Driven: 2017 Fiat 500 X Cross Plus Review
We tested the Fiat 500 X Cross Plus. This is what we learned about this small but practical crossover:
What is the 2017 Fiat 500 X Cross Plus all About?
As you might expect, the 500 X is derived from the Fiat 500. Straight away, you can tell it has a bigger, bulkier off-road look. Fiat offers both city and off-road versions. Here, we are testing the off-road Look Cross Plus.
The Fiat 500 X looks very good in it’s crossover format. I think the proportions of the car have been beautifully designed. It is clearly from the 500 family and its new looks slot into the traditional Fiat body shape.
The car we tested had a 2.0-litre diesel engine which creates 140 PS and 350 NM of torque. This power reaches all the wheels through a 9-speed automatic gearbox. This means that the car is capable of doing 0 to 60mph in 9.8 seconds and will reach a top speed of 118 mph.
How Does it Drive?
The Fiat 500 X is a lot different to what I expected. Rather than driving like a micro SUV, the car feels more like a hatchback. However, this doesn’t mean you miss out on all of those SUV benefits.
Behind the wheel, it is actually very enjoyable, as driver experiences go in a small SUV. It features a chunky steering wheel and a large gear stick to put the car into drive. All the controls feel relatively lightweight, making the car easy to maneuver around the city. Meanwhile, on the motorway, it is well balanced and maintains a straight line.
Sticking with the motorway setting, the Fiat 500 X has a very nifty system called lane assist. As the name suggests, this helps you stay in your lane. If you stray outside the lane, the car will encourage you back to the centre with an adjustment via the steering wheel. This valuable feature helps you to drive safely on the motorway, when tiredness or boredom has set in.
Other clever features include the blind spot detection system. This will identify if a vehicle is in your blind spot and an amber light will appear on the mirror on the side where the obstacle is. If you indicate your intention to move to a busy lane, you will be on the receiving end of a loud beep making you aware of the potential danger. These extra safety features are useful, but some may find them oversensitive.
Regarding the 2.0-litre diesel engine that powers the 500 X; it does feel a bit ordinary. However, you have to remember that this is a highly-efficient engine inside a relatively tall car, so with that in mind, it does pretty well. The Fiat 500 X 2.0-litre MultiJet engine genuinely delivers high mpg. During my testing, I drove on both the motorway and in the city centre. In both environments, it handled really well and it makes perfect sense to match the engine with that 9-speed automatic gearbox.
What is it Like Inside?
The interior of the Fiat 500 X is one of my favourite features, after the external styling. The inside looks fantastic. It is very boldly designed, has a chunky look and feels like it will wear well over time. The inside of the cabin is very spacious considering the total size of the car.
The vehicle uses a touchscreen with colour graphics which works well with the menus. Everything is at your fingertips: including DAB radio, Bluetooth phone integration and SatNav. However, the basic screen size looks a bit small with your average phone screen being around the same size.
I love the feel of this off-road look Fiat 500 X. It is bigger and beefier than the standard 500 and offers more practicalities. But it also captures the fun elements from the smaller, less practical car.
The additional space makes a huge difference and the chunkier looks make the 500 X appeal to those that like the stylish continental vibes but need more from their vehicle. The 500 X looks like Fiat have listened to the needs of their customers and come up with a credible solution that is well suited to the brand.
2017 Fiat 500 X Cross Plus
- Price: £28,470
- Engine: 2.0-litre Turbocharged Diesel
- Power: 140 hp
- Torque: 350Nm
- Transmission: 9-Speed automatic
- 0-62mph: 9.8 Seconds
- Top speed: 118 mph
- Weight: 1,320 kg
- Economy: 51 mpg
- CO2: 114 g/km
Author: Paul Hadley