Fiat 500X

Sexier than ever, Fiat’s old school 500X will surprise you

Dunlop Sort Maxx

An old hand in one of the busiest car segments out there, Fiat has handed its venerable 500X yet another lease of life. It will need that to take on the likes Toyota’s all-new Urban Cruiser and its Suzuki clone being launched right now, the Volkswagen T Roc, Hyundai Venue, Kia Sonet and Ford EcoSport, if that’s still a thing. But this Fiat certainly stands out among them.

Unlike the previous lockdown update, the bulbous bug eyed X finally benefits the looks to mark it out as the pumped up 5-door Fiat 500 it really is. Still a rounded peg amongst a horde of squared off rivals chasing that critical market hole, a few small changes really have made this Sport model pop this time around.

Fiat 500X


It never took much to achieve that. Just a few small lighting, wheel and trim changes come together to make a surprisingly big difference. 500 logo daytime running lights bring X in line with that six-year old 500 facelift at last, to deliver a fresh new look. Unique triple layer lighting also stands it apart by night. Revised body trim, wheel arch mouldings, side skirts and those sexy new 19-inch wheels bring a far more dynamic, and sexy appeal to this truly solid package.

Our flagship 500X Sport tester even had an Extended Soft Top, as they call it. A typically Fiat cool electric canvas roof. it folds back at the touch of a button at speeds up to 100 km/h. Unlike the smaller 500C, this one doesn’t slip all the way down the rear window, but rather retains the X’s 5-door convenience. To deliver true open top motoring, without too much wind in the hair.

Talking about 5-door convenience, 500X boasts a boot that will swallow up a remarkable 245 litres of baggage. It’s deep, broad, and tall enough to stack four sizeable personal bags in alongside each other. Packing it in is easy and boot space is of course expandable to 910 litres with the rear seats folded down. That said, the now ageing 500X is starting to struggle a little for space versus some more contemporary rivals inside. In the back it’s actually not all that much bigger than the normal 500, and surprisingly so.

Fiat 500X


Fiat tells us that the re-imagined 500X focuses on design, comfort, technology, and safety. To that end, there are one or two enhancements to the familiar and albeit austere cabin, too. It gets new titanium style finishes with an Alcantara binnacle shrouding dials with a 3.5” TFT colour cluster behind the techno leather and Alcantara multifunction steering wheel.

It, touch, voice, and lo and behold, real knobs and buttons for the major functions, however activate a most effective, easy to understand and sensible latest spec CarPlay, Auto and Bluetooth compatible Uconnect 7” HD touchscreen infotainment system. That’s a rare and most welcome advantage in this modern age of ridiculous and impossible to understand and use car-to-human interface. Bravo fiat!

All that said, this flagship’s leathery black pews and finishes bring some relief to hard black plastic finishes. Not quite the spirit we have come to expect from its 500 baby sibling, but it still does the job, and does it well, too. The 500X also lacks a little in steering wheel adjustability and to properly accommodate taller drivers. The electric parking brake that proved a touch annoying to some by its inability to automatically switch off.

Road Test


Prod the well concealed start-stop button and the 103 kW 230 Nm 1.4 litre direct injection turbo petrol 500X comes to life, with as little ado as it requires throughout its driving routine. The auto box is efficient enough and 500X pulls away easily and shifts smoothly up through the cogs. Quiet on the move, the engine does however become a bit raspy when asked.

Brisk enough around town, albeit a little inconsistent, 500X managed 100 km/h in just under 10 seconds in our tests – precisely what Fiat promises, along with a 190 km/h top speed. It was easy enough to match Fiat’s combined 5.7 l/100 km claim when we tried, but we averaged closer to seven overall. The 48-litre fuel tank should stretch beyond 700 km between refuels on the open road. The responsive 500X drives well and is above all else, simple to drive.

4 star Euro NCAP safe, the 500X brings six airbags, ABS anti-skid braking with assistance, TSC, hill start assist, tyre pressure monitoring, lane-keeping assist, auto wipers, auto headlights, park distance front and rear, a rear camera and six airbags. In short, it has everything you can wish for at its price bracket.

Road Test


Different to its rice packet rivals, the Fiat 500X sets itself apart in a Raquel Welch kind of a way. It may be a bit old school, but it’s still Italian, sexy, and individual. 500X also packs an impressive standard specification and a truly usable car to man interface. Overall, it may lack in one or two areas, but this Fiat beats many of its rivals in the most surprising of ways. Don’t overlook the Italian one. It will probably surprise you too. – Michele Lupini

Test & Images: Giordano Lupini

ROAD TESTED: Fiat 500X 1.4T Sport EST
Engine: 103 kW 230 Nm 1.4-litre I4 turbo
Drive: 6-speed Manual FWD
0-60 km/h:        4.47 sec
0-100 km/h:       9.80 sec
0-120 km/h:       13.95 sec
0-160 km/h:       27.61 sec
0-400m:           17.1 sec @ 133 km/h
80-120 km/h:      7.03 sec
120-160km/h       13.66 sec
VMax:             190 km/h
Fuel:             5.7 l/100km
CO2:              133 g/km
Range:            840 km
Warranty/Service: 5y 100K/3-y 60K km
PRICE:            R580K
RATED:            8
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