At the end of 2014 we covered the Fiat 500X which was launched to the media at the Balocco Proving ground in Italy, followed by our first test drives in the cars around the hills and villages surrounding Turin. Back then Fiat were incredibly excited about the car, and with right also as it was the first time the Italian marque has entered the crossover segment and they have come in with an awesome car and keen pricing.
Last year it was officially launched at dealerships throughout the UK and Ireland and a few days before this launch, the first right hand drive cars were given to us at a press launch in the stunning Montalto Estate in Ballynahinch, where we had the chance to drive them through the Co. Down hills on what can only be described as a perfect spring morning.
Yet again the 500X didn’t disappoint as The Sun newspapers motoring correspondent Darren Liggett and I headed off in convoy on our pre programmed route around Dromore, Rathfrailand, Castlewellan etc on what turned out to be some of the roads used on this year’s Circuit of Ireland Rally.
Taking inspiration from the 1957 icon, the Fiat 500 in its modern incarnations has some of the characteristics of the original icon, including the double headlights and nose as well as the infamous moustache grill. In modern times the Fiat 500 has increased in size with the 500L being launched within the last couple of years and now the largest of the breed being the 500X.
The 500X is also the first of the breed to involve a four wheel drive system as an option and it is available with six engine and three transmission options including an all new 9 speed automatic which is a lovely touch and is aimed at the stylish adventurer but it is hoped that many current 500 customers will see its appeal and progress up to the X model. Fiat’s aim is to offer the car to the Private, Corporate and Motability markets as it offers something for each of these segments with its varying specifications.
The 500X faces some stiff competition from the likes of the Citroen C4 Cactus, Suzuki SX4 cross, Mini Paceman and the Ford Ecosport to name a few, however when it comes to spec and value the 500X appears to come out on top as a full package and is longer and taller than all its rivals.
The 500X has two looks, the “City Look” and “Off-Road Look”; City Look models are all two wheel drive with a traction plus option available and models include Pop, Popstar and Lounge and the Off-Road Look models come as traction plus with a four wheel drive option with models Cross and Cross Plus, the equipment and specs increase as you go up the models with varying wheels, entertainment and interior options and more so a plethora of colour choices.
A total of ten engine / model combinations are available now in dealerships with a total of twenty five combinations available in total by the end of the year. Prices start from £14,595 for a Pop model and from £18,595 for the Cross model, add on some extra’s that most would want to have in a car and you can see an extra £1-2k on top of these base prices, so great value with attractive payment options also.
Words and Photos: Graham Curry