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Parkers overall rating: 3.8 out of 5 3.8

Low-cost Italian SUV that doesn't look like and SUV

Fiat 500X (15 on) - rated 3.8 out of 5
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PROS

  • Solid and fun to drive
  • Cheap to finance and run
  • Practical for its size
  • Decent safety tech

CONS

  • Not meant to be an off-roader
  • Front seats lack side support
  • Sat-nav on top models is slow
  • Getting on a bit now, with old-tech

At a glance

New price £17,180 - £24,615
Lease from new From £217 per month
Used price £4,600 - £17,855
Used monthly cost £113 - £440
Fuel economy 42 - 68 mpg
Road tax cost £20 - £200
Insurance group 5 - 16 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • Solid and fun to drive
  • Cheap to finance and run
  • Practical for its size
  • Decent safety tech

CONS

  • Not meant to be an off-roader
  • Front seats lack side support
  • Sat-nav on top models is slow
  • Getting on a bit now, with old-tech

Fiat 500X rivals

The Fiat 500X is a small, retro-styled SUV that looks curvaceous in a way that few other rivals manage to pull off successfully. It's no surprise - given its urbane looks - that it's more at home on the tarmac than tough terrain, though. In fact, the Italian firm recognised that fact when the 500X was facelifted in 2018, when it ditched the previously available 4x4 system in favour of selling exclusively front-wheel drive cars. Diesels were dropped at the same time in response to the rapid reduction in sales of smaller cars with such engines in the wake of the Dieselgate fiasco.

The Fiat 500X finds itself in avery congested part of the market, with lots of rival small family cars vying for your attention. But the Fiat's good looks andcool image mean that it stands out to some extent. Main rivals are other small crossovers such as the MINI Countryman, Vauxhall Mokka X, Peugeot 2008, Mazda CX-3 and Volkswagen T-Roc as well as more conventional small hatchbacks, such as the Ford Fiesta, SEAT Ibiza and Vauxhall Corsa.

It's so more than just a jacked-up 500

Its closest competition is undoubtedly the Jeep Renegade, though. That car and the 500X are built together on the same production line in Italy, with the very same underpinnings. So while Fiat makes use of the ‘500’ moniker in its name, this isn’t an evolution of that successful small hatchback. The X is a bigger car in all respects, and in many it’s a better one, too.

It’s certainly more practical than the 500 – there’s space for four adults to fit easily, while the boot measures a useful 350 litres, which makes it as big as hatchbacks from the next size up. It’s not as entertaining to drive as its smaller city-dwelling sibling either, but don’t let that put you off because the Fiat 500X is still a fun car.

Sharp, responsive steering helps immeasurably here, but thankfully the suspension has been configured with comfort in mind as well as fast cornering. It feels like a solid-yet-premium offering, inside and out. We found a few faults, however – the seats lack side support, while the sat-nav on top-spec models was so slow we missed a few junctions when driving in a city centre.

Diesels and 4x4 dropped in 2018 facelift for Fiat 500X

With a simplified engine and trim level range following the facelift in 2018, there’s still decent personalisation on offer, including things like contrasting seats and body-coloured interior trims. The diesel engines and option of four-wheel drive were dropped from the range during this update, while lots more safety and driver-assistance kit was added.

Sadly, it won’t be reassessed by Euro NCAP, so while it’s safer, it’ll retain its four-star rating awarded in 2015. Engines available consist of two petrols - a 1.0-litre turbo with 120hp or a 1.3-litre turbo with 150hp. Trim levels available consist of Urban, City Cross, S-Design and Cross Plus.

What's it like inside?

Fiat 500X dashboard

Forget any notion of this being a poorly-built Italian car – it's a nice place in which to spend time, with decent-quality materials and appealingly-styled cabin. The retro styling theme is carried on inside, with lashings of body-coloured panels, and some very lively seat trims to keep you entertained. And overall, you come away feeling that this is a youthful, refreshing car.

There are lots of personalisation options to make the 500X truly yours. Although the Mopar branding Fiat uses is supposed to tie in with 1960s American musclecars, the roof racks and bike carriers on offer are highly functional. The same can't be said for the decals and styling parts on offer as well.

Coming back to the standard 500X, it's a car that majors on style and fun, cashing in on the popularity of the smaller Fiat 500. We can understand why Fiat has built a car that looks so much like its smaller cousin, but is much more practical and usable.

But is its undoubted cheeky charm enough to see off the myriad of rivals it's up against in the small family SUV market sector? Read on for the full review to find out.

Fiat 500X rear view

Fiat 500X rivals