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Overview (Final Score: C)
The 2017 Fiat 500X continues from the compact crossover’s introduction last year. Meant for a global market, the 500X is built alongside the Jeep Renegade, with which it shares some components and underpinnings. The Fiat 500X is aimed at a more refined audience, with its unmistakable Italian looks mixed with contemporary styling.
The five-seat 2017 500X has two engine options – front-wheel or all-wheel drive – and three trim levels. Package options can add to each trim’s basic accouterments. Options include some advanced safety and driver’s aid technology, as well as infotainment upgrades.
The fastest-growing automotive segment is the compact crossover market and the Fiat 500X is definitely a solid entry. It’s very Italian in appeal and definitely has its high points. Shoppers should consider needs versus desires, as many standard expectations for the compact cross segment may not be met by the Fiat 500X.
What We Love About the 2017 Fiat 500X:
- Upscale interior with good materials and sound levels
- Unusual and fun styling that’s over the top
- Good driving experience with a great around-town presence
What We Don’t Love About the 2017 Fiat 500X:
- Fuel economy could be better
- Cargo space and rear seating is cramped, even for a compact
- Engine can feel underpowered on the highway
Performance in the 2017 Fiat 500X is a bit mixed. The base model is very underpowered with its engine straight out of the standard 500 model. That 1.4-liter 4-cylinder is only rated at 160 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque and despite its turbocharging, just seems weak for the bigger 500X. Especially on the highway or when passing.
A 6-speed automatic transmission is standard with this engine and front-wheel drive is mandatory. We give the little 1.4 props for its peppiness around town, as well as its relatively good fuel economy. For those who don’t spend much time on the highway and prefer the low-cost base model 500X, this engine is not a serious drag.
Upgrading to either of the trim levels past the base Pop brings a bigger, more usable engine to the 500X. The 2.4-liter Tigershark, common throughout the Fiat-Chrysler lineup, brings 180 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque. That seems like a wash compared to the 1.4 turbo, but is coming naturally and, because of the larger displacement, in a broader RPM band. That means steadier delivery of power, especially at higher speeds.
Helping that is a very well done 8-speed automatic transmission, which keeps shifting smooth and progress steady as speeds increase. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is an option in any 500X equipped with the 2.4L engine.
The bigger engine translates to more confidence on the highway with freeway speeds being easily achieved and passing lane maneuvers coming without much struggle. The transmission with the larger engine is a bit hesitant to downshift, being tuned for fuel economy rather than sportiness. Still, the 2017 Fiat 500X is a good drive with solid handling dynamics and a well-done suspension in most circumstances.
Pricing and Value (7/10)
The 2017 500X has only three trim levels, as opposed to the five offered last year. This means that more of the available options are in packages rather than trim points. The base model comes with very little in terms of equipment and accoutrements and is priced a bit higher than the average for the segment. Upgrading to the next trim level is spendy, but comes with a lot of equipment added plus the better 2.4L engine and transmission.
We’d recommend that buyers consider the 2017 Fiat 500X Trekking model with the Popular Equipment package for its high level of amenities and reasonable price point. The AWD upgrade is only worth having if the weather routinely goes sour and is otherwise a drag on fuel economy. It will also not be likely affect the resale value of the 500X down the line one way or another.
At the top level with all of the goodies included, the price point for the 2017 500X nears that of entry-level luxury crossovers, making it possible to cross shop, which we’d recommend at that spending point.
Total Score and Competitive Comparison (62/80, 77%)
There is no shortage of competitors in the fast-growing sub- and compact-crossover segments.
Shoppers should consider the Mazda CX-3, which is very sporty and much roomier than the 500X. The roomy but design-lacking Honda HR-V is another option with similar strengths to the Fiat. The Fiat 500X’s sibling Jeep Renegade may also be a choice if standout looks are the preference and fun times are the goal.
Compared to those options, the 2017 Fiat 500X is compelling because of its unique styling, European credibility and high safety standard. It is an excellent around-town vehicle that, with the upgraded 2.4L engine, becomes a good highway drive as well. The 500X is enjoyable and stylish, which are both points that win over many in this segment.
Read the FULL REVIEW Now to get expert tips on the 2017 Fiat 500X’s safety, reliability, fuel economy, interior, exterior, technology and more.