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The Fiat 500X is a compact crossover that’s entertaining to drive comes with a choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The Fiat 500X is made in Italy but was designed with heavy American engineering influence.
The compact crossover market is booming, and the 500X has a bunch of rivals, including the Jeep Renegade, on whose platform the 500X is built. Also in this class: the Honda HR-V, Chevrolet Trax, Buick Encore, Mazda CX-3, Hyundai Kona, and Mini Countryman, just to name a few.
Size-wise, the 500X slots between the diminutive Fiat 500 and larger but awkward-looking 500L. Looking like a tall hatchback, it’s more mainstream than those two.
The ride is firm but not punishing, and the handling is responsive but not as nimble as that of the Fiat 500. The available all-wheel drive helps in sand and snow, although it doesn’t give the 500X the off-road capability of the Jeep Renegade, especially not the Trailhawk model.
The base engine is a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder making 160 horsepower that’s fun but unrefined, mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. Fiat says only one in 20 500Xs will have this powertrain.
The main powertrain is a 2.4-liter four cylinder making 180 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque that dates back to the Dodge Caliber, but it’s been much improved over the years. It’s mated to a nine-speed automatic, and that transmission’s shifts are not the smoothest.
The EPA rates the turbocharged 1.4-liter 500X at 25 mpg city, 34 highway and 28 combined; and the front-wheel-drive 2.4-liter at 23/31/27 mpg. Estimates for the all-wheel-drive 500X are 21/30/24 mpg.
The 500X gets great safety reports from the IIHS, who give it the Top Safety Pick+ rating, including the top Good score for the notoriously difficult small overlap front test, as well as an Advanced rating for front crash prevention when it’s equipped with optional automatic emergency braking.