Fiat 500X 1.0 120 Cross Plus
Last year wasn’t the best for the Fiat 500X. During the course of 2017, UK sales of the steroidal, crossover-type cousin to the 500 supermini plummeted 66% compared with 2016. Fewer than 5000 examples left dealer forecourts.
This obviously proved to be something of a kick up the backside for Fiat, as the Italian manufacturer has wasted no time in releasing this new facelifted model.
There are some minor styling changes, but it’s what’s going on beneath that retro exterior and within the cabin that warrants the most attention. Diesel engines and four-wheel drive have been dropped from the UK line-up, and Brits can now choose from two petrol engines: a 1.0-litre three-pot, driven here, or a 1.3-litre four-cylinder.
Equipment levels have been given a boost, with additional active safety systems offered as standard, and a 7.0in touchscreen with Apple Carplay and Android Auto is included in the £16,995 starting price.
The cabin is fairly standard for the class – there are plenty of soft-touch plastics and room in the back is snug without being overly tight – but there are areas where the 500X is starting to show its age, such as the integration of the ventilation and air-con controls. It’s not an offensive interior but it doesn’t stand out either.
There’s enough poke from the 1.0-litre engine to ensure it doesn’t feel totally gutless, and it’ll pull reasonably strongly from about 2200rpm. Because it’s paired with a manual gearbox, you have a good amount of control over it too. It’s reasonably quiet and refined under load and at a cruise as well.
The ride, meanwhile, is a touch firm and there’s a degree of jostle prevalent at low speeds. This stiffer set-up does make for reasonably impressive body control through bends, which you turn into with little in the way of communication from the otherwise nicely weighted and sufficiently direct steering rack.
The 500X is a likeable enough car, but one that’s not quite as wellrounded as its rivals. A Volkswagen T-roc or Seat Arona would still be this tester’s pick.
Even base models get a 7.0in touchscreen with Apple and Android phone mirroring