April 27th, 2015 at 3:00pm
Seat Time is a chance for us to share our impressions of vehicles being tested in the Autoline Garage and at media previews from around the globe.
Reviewer: Seamus McElroy
Manufacturer: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
Type: Compact Crossover
Competitors: Nissan Juke, Kia Soul, Chevy Trax, Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3
Price: Starts: $20,900. Top: $28,000. As tested: $24,900
Made in: Melfi, Italy
Drivetrain: 1.4L four-cylinder w/ 6-speed manual. 2.4L four-cylinder w/ 9-speed automatic.
EPA Ratings: Not Available
Fiat’s new compact crossover, the 500X, is entering one of the hottest segments and one that’s about to get even more competitive. The Chevy Trax just hit the market plus Honda and Mazda are set to introduce their own small CUV’s. The 500X is built in Italy alongside the Jeep Renegade which it shares a platform with. But it’s not just a rebadged Jeep, the styling is completely different and the Fiat doesn’t have the off-road capability that the Renegade does. But it’s still a bit surprising to see that the 500X has a starting price that’s $2,000 more than the Jeep. $18,000 vs. $20,000. Even though it will be sold in 100 countries, this is the first Fiat developed for the North American market.
The 500X is much larger than the regular 500 and has its own unique styling, but you’ll instantly recognize it as part of the family. Much like MINI does with its models. The nose, clamshell hood and air intake are reminiscent to the 500. But there are some cues that help set the X apart from the others in the 500 line-up. The headlights are more rounded and it has a higher ground clearance plus wheel arches. The interior has a simple layout which makes it easy to use infotainment and climate controls. There are 3 different screen sizes to choose, ranging from 3 to 6.5 inches. It doesn’t feel like you’re in a compact, you sit a bit higher than you normally would in a car that size. And there’s a decent amount of room for passengers in the rear, for your legs and head, but you wouldn’t want to sit back there for a long road trip.