STYLE AND SUB­STANCE: THE FIAT 500X GETS A TECH-DRIVEN UP­GRADE

Fiat’s 500X, a mix of the fa­mously funky city car and a larger cross­over-style ve­hi­cle, has re­ceived a model up­date for 2018.

Belfast Telegraph - NI Carfinder - - Front Page -

WHAT’S NEW?

The Fiat 500X was the Ital­ian brand’s first ven­ture into cross­over ter­ri­tory.

By tak­ing its chic 500 city car and blend­ing it to the un­der­pin­nings of a larger car – the same plat­form used for sta­ble­mate the Jeep Rene­gade – it cre­ated a stylish yet prac­ti­cal small cross­over car (i.e. it ‘crosses over’ from small hatch­back seg­ment into to small SUV ter­ri­tory.)

It could eas­ily have been bun­gled, but in­stead Fiat pulled it off and the 500X is a fam­ily-friendly op­tion for those who value style as well as sub­stance.

New for 2018, the 500X has had a sig­nif­i­cant re­fresh which in­volves a more ap­peal­ing new look and the ad­di­tion of ex­ten­sive new tech­nol­ogy.

So it’s now tech­no­log­i­cally smart as well as good-look­ing. Plus the range has been sim­pli­fied.

LOOKS AND IM­AGE

The retro looks of the 500 – which was a smash hit for Fiat – were car­ried across to the 500X de­spite the sig­nif­i­cantly big­ger size of the cross­over.

It now comes in two styles, the ‘Ur­ban Look’ and ‘Cross Look’, and there’s a funky slider on the Fiat web­site to let you see the sub­tle dif­fer­ences.

Per­son­ally, I pre­fer Cross, which is slightly more rugged, with a mode se­lec­tor on 4x4 ver­sions to help with dif­fer­ent ter­rains.

That said, most driv­ers will prob­a­bly plump for the 2WD mod­els; they’re ca­pa­ble, effi-

cient and if you’re not plan­ning any mud-plug­ging or off-road­ing they’ll suit your life­style.

CABIN AND TRIM LEV­ELS

The cabin has been re­freshed, although it’s not a mil­lion miles away from the pre­vi­ous look, which was a nice mix­ture of the retro and the new.

The range has been sim­pli­fied, with Pop, Pop Star and Lounge com­pet­ing with Cross and City Cross vari­ants

The com­pre­hen­sive stan­dard equip­ment lev­els can be boosted with the ad­di­tion of a num­ber of packs, such as the Cold Weather pack, which comes with a heated steer­ing wheel, heated front seats and heated wiper area, or the City pack to add elec­tri­cally fold­ing and heated door mir­rors and rear park­ing cam­era.

UN­DER THE BON­NET

You’ll find a good range of en­gine choices un­der the bon­net. Fiat are lead­ers in build­ing ef­fi­cient pow­er­plants not least with their Twinair and Mul­ti­air en­gines.

The petrols come with two three choices in­clud­ing a 109bhp 1.6-litre E-torq and a 138bhp 1.4-litre Turbo Mul­ti­air2 pow­er­plant.

If diesel is your pref­er­ence – you’ll need to be do­ing higher mileage to make it pay, mind – the 118bhp 1.6-litre Mul­ti­jet II is a good choice for 2WD. Even bet­ter, the 138bhp 2.0-litre Mul­ti­jet II comes with the 4WD ver­sion.

Ef­fi­ciency and emis­sions in the less-pow­er­ful en­gines are very good: the 1.6-litre diesel will of­fi­cially give you 68.9mpg, although like any of­fi­cial fig­ure it you’ll strug­gle to repli­cate this in real world con­di­tions. The 1.4-litre Mul­ti­air II Turbo will of­fi­cially re­turn 41.7mpg.

TECH AND SAFETY

The up­dated car of­fers next-gen­er­a­tion Ucon­nect – Fi­ats’ live in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem – with 7-inch high-res­o­lu­tion touch­screen, from the Pop Star trim level up.

The sys­tem of­fers key fea­tures in­clud­ing Blue­tooth in­ter­face with hands-free sys­tem, au­dio stream­ing, text mes­sage reader and voice recog­ni­tion.

The Ucon­nect sys­tem is also avail­able with Ap­ple Carplay to in­te­grate the iphone with the dis­play and na­tive con­trols of the car, al­low­ing the driver to make calls, play mu­sic, send and re­ceive mes­sages, get di­rec­tions op­ti­mised for traf­fic con­di­tions and much more.

For An­droid phone users, An­droid Auto of­fers ac­cess to Google Maps, with voice-guided nav­i­ga­tion, real time traf­fic in­for­ma­tion and lane guid­ance, and Google Play Mu­sic, among other mu­sic ser­vices.

These func­tions al­low driv­ers to make and re­ceive calls and send mes­sages while re­main­ing fo­cused on the road ahead.

PRICES

The Fiat 500X range is avail­able from £15,550 for the en­try-level Pop 1.6 E-torq to £25,250 for a Cross Plus 2.0 Mul­ti­jet 140hp AWD (all-wheel drive).

“You’ll find a good range of en­gine choices un­der the bon­net. Fiat are lead­ers in build­ing ef­fi­cient pow­er­plants not least with their Twinair and Mul­ti­air en­gines.”

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