The extended Fiat 500 range consists of the L (large) and X (crossover). They come in a variety of versions and now the Fiat 500X Sport joins the crowd.
The 500X is actually more than just a facelift, although the body and shape are unchanged.
First of all, being named to attract a particular kind of driver, it has been lowered, by thirteen millimetres. Such a minimal amount can affect a car’s looks; the new X Sport immediately catches the eye, it’s more of a beast than the standard model, especially on its £350 optional 19-inch alloys…18-inch being standard.
Not obvious is the fact that Fiat engineers have re-worked the steering (and, in the 1.3 version, the suspension)…until you drive it.
The X Sport gets a choice of the already-established Firefly 1.3 and 1.0 turbo Firefly engines.
It’s the 1.3 with its 150bhp and DCT double-clutch 6-speed automatic gearbox that, in theory, holds the most significant appeal.
Assisting this is its range of new colours. Options include a black roof to top off whichever colour you choose, except the red, but you pay for it.
Sport Red suits the car particularly well. With this, a bit unimaginatively, you get a mainly black interior with grey touches; having said that, it’s all brand-new and the materials and finishes are quite attractive and there’s leather as an £850 option. Other options are the various ‘packs’. These start with the Comfort pack at £250 and range up to the Comfort Electric pack costing £950. So most buyers are liable to spend more than the base price of £22,500.
Our test drives were conducted from our base at the HQ of the Italian football federation., just outside Florence. Fiat were at great pains to demonstrate how the Italians develop players’ potential and how their methods and psychology can relate to car design. So be it!
On the road, the 500X Sport’s steering, re-calibrated for this new car, proved to be a definite success. A strenuous route up into the hills into the beautiful Chianti region really showed how positive and precise the steering was. And great fun for the sporty driver alongside the safety implicit in its system.
The new suspension (not in the 1-litre car)…again, very able to manage various road surfaces; the ride was on the firm side, but the seat was quite soft, so the end result was a comfortable ride.
The car benefits from ten safety systems and is very well-equipped with connectivity and convenience features.
The engine’s 150bhp gives the car decent performance, with 270Nm of pulling power at 1850rpm.
What was a bit of a worry was the lack of throttle response: put your foot down and little seems to happen. Maybe a couple of seconds pass before you get the urge you need. Don’t forget that this is a ‘sport’ version. The DCT box works fine after that, but it’s possible that a manual transmission would work better in this respect, although this is only coupled to the 1-litre engine variant.
On a testing route with countless hairpin bends along a steep climb of many miles, the car’s trip computer told me that it had averaged 28.7 mpg. In the U.K., it would undoubtedly be far more frugal.
Apart from that, the Sport impressed, a smart SUV, nicely-furnished and well-finished and nonetheless an attractive prospect for the young family that likes to get a move on.
Car reviewed: Fiat 500X Sport 1.3 150hp, on the road price £22,500 0-62mph 9.1secs Top speed 124mph Engine 1332cc 4 cylinder unleaded EU6.2 Fuel Economy Combined 46.3mpg CO2 emissions 139g/km Max Power [email protected] Torque [email protected] Transmission 6-speed dual clutch man sequential auto mode
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Tom Scanlan has written for a wide variety of magazines and newspapers, particularly the Reading Evening Post for ten years, having got into motoring journalism in 1973 via the somewhat unlikely back door of the British Forces Broadcasting Service. BFBS produced a weekly radio motoring show for the services overseas and Tom produced it, as well as interviewing experts and eventually reporting on cars.
He is into classic cars and has owned Porsche, Ferrari, pre-war Alvis and Rileys and currently owns his fifth old Alfa Romeo, a 1984 GTV 2.0.
In his spare time, Tom is a professional cricket coach.
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