Overview (Final Score: B)
The 2016 Fiat 500X is an all-new model offered by Fiat Chrysler Automotive on a global market. The signature style and fun appeal of the 500X is eclipsed only by its unusually upscale interior and excellent safety ratings.
The 500X seats five and has two engine options with one transmission choice each. Front-wheel or all-wheel drive is available and five trim levels are offered. Several package options and other upgrades are also available, including unusually advanced safety and infotainment at the higher trims.
The compact crossover segment is the fastest-growing automotive segment in North America and the Fiat 500X sets itself apart in the entry-level market for its upscale styling and unique looks. The 500X is unmistakably a Fiat and definitely Italian, which holds wide market appeal with the segment's most active buyers.
What We Loved About the 2016 Fiat 500X
What We Didn't Love About the 2016 Fiat 500X
Exterior View (8/10 relative to market)
As the third and largest in the Fiat 500 line, the 500X continues with the general styling trend of the others in the series. The bug-eyed, Italian panache is still there, complete with a Fiat "mustache" on the grille. There is no mistaking the 2016 500X for anything but a Fiat as all the specifically rounded corners and bulbous bits are there to remind at every angle. It's a signature look that has a lot of appeal to a certain segment of buyer. The segment that happens to be the most prolific in the compact crossover category.
The front grille is as far away from truck-like and muscular as it can be, aiming for the Fiat 500's playful, round-eyed look. The intake below the grille is deemphasized by the large, chromed Fiat stripe (the "mustache") and red central badge flanked by the rounded, non-threatening headlamps. A short, simply tapered hood and flared but not powerful fenders complete the front end.
The side panels are simple and relatively unadorned, relying on the unique shape of the roofline and the window details to carry the style of the 500X back to the rear. The tapered roof ends in a spoiler above the hatch, which itself is rounded outwards from the roof to end in a booty-shaped look when the bumper is added in.
The 2016 Fiat 500X makes no pretense about being anything other than a cute, tiny little crossover. That is the center mark for its appeal.
Interior Comfort, Quality, Ergonomics (8/10)
The interior of the 2016 500X is a bit better than average for the segment. Most compact crossovers, being of a competitive new breed, have taken a hint from the fast-improving entry-level compact car class and are going upscale with their interiors. The 2016 Fiat 500X is keeping with this trend and is a big improvement over other Fiat models in the 500 line.
Quality, soft touch materials are found on most surfaces inside the 500X, including the dash and armrests where it matters the most. The hard plastics that are there are of good material with a nice texture so they don't feel cheap.
Roominess is another point this segment struggles with and the Fiat 500X is hit and miss there. Like most compacts, the struggle is between sleek exterior styling and interior spaciousness. The Fiat 500X's chassis sibling, the Jeep Renegade, has a square, quirky body shape that fits the Jeep nameplate and offers a lot of interior space. The Fiat, because its branding requires a more aerodynamic and rounded exterior, misses this advantage and that's paid for in the back seats and cargo area.
Front seating in the 2016 Fiat 500X is excellent with a lot of room and comfort. Head- and legroom are very good and accommodate even large people well. In the rear, though, that changes as the seating, while adequate for a compact, is cramped by anyone's standards. Tall or large passengers will find the back seating to be difficult to get comfortable in. For children in car seats or pets, though, there's more than enough space.
Cargo is another place where the 500X feels cramped. The class is not known for big cargo areas and the Fiat fits with that trend. The hatch opens to offer just enough space for a big bag of dog food or a few bags of groceries. The rear seats fold down in a 60/40 split (though, we note, not flat) and more than double that space to about 32 cubic feet. One feature that we like in the cargo area is the adjustable floor. The floor pan can be lowered to add another couple of inches of depth or raised to make a sort of short shelf so items can be stacked under and over. This is a feature the 500X has in common with the Renegade and it's something unique to the segment.
Another point of note for the Fiat 500X is the ride comfort and noise levels. They're very, very good for the segment. The 500X has a smooth nature that makes it a very comfortable highway driver and the little crossover absorbs the road well; something many in this segment cannot boast. It's also relatively quiet on the highway in comparison to others. This is an unusual luxury for the low-priced compact class.
The Easy model, which is the trim level just above the base 500X, starts the technology in this Fiat with a five-inch touchscreen. That includes basic Bluetooth and satellite radio. Two USB ports for charging are also included. This is basic and easy to use, but not very robust. Considering the entry-level price points of these lower trims, however, this is an acceptable amount of infotainment for the segment.
