Parkers overall rating: 1.5 out of 5 1.5
  • Just a single hybrid option
  • No diesel, petrol or plug-in options
  • Seven-speed DCT as standard

Fiat’s push to electrify its entire range means the only powertrain available for the 500X is the relatively new Hybrid model. This is, to put it bluntly, a rather half-arsed attempt at building a hybrid powertrain.

For a start, it only runs at 48 volts, while most rival systems are 200 volts or more. This limits the amount of power the electric system can put out, and as a result the electric motor only generates about 15hp on its own. This means that while the combined system output is 130hp the vast majority of that is provided by the car’s 1.5-litre petrol engine.

If you really feather the throttle, you can force the car to set off under electric power, but the petrol engine soon kicks in. It means that while the 500X is technically a ‘full’ hybrid, it’s much more similar to mild hybrid rivals like the Ford Puma to drive.

It’s much more difficult to drive smoothly than the Puma, though, mainly due to the brake pedal which is inconsistent and doesn’t manage the change between regenerative and friction braking very well. Even with steady pressure you can find yourself jerking to a halt.

The seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox is another issue, being rather rough around town though it does smooth out once you get a bit faster.

In short, the hybrid powertrain is rather a poor show – almost as bad as the 1.6-litre E-Tech system in the Renault Arkana, but without the benefit of being particularly efficient.

What’s it like to drive?

  • Not particularly sporty
  • Body roll well contained
  • For fun, look elsewhere

The Fiat 500X isn’t a particularly sporty car but it does handle tidily with nice direct steering and a minimum of body roll considering its higher ride height. It strikes a good balance for a car of this type – not so compromised by its off-road pretentions as a Jeep Renegade, and not so soft and wallowy that it encourages carsickness.

If you want a fun car to drive you’d do better looking elsewhere, though. A Ford Puma handles far better and a Peugeot 2008 is more comfortable.