Fiat 500X review

Category: Small SUV

Section: Performance & drive

Available fuel types:petrol
Available colours:
Fiat 500X 2021 rear cornering
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RRP £19,465What Car? Target Price from£18,726
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox

The Fiat 500X range kicks off with a 118bhp three-cylinder 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, called the FireFly Turbo 1.0, which is available only with a manual gearbox and covers a 0-62mph sprint in an adequate 10.7sec.

The other choice is a four-cylinder 1.3-litre petrol engine with 148bhp, called the FireFly Turbo 1.3 150, which comes only with an automatic gearbox. That extra lump of power means it’s the quicker of the two, covering 0-62mph dash in 9.6sec, but the gearbox can be frustratingly slow in its shifts. We’d stick with the manual FireFly Turbo 1.0.

The pace on offer from these engines is similar to that of other small SUVs in the class, but a few rivals, including the Volkswagen T-Roc, offer a wider choice of more powerful engines. There’s no diesel 500X option.

Suspension and ride comfort

The Fiat 500X's ride comfort on urban roads is pretty good. If you stick with the smaller of the wheel options available, it smooths over big bumps and stays fairly settled over patched-up surfaces. The bigger wheels make it more sensitive to poor town roads, but it’s still nothing that will be too uncomfortable when heading through town.

The high-speed ride is not so good. The 500X becomes a bit fidgety and prone to lurching about over mid-corner bumps and undulations, swaying you around in the process. Sport trim gives the 500X lowered and stiffened suspension, and while it’s not what you’d call uncomfortable, it has a firmer edge to it than in other trim levels. 

Small SUV rivals, including the Skoda Kamiq and Volkswagen T-Roc, are better controlled and more comfortable.

Fiat 500X 2021 rear cornering

Handling

The Fiat 500X in most trim levels leans noticeably through corners, and while the firmer suspension of Sport trim reduces the effecr a little, the Ford Puma's more controlled body movements make it much more engaging for an enthusiastic driver.

There's decent grip, but the vague steering will stop you wanting to push the car hard in corners. Even with Sport trim’s slightly weightier feel, there’s very little sense of connection to what the front wheels are doing – the Ford Puma and Seat Arona are light years ahead in that respect. 

However, the steering’s lightness becomes a virtue around town, where twirling the wheel to get into tight parking spaces is made easy.

Noise and vibration

The Fiat 500X's petrol engines can be quite boomy compared with rivals', and you can feel some vibrations through your feet on the pedals. Once you’re on a motorway, the engines settle down and wind noise is mostly well contained, but there's a fair amount of road roar on coarse surfaces. The impressive VW T-Roc is more hushed overall.

The automatic gearbox disappoints, with slow shifts under hard acceleration and some jerkiness at low speeds.

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