2016 Fiat 500X | CarGurus Test Drive Review

by: CarGurus

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hi I'm Chris Wardlaw for CarGurus and today we're talking about the pros and cons of the 2016 Fiat 500x now this is a brand new small crossover SUV and it's got real potential to dramatically increase the appeal and sales of the Fiat brand in the United States let's get right to it talking about three things that I really like about the new 500x now the first thing is the styling I had driven this about 25 miles before a guy who was coming out of a restaurant with his two sons noticed it and started asking me questions about it he said it looked great now that's a really good sign because basically what that means is that Fiat has traded the cuteness of the smaller 500 car line for a more mature and sophisticated look with the new 500 X it's got dramatic European styling unmistakably Fiat in the front the model that I've got here is called the lounge trim level you can get one called the trekking it's got more rugged SUV styling cues but the lounge is designed to be the most upscale looking model

now even though the 500x competes in the new mini SUV crossover class in terms of its size and its price it feels very spacious inside and that's true for both the front seats and the back seats and the front seats you set up really nice and high behind this thick steering wheel with proper thumb grips and everywhere you want to rest your elbows whether it's here on this really plush center armrest or on these super plush door panel arm rests is very comfortable I mean you are not going to complain much about driving a Fiat 500x in terms of comfort your front passenger is also going to be happy because it comes with a standard seat height adjuster now that comes on all 500 X models and that's kind of a big deal for a lot of people especially my wife who likes to sit higher in a vehicle instead of closer to the floor plus higher seat Heights also make it easy to get in and out now as far as the backseat is concerned I'm not going to get back there because my daughter's child seats installed behind me but you should know that the bottom cushion for the back seat is also sitting up high it provides great thigh support and the front seat backs are nice and soft so they're kind to knees and shins in case they come in contact with them so the 500x has got a 180 horsepower 2.4 liter four-cylinder engine and it actually provides decent acceleration especially if you have it in sport mode instead of automatic mode there is a selector switch right here in the center console that allows you to switch between those two different modes now I've been averaging about 21.9 miles per gallon this week the EPA says that a front-wheel drive 500 X with this engine should be getting around 25 miles per gallon but to be fair a lot of my driving was City and suburban and not conducted on the highway now other than the satisfying engine I really like this vehicles handling and ride quality it's not stiff its taut but it's not stiff you feel the road but it's not beating you up and while there's a little bit of suspension shop because this vehicle sits on a short wheelbase it's nothing dramatic I really like the way the electric steering is tuned and the brakes are no problem at all pedal feels great and is responsive in the way that you think that it ought to be there is one problem with the 500x is driving character though and that leads us into some of the things that I don't like about the 500x now when you get a 500x with the 2.4 liter engine you also get a 9 speed automatic transmission this is one of my significant complaint points about this vehicle because it often shifts in a way that I don't expect and it really doesn't matter what speed I'm going sometimes if I'm on the highway and I want to pass somebody that the down shifts are really delayed most of the time it works in an unobtrusive fashion you don't really even notice it but the times that it doesn't like when you want extra power or when it when it down shifts in an odd way or when it up shifts too fast it really draws attention to itself and I know that Fiat Chrysler automobiles has been working on refining this transmission ever since they debuted I think it's better than it was a year or two ago but it still isn't quite there now you might ask yourself why 9 speeds in the first place it's because automakers are forced to take creative avenues to maximizing fuel economy and with 9 forward speeds they're able to keep engine revs down and increase fuel economy now at 21.9 miles per gallon I'm not sure that really worked in this vehicle but at least they're trying now the 500x has the potential to really expand the brands appeal with families the problem is that it's not quite family-friendly now you can see I've got a full-size suitcase in here and a stroller but it takes creative packaging to get these items in and that's with this cargo floor at its lowest position in its standard position it sits on these shelves and gives you a very small bin underneath but because of the distance from the seat back to the hatch you can't put two suitcases side-by-side you can't stack a full-size suitcase on its end and then once two suitcases are in there you would not be able to get at least my stroller design in here and they're so close all they need is just a couple of extra inches of room and they'd resolve that problem now the other problem has to do with my experience using the latch anchors in the back seat now when I installed my daughter's child's seat in here the fabric that's right above the latch anchor on this side would not accept the latch design that I have the the strap design so I had to actually install it upside down on one side then twist the strap as it came behind the seat and then install it properly on this side of the car and because the latch was the the latch strap was then twisted like this I had to make sure that I had the regular seat belt also installed for security purposes now once it was in here it barely moves which is a good sign but if you're going to buy a 500x and haul kids in it you're going to want to check to see if your car seat fits properly okay we've got to address the elephant in the room here and that pertains to Fiat reliability historically the brand isn't known for it and since it relaunched in America a few years ago it hasn't performed well in various studies undertaken by Reports and JD power now the 500x is a brand-new vehicle designed from the ground up in partnership with Chrysler it's built in Italy and it comes with a four year 50,000 mile powertrain warranty which is a little bit less than its platform mate the Jeep renegade should these things matter to you now that's up to you to decide right now it seems like the deck might be stacked against the 500x a little bit but until these have been on the road for a few years and fiat proves that it can build a reliable vehicle there's always going to be that question mark so what's the verdict when it comes to the Fiat 500x is this a vehicle you should go and test-drive right away is it a work in progress or should you just cross it right off your shopping list I'd say that as long as you're okay with how the 9 speed automatic transmission shifts and you don't mind the fact that cargo space is a little bit lacking then you should definitely go and test drive this stylish new little crossover SUV just keep in mind that as this vehicle is launched and as this review is filmed there's still a question about whether or not it's going to prove reliable and it hasn't been crash tested yet and those are two key buying factors when you're choosing this type of vehicle for my full review on the 500x be sure to check cargurus.com and thanks for

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The new 500X is a game-changer for Fiat, a credible entry in the hot small crossover SUV segment. So it's important that Fiat gets the details right. Read more about the 500X on CarGurus: http://cargur.us/4nlfh

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