Advanced infotainment is available on the Lounge and Trekking Plus trim levels or as an add-on for some of the lower trims. This upgrades to a 6.5-inch touchscreen with a rearview camera, navigation with real-time traffic, and hi-def radio. This is powered by the Uconnect system found in Chrysler vehicles, one of the easiest-to-use and best infotainment systems on the market. This upgraded infotainment also includes smartphone integrated apps like Yelp and a handful of Internet radio streaming services. WiFi hotspot capability for the car is also an option.
This is an impressive amount of infotainment for the compact segment, but it comes with a price. In the packages that include these technology options, the price tag for the Fiat 500X has climbed to the point where it's competing with higher-end vehicle options.
Fuel Economy (7/10)
Fuel economy in the 2016 Fiat 500X is lower than many in the segment. The base model with its 1.4L engine offers an EPA rating of 28 mpg combined, with 25 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. Every trim level beyond the base model upgrades to a larger four-cylinder engine.
That larger engine, a 2.4L, is EPA rated at 25 mpg combined (22 city, 31 highway) in front-wheel drive and 24 mpg combined (21 city, 30 highway) in all-wheel drive. Our test model was a 2.4L-powered AWD model and our average over a week of driving was 22 mpg after over 500 miles of driving. Our driving was with a heavy highway mix.
Predicted Reliability, Initial Quality Ratings (6/10)
The 2016 Fiat 500X is an all-new model with no precedent to draw from. For this reason, we have little to go with to predict the reliability of the crossover. Fiat as a brand does not have an above-average reputation for dependability and the Jeep brand, which is also responsible for many of the basic underpinnings of the 500X, is also not high on that reliability list.
On the up side, though, there have been no safety recalls associated with the 500X as of the date of this writing. The four-year/50,000-mile warranty that comes standard with the Fiat 500X is a bit better than average.
The 2016 Fiat 500X is one of the few compact crossovers to achieve a Top Safety Pick Plus rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It's unusual for a compact vehicle to receive a top-rated "Good" score on the small overlap frontal crash test, let alone have enough safety technology options to even be eligible for the "Plus" rating. That rating requires advanced crash avoidance such as automatic braking to be available on the vehicle.
The top-most trim levels for the Fiat 500X have forward collision warning, lane departure intervention, rear cross-traffic alerts, and blind-spot monitoring.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not yet crash-tested the Fiat 500X, but we've found that acing the IIHS tests is a good indication that the vehicle will do very well with NHTSA testing as well.
With few exceptions, the compact crossover segment is not generally known for sporty or powerful vehicles. The balance seems to come when the engine is just powerful enough to move the vehicle well but still efficient enough to return great economy. The Fiat 500X achieves the former, being generally peppier than the competition.
The base engine is a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that outputs 160 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. Those familiar with the Fiat 500 family will recognize this engine as well as its six-speed manual transmission, which runs the front wheels. There is no automatic or all-wheel drive option with this powertrain. This engine is only in the base model 500X.
In all other models, including our test drive, the 2016 500X is powered by a more robust 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 180 horses and 175 lb-ft of torque. A nine-speed automatic transmission with front-wheel drive is standard. All-wheel drive is an option. The AWD system magnetically disconnects the rear wheels when AWD is not required and quickly re-engages them when traction dictates.
The 2.4L is not powerful, but it offers an honest band of power output that is steadier and more predictable than that given with the smaller turbocharged 1.4. In the diminutive 500X, the 2.4 is a peppy engine and the nine-speed transmission, which is geared largely for fuel economy, offers plenty of get-up in the lower gears.
On the road, the 2016 Fiat 500X is a confident little drive with a nice feel and naturally nimble nature. Some rivals, such as the Mazda CX-3 or Nissan Juke, are sportier by design, but the 500X is no slouch to drive. It's solid and well-mannered without becoming a brick. It's generally enjoyable for everyday or long-distance trips.
Pricing and Value (7/10)
The base price for the 2016 Fiat 500X is about $20,000, but that gets the buyer very little in terms of accoutrements and niceties. Most budget buyers will likely go with the next level Easy model instead, which is about $23,000 after delivery. This is a little more robust with better amenities, but is no better than average in terms of what you get for the price paid.
For the best bang for the buck in the Fiat 500X, the Lounge model at around $25,000 is the best buy. This trim offers a lot of technology and upscale interior additions while remaining within a reasonable budget for most compact segment buyers.
