Test Drive: 2020 Fiat 500X Sport
2020 Fiat 500X Sport AWD
Class: Subcompact Crossover
Miles driven: 228
Fuel used: 10.2 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 23.2 mpg
Driving mix: 55% city, 45% highway
|CG Report Card|
|Room and Comfort||B|
|Power and Performance||C+|
|Fit and Finish||C+|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.|
|Engine Specs||177-hp 1.3-liter|
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 24/30/26 (mpg city/highway/combined)
Fuel type: Premium gas recommended
Base price: $26,895 (not including $1495 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: sport leather-trimmed bucket seats ($995), Premium Grooup ($1695), Cold Weather Group ($295), Comfort Group ($795), Advanced Driver Assistance Group ($1395), Driver Assistance Group ($895), black-painted accent roof ($445), compact spare tire ($295), Uconnect 4 navigation system with 7-inch display ($695)
Price as tested: $35,895
The great: All-wheel drive comes standard; one-of-a-kind Eurocentric styling inside and out
The good: Decent passenger room for the class; outward visibility
The not so good: Firm ride; so-so observed fuel economy, and premium gas is recommended; driver-assistance warning chimes are unpleasantly loud; occasionally balky behavior from 9-speed transmission
More Fiat 500X price and availability information
With the 500X, Fiat’s subcompact crossover since 2016, models tend to come and go. (Lounge, we hardly knew ye.) There’s a new one in the shuffled 2020 deck. They call it Sport, and Consumer Guide got to sample one that was optioned up to $35,895 from a starting price of $28,390 with delivery.
Sport is more a state of mind than a state of being with the 500X. Powertrain and suspension are the same in all four models. (Sport moves in at second from the top, between the Trekking and Trekking Plus versions.) The newcomer’s external standard-equipment distinctions include a specific lower front fascia in body color, dark-gray exterior accents, and dual bright exhaust tips. Inside are a steering wheel with beefier handgrips, paddle shifters, bright-trimmed pedals, a light-gray dashboard face, matte-black dash and steering-wheel trim, Sport floor mats, and dark headliner and pillar trim. On the test vehicle, the standard cloth seats with a model-specific surface pattern and 18-inch alloy wheels with 215/55R18 all-season performance tires were replaced by optional leather upholstery and 19-inch wheels in 225/45R19 rubber.
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All of that comes in addition to things like a Uconnect 4 infotainment system with 7-inch touchscreen, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone compatibility, tilt/telescoping steering column, leather-wrapped shifter knob, fog and cornering lamps, and keyless entry and starting. Options—either in groups or singly—added things like an upgraded Beats audio system, navigation, dual-pane sunroof, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, adaptive cruise control, full-speed forward-collision warning, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic detection, lane-departure warning, LED headlights, and front and rear parking sensors. Sports are restricted to a choice of five exterior hues, all considered standard colors. However, CG’s Grigio Moda (dark gray metallic) test vehicle was topped by black roof paint that costs $445 to apply.
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The 500X is powered by a 1.3-liter turbocharged “MultiAir” 4-cylinder engine that puts out 177 horsepower at 5500 rpm and 210 lb-ft of torque at 2200 rpm. It’s just enough power for alert acceleration with acceptable quiet. The only problem is that this powerplant is hitched to a 9-speed automatic that often behaves as if it’s in the wrong place at the wrong time. Launches from a stop often come with a forceful kick in the backside; kickdown for passing can be a little slow to kick in.
A fairly unobtrusive stop/start feature is included (but can be switched off). EPA fuel-economy estimates are 24 mpg in city driving, 30 mpg in highway operation, and 26 in mixed use. However, this reviewer clocked just 20.1 mpg after a stint of 86 miles that featured 55 percent city-style driving. Oh, and premium-grade gasoline is “recommended,” the manufacturer says.
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As the “X” in the name implies, this Cinquecento has all-wheel drive. Suspension is independent strut (MacPherson in front, Chapman in back) with coil springs and adjustable KONI “Frequency Selective Damping.” A menu of traction modes that can be selected via a console dial include default “Auto,” “Sport,” and “Traction+” for slippery surfaces. In any setting, ride is decidedly firm, maybe even a little brittle. Clicking into Sport firms up steering resistance to a nice extra degree.
The 500X delivers pretty good small-vehicle head- and legroom in front, but headroom is less generous in back under the sunroof. Two average-sized adults will be able to fit in back. The rear cargo area isn’t overly big—just 14.1 cubic feet behind the second-row seats—but this is a subcompact. It will carry groceries for two or maybe two or three overnight bags with ease. Rear 60/40-split seats fold flat and flush with the cargo floor; when they do, 39.8 cubic feet of space are at your disposal.
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There’s an undeniable European stylishness to the exterior, but the vita doesn’t come across as so dolce inside. Spongy material is extant on much of the dash around the glossy fascia panel, but the tops of all doors are plastic with no underlying give—though the grain visually complements the dash appearance. Door centers and armrests are covered in soft surfaces, though the vinyl door centers are an element of the leather-seat package. Bright-metal accents (around air vents, on the steering wheel, etc.) found on other 500Xs are sacrificed for the blackout trim peculiar to the Sport.
Cabin storage is modest. There are upper and lower glove boxes, but the bottom one rests very low in the dash. The console box under a sliding-top armrest is very small. The only reason there were net pouches behind both front seats is because the optional leather buckets add one to the driver’s seat. Pockets in all doors include bottle holders, but there are no cup holders for rear occupants.
Settings for the audio system are easy to program and use. The dual-zone climate system that was in CG’s tester has three big, convenient dials for temperature and fan-speed settings. Various safety and parking minders included in option packages brought a lot of beeping and chiming to the driving experience, but man, are those driver-assistance warning tones ever loud!
The 500X delivers a nice dollop of driving character, and at not too bad a starting price for the Sport that was tested. It is a little bothersome, though, that any and all mainstream electronic safety features like blind-spot and cross-traffic detection cost extra.
Will the Sport stick as a 500X? We’ll let you know next year.
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