The 2016 Fiat 500X is new for 2016 and gives the brand a just-right car in between the 500 and 500L. It’s undeniably cute, fun to drive, and has room for cargo.
What is it?
Crossover sales have not cooled down, so the introduction of the 500X comes at a good time. This compact crossover is set to compete against vehicles like the CX-3, Honda HR-V, and Jeep Renegade, which shares its platform. There are lots of choices in this segment, but the Fiat 500X has unique styling that makes it stand out from the rest.
Pricing and trims
The base Pop trim level starts at $20,000 followed by the Easy and Lounge. It’s a cute car so it gets cute names. There is also a Trekking and Trekking Plus, which have more rugged exterior design elements and take pricing up to $27,335.
Our 500X Lounge AWD came in at $27,035. This sits it at the top of the range with amenities like leather bucket seats, Beats audio system, and a dual-pane sunroof.
Standard safety features on every 500X include anti-lock brakes, all-speed traction control, brake assist, daytime running lights, electronic brake-force distribution, and electronic stability control with hill-start assist. Additional available features on higher trim levels include ParkSense rear park assist, ParkView rear backup camera, rear cross path detection, blind-spot monitoring, and full-speed forward collision warning.
The most safety features are found on higher trims, but all but the base Pop have option packages that let you add on the advanced safety features your want most. It can be as simple and affordable as the ParkView rear backup camera at $200 on the Easy trim or as pricey as adding multiple safety and convenience features to the Lounge in a single package that runs $5,350. That’s a huge price difference, but the number of available packages gives flexibility for tight budgets.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the 2016 Fiat 500X high marks. It scored a top rating of Good in all crash tests and an Advanced rating for crash avoidance and mitigation. Headlights, however, received a Poor rating while the LATCH child safety system received a Marginal due to latches that were difficult to find. Its strong overall performance earned the 500X a Top Safty Pick+ rating.
Our tester came equipped with a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine with 180 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque, which was paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission. There’s also a smaller 1.4-liter turbocharged engine paired to a six-speed manual, which is available only on the Pop.
The 500X is a small car, so it doesn’t need a huge engine, and so the 2.4-liter was up to the mostly up to the task. Driving through city traffic and accelerating from a stop has it responding briskly and with low noise.
But on the highway, this engine simply isn’t enough. It takes time to get up to speed, and pressing the throttle hard at high speeds produces a maddening delay and a slow increase in speed.
The nine-speed automatic is smooth and responsive, until you hit the highway. It takes too long to figure out when it needs to downshift, and the transition is rough and noisy. If you prefer taking control with a manual, you can get a six-speed, but only on the base Pop trim level.
Ride and handling
Despite its lack of power, the 500X is fun to drive. It handles beautifully and evens out rough spots in the road. Whipping through congested rush hour traffic was a breeze, and its small size was a huge bonus. It’s a comfortable ride, and the 500X stays planted to the road rather than being tossed about as you might expect in such a small car.
Seating is comfortable and supportive up front, with plenty of leg and headroom. There’s a good range of adjustability with the four-way lumbar support, and it feels ample against your back. The seats push far back, so that even someone over the six-foot mark has legroom. The downside is this doesn’t leave a lot of room for rear seat passengers.
There’s technically room for three in back, but more than two passengers are going to be cramped. Also, as mentioned, taller front passengers who push back the front seats will cut into rear legroom significantly. There are 37.8 inches of headroom and 34.8 inches of legroom compared to 40.5 and 35.1 in the Jeep Renegade. The Mazda CX-3 comes in with 37.2 inches of headroom and 35.0 inches of legroom.
Part of what makes crossovers so popular is that they offer the smaller size and comfort of a sedan with the extra cargo capacity of an SUV. The 500X offers 12.2 cubic feet behind the second row, or 19.9 cubic feet with the seats folded. The Jeep Renegade offers a lot more with 18.5 cubic feet behind the rear seats or 50.8 with those seats folded flat. The Mazda CX-3 comes in with 12.4 and 44.5 respectively, which makes the Fiat 500X a less desirable choice if you plan on carrying cargo.
Infotainment and controls
The Fiat 500X Lounge features Uconnect with a 6.5-inch touchscreen, GPS navigation, SiriusXM Traffic, Travel Link and Radio, HD Radio, and Bluetooth streaming. It does not have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, but the Uconnect system is so easy to use, those features won’t be terribly missed. There’s also an AUX outlet and a USB charging port. Our upgraded system included Beats premium audio with subwoofer and eight speakers for a rich sound.
The 2016 Fiat 500X is an appealing and fun crossover. Its unique style makes it stand out from the hordes of available crossovers you can find today.
Crossovers and SUVs have come a long way with styling that no longer looks like a giant box. They’re sleek and attractive, but they are a lot alike. It’s nice to have a standout like the 500X.
The drawbacks to the 500X are less cargo space than comparable vehicles and lackluster power. The Fiat 500X is definitely a fun, attractive car, but it’s not for those who need a thrill behind the wheel or plan on carrying cargo on a regular basis.
2016 Fiat 500X Lounge AWD
Base price: $27,035
Price as tested, $33,380 including $995 destination charge
Lounge Collection 6: $5,350
Leather-trimmed bucket seats
Beats premium audio system
LaneSense lane departure warning plus
Full speed forward collision warning plus
ParkSense rear park assist system
Blind spot and cross path detection
Dual-pane sunroof with front power and rear static
Automatic high beam headlamp control
Rain sensitive windshield wipers
18-inch x 7-inch aluminum wheels
215/55R18 all season tires
- Unique style
- Comfortable seating
- Great size for city driving
- Advanced safety features restricted to expensive packages
- Notably underpowered
- Limited cargo capacity