Reviews

2017 Fiat 500X Driving Impressions


The ingredients for fun might be there, but with only one year of development since the debut, more time is needed. We like the ride and handling, as well as the 6-speed manual gearbox, but it only comes with the Pop, whose 1.4-liter turbo doesn’t have enough power for any kind of authority.

The 2.4-liter engine in the Trekking and Lounge delivers good performance and fuel mileage, but its 9-speed automatic needs more tweaking. We’ve tested this powertrain in the Jeep Cherokee and Chrysler 200, where it feels the same, maybe worse.

The engine is mostly smooth if not especially free-revving, and has enough power to easily propel the car’s 3100 or so pounds, but the transmission lets it down. It’s slow to upshift in the two lowest gears and slow to downshift unless it’s in Sport mode. Paddleshifters would help in these situations, but they’d be a waste the rest of the time.

Trekking and Lounge models have the Dynamic Drive system with Auto, Sport, and Traction+ modes, which change the throttle response, transmission response, and steering resistance.

The 500X feels perky, with quick but light steering (although lacking feedback) and commendable responsiveness, both around town and on the highway. The ride is firm on a strut-type suspension, with good road manners for the class, even with the optional 18-inch wheels. Its cornering is composed despite having a body that’s tall for the wheelbase. But of all the dynamics, the feel of the brakes might be best.

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