim, and comes standard with hill start assist to help with this issue…
…plus USB audio input, heated side mirrors, steering wheel with audio controls and seven airbags that are included at this price point.
The only problem we have seen here:
Is that this base model may not sell very well because it is only available with a manual gearbox and most teens, grandmas, and parents, we know don’t want to have to worry about stalling out at a red light.
The next rung on the 500X ladder comes with a four-cylinder that churns out 180 horses together with 175 pound-feet of torque…
…and is not mated to a stick-shift, probably thankfully.
Instead receives a nine-speed automatic transmission.
To get access to this “FIAT 500X Easy Edition” one must pay out $23,200, and in return they are set to receive keyless start and entry remote start, a leather-bound steering wheel, 17-inch wheels, and a beefier sound system that sports the Uconnect 5.0 infotainment system.
This 5-inch touchscreen comes with voice command and Bluetooth, along with SiriusXM satellite radio and a one year membership at no cost for all the tech nerds out there.
This version looks far more promising than the “Pop,” and our only gripe here is that FIAT’s “Voice Text Reply System” is not compatible with the iPhone.
For an additional $800, the “Easy Edition” morphs into another animal, and becomes the “500X Trekking”:
which includes satin door handles with graphite front and rear ends, a subdued “primer gray” dash panel, a colorful gauge cluster and sportier wheels.
Styling upgrades aside, we really like the fact that this “Trekking Edition” has a traction control system in place that allows adaptability on the fly.
Unfortunately this is the only big upgrade we looked at as desirable over the “Easy Edition,” and at $800 we wonder if this option is even worth it, especially because the car does not come standard with all-wheel-drive.
FIAT very well understands that not everyone wants something that is just solid…
…so for $25,750 buyers can get a “500X Lounge Edition”.
It’s fully loaded with automatic climate control, ambient interior lighting, chrome accents, heated seats, a power driver’s seat, a heated steering wheel that comes equipped with audio controls and integrated voice command, a color back-up camera, and the larger Uconnect 6.5-inch touchscreen which plays host to navigation, a five year SiriusXM membership, traffic updates, HD radio, and hands-free calling.
This package really seems like a real winner to us, especially once equipped with FIAT’s signature split sunroofs.
At the very top of the pile is placed the “Trekking Plus Edition”
Which starts with the price tag at $27,100 and offers its own line of signature leather seats, a parking assist program, 18-inch alloy wheels, and a blind spot monitoring system.
But surprisingly, that’s everything you can get simply because this “top of the line model” does not come standard with title befitting features like all-wheel-drive, a brushguard, off-road trim package or a roof rack on top.
So we were naturally disappointed by the fact that to be able to get what we wanted in this model we would need to jump into the $30,000 price rate range, leading us out of the “affordable” price bracket.
Every 500X model outside of the most base offering can be geared up with all-wheel-drive for a couple grand…
..and is a clever system that automatically distributes power between the front, rear, and sides depending on which wheels are slipping the most.
This type of all-wheel drive system is very common by today’s standards, but because this is FIAT’s first try at implementing one in a car we are interested to see how the 500X stands up against other crossovers in the rain, snow, and mud.
A Beats-supplied eight-speaker audio system is one more upgrade, and also a dual sunroof can be installed.
Lane assist on Trekking models is also available along with a forward collision warning system that utilizes automatic braking. The all-wheel drive system also has the ability to automatically disconnect itself from the rear axle when it is unneeded, thus boosting fuel efficiency on optimum terrain.
We love how the FIAT 500X has all of the right design hints in place for brand recognition, and that it is not trying to look like something else entirely.
The oval headlights rounded profile lines, clamshell-style hood and grille all scream “FIAT,” while the cabin looks surprisingly spacious.
The 18.5 cubic feet of cargo space in the rear is acceptable, and the dual glove boxes and large storage bin beneath the center stack are valued design insights.
However, we can’t shake the feeling that this car is still lacking in a number of various ways.
To start with:
the fact that there is no “Sport Model” which should be the appropriate recipient of FIAT’s sporty six-speed manual gearbox, together with the 500X’s clever all-wheel-drive system.
But as an alternative FIAT has chosen to chain the base model to this transmission…
…much like what would be seen in a base model decades ago, and this unfortunate oversight will be impossible to ignore if sales of the base “500x Pop” drag in today’s automatic-inclined market.
there is the problem with the “Trekking Editions” which utilize styling cues that scream “We trek where we like!” all the way up until the buyer realizes this car does not come equipped with standard all-wheel drive, sturdier shocks or a roof rack.
Buyers will need to pay almost $33,000 to get just a tiny bit of what they want on this version of the car, and even then the 500X still lacks a lot of the basics.
With a name like “Trekking Plus” one would think that they would be getting a model that comes standard with these things, instead of it being just a better proportioned 500L.
Away from these very specific gripes, we feel that this little crossover has quite a bit of potential…
…and we look forward to getting our hands on a 500X so that we may give it a thorough once-over one afternoon.
FIAT also feels confident that this larger automobile will appeal to Americans more than their previous offerings…
…as the head of FIAT North America, Jason Stoicevich, says:
We don’t want to be a commodity in the marketplace. We don’t want to be viewed as an appliance.
Which leaves us wondering, will America embrace this latest Italian offering with open arms?
Or will we just write it off as just another gimmicky Italian designer product?