Mini Mix

Small cars have more fun. Fiat’s 500X is neat but perfectly formed for a sporty little ride

Before buying Sachins I used to own a franchise of Domino’s Pizza. I delivered pizzas every day so an economical and nippy car was the order of the day. The first car was the Fiat Cinquento. This purple flying machine was the ideal car for deliveries. I think the engine may have been around one litre but in this very light car it actually felt like a formula one motor!  After it went the journey I decided to stick with a Fiat and I changed to the Punto; a bigger car with a larger engine.

Going from a purple pocket rocket to what felt like a limousine in comparison, the Punto was a nice enough car to drive. It was also fitted with a city button; pressing this button lightened the steering and it made parking very easy indeed. The Punto was nowhere near as much fun as the Cinquento, but that’s the price you pay for comfort.

Fiat has always been an expert at making small cars, from the original 500 to the Panda they have continuously managed to make fantastic cars. The latest 500 has been a real sales success for Fiat, with over 200,000 being sold in the UK alone.

This brings me on to the car I have been driving. The Fiat 500X is a bit like a normal 500 that has been to the gym; it’s much more of a macho looking car compared to the girly 500. The 500X shares the same platform and mechanical hardware as the Jeep Renegade. The car’s competitors are the Nissan Juke, Vauxhall Mokka, Renault Captur and the Mini Countryman.

Fiat think the front wheel drive cars will be the biggest sellers in the range but a 4-wheel drive model is also available, called the 500X cross plus. There are also two other models available called Pop, Pop Star and Lounge. None of these models have the same amount of macho mouldings and skid plates that the Cross Plus models have. Potential owners have the choice of four engines; three petrol engines and one diesel. The best seller is going to be the diesel; it gets to 62mph in 10.5 seconds and it will do an amazing 69.9 mpg. The petrol 1.4lt engine is also not only cheaper to buy, but it is also much more refined. It gets to 62mph in 9.8 seconds and it returns a very respectable 49.6mpg. A six speed manual gearbox is standard and is a very nice box to use indeed; owners also have the option of a 6-speed dual clutch automatic gearbox.

All cars come with a touch screen infotainment system which includes Bluetooth and music streaming, air con, electric windows, iPod connectivity. Higher spec cars also get a 6.5” screen and SatNav, alloy wheels, parking sensors, drive mode selector, Bi Xenon lights and keyless entry. The car’s cabin is much more mature with retro metal handles and elegantly integrated satnav. A body coloured decor strip runs along the dash and Cross Plus models get a textured finish.

There is plenty of space throughout the cabin and rear seat passengers have enough room on long journeys. The pelican beak door bins are much wider than normal bins. Thanks to the height of the car there is plenty of headroom throughout the car. The boot is a decent size, but loading anything big or heavy can be quite hard as it is quite a height to load anything. Driving at speed you can’t but help notice the wind gush around the windows – another strange noise came from the rear suspension!

Driving this along country roads and you’ll notice how well it grips the road and resists under steer and body roll for a cross over vehicle. Pushing it through corners at speed and the ESP interventions are very subtle indeed, leaving the driver to have fun. The steering does feel quite woolly, especially with some animated driving but change the cars setting to sport and it firms up and becomes much more responsive. The driver and passenger get a great view of the road thanks to the ride height.

Another thing I noticed was cars fitted with 17” alloys had a much smoother ride compared to the ones fitted with 18” alloys. The cars with the bigger alloys just looked more sporty but be prepared for a choppy ride! The 500X is a great car for anyone looking for something a little bit different; it is priced from £14595 – £20845. With Fiat’s pedigree for making small cars you just can’t go wrong.


Car from Richard Hardie Silverlink | richardhardie.co.uk

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