Total Score and Competitive Comparison (62/80, 77.5%)
The compact crossover segment is becoming very hot and is the fastest-growing segment in automotive right now. Several automakers entered the field in 2015 and 2016, some with extremely compelling offerings that should be cross-shopped with the 500X. The sporty Mazda CX-3 is an excellent choice in this segment, as should the very roomy Honda HR-V. Those who aren't married to the styling of the 500X might also consider its sibling, the roomier Jeep Renegade.
Among these competitors, though, the 2016 Fiat 500X stands out for its signature and unmistakable style, upscale interior appeal, and fun demeanor. This is a thoroughly enjoyable compact crossover that holds its own in a fast-growing segment.
|SUV - AWD|
|Easy||AWD 4dr Easy||4 Cylinder||AWD||24635|
|Trekking||AWD 4dr Trekking||4 Cylinder||AWD||25235|
|Lounge||AWD 4dr Lounge||4 Cylinder||AWD||27035|
|Trekking Plus||AWD 4dr Trekking Plus||4 Cylinder||AWD||29235|
|SUV - FWD|
|Pop||FWD 4dr Pop||4 Cylinder||FWD||20000|
|Easy||FWD 4dr Easy||4 Cylinder||FWD||22735|
|Trekking||FWD 4dr Trekking||4 Cylinder||FWD||23335|
|Lounge||FWD 4dr Lounge||4 Cylinder||FWD||25135|
|Trekking Plus||FWD 4dr Trekking Plus||4 Cylinder||FWD||27335|
|2016 Fiat 500X||MSRP||Invoice|
|2016 Fiat 500x||$20,000||$19,895|
|Similar Cars to Consider||MSRP||Invoice||Compare|
|2016 Jeep Compass||$19,695||$19,587||Fiat 500x VS Jeep Compass|
|2016 Mazda CX-5||$21,795||$21,183||Fiat 500x VS Mazda CX-5|
|2016 Dodge Journey||$20,995||$20,902||Fiat 500x VS Dodge Journey|
|2016 Jeep Renegade||$17,995||$17,865||Fiat 500x VS Jeep Renegade|
|2016 Chevrolet Trax||$20,300||$19,488||Fiat 500x VS Chevrolet Trax|
Interested to see how the 2016 Fiat 500X ranks against similar cars in terms of key attributes? Here are the 2016 Fiat 500X rankings for MPG, horsepower, torque, leg room, head room, shoulder room, hip room and so forth.
|1||2016 Chevrolet Trax||30|
|2||2016 Mazda CX-5||27|
|3||2016 Jeep Renegade||25|
|4||2016 Fiat 500x||25|
|5||2016 Jeep Compass||23|
|6||2016 Dodge Journey||20|
|1||2016 Dodge Journey||283|
|2||2016 Mazda CX-5||184|
|3||2016 Fiat 500x||180|
|4||2016 Jeep Renegade||180|
|5||2016 Jeep Compass||172|
|6||2016 Chevrolet Trax||138|
|1||2016 Dodge Journey||260|
|2||2016 Mazda CX-5||185|
|3||2016 Fiat 500x||175|
|4||2016 Jeep Renegade||175|
|5||2016 Jeep Compass||165|
|6||2016 Chevrolet Trax||148|
|1||2016 Jeep Renegade||41.1|
|2||2016 Dodge Journey||40.8|
|3||2016 Mazda CX-5||40.1|
|4||2016 Jeep Compass||39.9|
|5||2016 Chevrolet Trax||39.6|
|6||2016 Fiat 500x||39.1|
|1||2016 Fiat 500x||41.4|
|2||2016 Jeep Renegade||41.2|
|3||2016 Mazda CX-5||41.0|
|4||2016 Dodge Journey||40.8|
|5||2016 Chevrolet Trax||40.8|
|6||2016 Jeep Compass||40.6|
|1||2016 Mazda CX-5||57.5|
|2||2016 Dodge Journey||57.5|
|3||2016 Jeep Renegade||55.9|
|4||2016 Jeep Compass||54.6|
|5||2016 Fiat 500x||54.3|
|6||2016 Chevrolet Trax||54.1|
|1||2016 Mazda CX-5||55.2|
|2||2016 Dodge Journey||53.8|
|3||2016 Fiat 500x||53.3|
|4||2016 Jeep Renegade||53.1|
|5||2016 Jeep Compass||52.3|
|6||2016 Chevrolet Trax||51.7|