FIAT 500X POP STAR

The Advertiser - Motoring - - HEAD TO HEAD -

VALUE

If you can do with­out the open-air feel, the Fiat rep­re­sents bet­ter value. It’s $1500 cheaper but gets stan­dard sat­nav, more safety gear and an in­te­rior that looks more up-mar­ket. It also gets key­less en­try and push-but­ton start and matches the Rene­gade’s elec­tric park­ing brake, auto wipers and auto head­lights. Ser­vic­ing is sig­nif­i­cantly cheaper, at $1346 over three years.

DE­SIGN/TECH

The Rene­gade looks like a mini-Chero­kee, but the 500X looks more like an over­sized hatch than a baby SUV. In­side, the Fiat swaps the Jeep’s rugged, durable theme for a racier look that in­cludes twotone black and red seats, faux car­bon-fi­bre in­serts and a sporty, flat-bot­tomed steer­ing wheel. It gets stan­dard sat­nav and big­ger cen­tre screen but no auto cli­mate con­trol or sun­roof.

EN­GINE

Driv­e­train is com­mon with the Jeep but the 500X uses slightly less fuel, claim­ing 5.7L/100km to the Jeep’s 5.9L. The 500X has a “mood se­lec­tor” to al­ter en­gine, trans­mis­sion and steer­ing re­sponses. Auto mode is bi­ased to fuel ef­fi­ciency, while sport mode gives live­lier throt­tle, sharper steer­ing and sportier gearshifts, hold­ing on to lower gears. All-weather mode gives max­i­mum trac­tion.

SAFETY

The 500X scored four stars to the Rene­gade’s five in Euro NCAP test­ing but the crash per­for­mance was al­most iden­ti­cal. It was marked down for not hav­ing au­to­matic emer­gency brak­ing on most mod­els, where the Jeep did. Nei­ther gets the tech here. The 500X has blind-spot warn­ing and rear cross-traf­fic alert.

DRIV­ING

De­spite the shared un­der­pin­nings, the ride is quite dif­fer­ent — the Rene­gade deals well with speed humps, cor­ru­ga­tions and pot­holes but the 500X sus­pen­sion is bouncy and fid­gety, with more sus­pen­sion and road noise. Ad­justable drive set­tings make it the pick for spir­ited driv­ing.

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