Fiat's first legitimate crossover, the compact 500X adds a touch of ruggedness and some much-needed utility to a lineup otherwise populated by charming anti-cars. It's the most mainstream Fiat model to date, offering an array of safety and comfort features fully aligned with American tastes.

Pricing and Equipment

The 500X follows the typical Fiat model structure:

  • The Pop lists for $20,000, which includes basics such as air conditioning and power windows and locks. A 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and six-speed manual transmission come standard. There are no option packages for the Pop, but you can add a more powerful 2.4-liter engine and automatic for $1,500.
  • Upgrading to the Easy at $22,300 gets you the larger engine and automatic, plus some extra equipment like keyless entry and an in-dash touchscreen.
  • Next up is the Trekking at $23,100, which tacks on automatic headlamps, foglamps, a color info display and satin chrome exterior trim.
  • The $24,859 Lounge is equipped like the Easy, but with a bundle of extra comfort and convenience features such as navigation, heated front seats, an upgraded climate control system and the Unconnect infotainment interface. Leather upholstery is available.
  • Priced at $27,100, Trekking Plus combines the features of the Trekking and Lounge, then adds 18-inch wheels, rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring and standard leather seating.

All-wheel drive can be added to all models except the Pop for $1,900. Most equipment found on the line-topping Trekking Plus is available on lesser trims through a series of option packages starting at just $200. Optional on all models above the Pop are a panoramic sunroof, forward collision alert with automatic braking, lane departure warning and a Beats sound system.

Performance Pros

The Pop's 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder makes 160 horsepower and comes only with a six-speed manual. Optional on the Pop and standard everywhere else is a 180-horsepower 2.4-liter turbo and nine-speed automatic transmission.

Performance highlights include:

  • Steering/handling: With quick steering and a pleasantly firm suspension, the 500x tackles curves with more confidence than more entry-level crossovers.
  • Braking: We always appreciate a firm brake pedal. You don't have to push through any mush to get a strong response.
  • All-wheel drive: The 500x's system engages without any hesitation or racket.

Performance Cons

  • The automatic transmission is slow to downshift (no doubt to converse fuel), which means we sometimes had to mash the pedal to get power we needed.
  • The 2.4-liter engine, which Fiat estimates will power 95% of models sold, returns 25 mpg in combined driving, a so-so figure for the smallest class of crossover.

Interior Pros

  • Interior design is among the most inspired in this class, beautifully functional and not afraid to be different.
  • The available height-adjustable cargo floor and folding passenger seat make the 500x even better at handling loads than its healthy 51 cubic feet of space suggests.

Interior Cons

  • Rear legroom is on the stingy side. Front passengers will have to move their seats forward to reasonably accommodate adults in back.
  • The panoramic sunroof would be a desirable option if it didn't cut down on headroom so much, even in front.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

The 500x is hands-down attractive inside and out. Few vehicles offer so much visual punch for the price.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

Although it shares its all-wheel drive system with the Jeep Renegade, the 500x isn't equipped to handle off-road obstacles.

The Bottom Line

The 500x brings new style and personality to a class that could use a dose of both.