2017 Fiat 500x: Automotive l’amour for sure!

8 Sep 2017 | 1,142 views | No Comment
By Don Hammonds One of the great mysteries of the automotive industry that really stumps me is why Fiat doesn't sell more cars. Every time I pick up the paper or read industry news, it seems that Fiat sales are steadily dropping. But one bright star for me--and I think it may well prove to be a godsend for the brand--is the little 500x crossover. Its a really fun looking, sexy car that does what it is supposed to do quite well, and provides some strong Italian design pizzazz while doing it. [caption id="attachment_9048" align="alignnone" width="675"] 2017 Fiat 500X Trekking[/caption] The first thing that I always notice and appreciate with the 500x is that the controls are large and easy to read.  I know the vast majority of people who buy these cars are the young at heart, youthful millenials and others, but the friendliness and convenient to use nature of the interior could make the 500x a big hit with older people as well. You don't need to strain to see everything and the interior itself is nothing short of gorgeous.  It clearly has that Italian flair, and employs some of the same themes found in Italian cars for decades--all to the advantage of the 500x itself. But I do hope you are pretty limber and flexible because you will need it with the rear seat.  Even kids have trouble getting in and getting settled.  Legroom is particularly a problem. But if you do get in it and feel reasonably comfortable, just sit back and enjoy the wonderful sound system-- strictly high quality. And while I am handing out kudos, how about Uconnect, the infotainment and Nav system?  STILL the best around in the industry, and every time I get a FCA product, it's time to rejoice because I know I won't be fussing and fiddling around with everything. But the real fun comes when you are driving the 500X.  You will feel like you've hit a friendly racecourse with this one.  It handles like it's glued to the road, its totally predictable in terms of behavior and Driving it?  What a treat!  It handles like a bobsled--this car goes precisely where you want it to go, and it feels pretty light for an all wheel drive vehicle. Steering and parking is a snap, but visibility in the rear can be a bit limiting. Fuel economy? Eh.  So-so continuing the size and weight. It has gotten somewhat better than last year at 25 overall, 22 city and 30 highway. That's a mile or two per gallon more than last year, but still nothing to write home about, to be honest. Still, you expect such a relatively small car to do better than that. You will spend $250 more in fuel costs over five years with this car, compared to the average vehicle, and going 100 miles requires 4.0 gallons.  Annual fuel costs is $1,450 based on $2.45 a gallon gasoline. Our Arancio Orange test model, a 500x Trekking AWD, had a base price of $23,350 with plenty of standard equipment. Price as tested was $28,410. Standard safety equipment included electric park brake, remote start system, dynamic control selector, electronic stability control,  Parkview Rear Back-Up Camera; ParkSense Rear Assist system; blind spot and cross path Detection, and the usual host of airbags. The 2017 Fiat 500X is a subcompact five-passenger crossover SUV offered in three trim levels: Pop, Trekking and Lounge. The Pop comes only with front-wheel drive, and Trekking and Lounge are offered with front- or all-wheel drive. Standard equipment on the Pop model includes 16-inch steel wheels, full power accessories, heated mirrors, remote locking and unlocking, cruise control, air-conditioning, a driver information display, height-adjustable front seats, a fold-flat front passenger seat, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a four-speaker sound system with an auxiliary audio jack and a USB port. Remote engine start and keyless entry and ignition are included if the 2.4-liter engine is ordered. All-wheel-drive models also get 17-inch alloy wheels and a center armrest. Optional for the Pop is the Popular Equipment package, which adds alloy wheels, automatic headlights, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, a leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel, front and rear floor mats, a 5-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a six-speaker audio system, satellite radio and an additional USB port (charging only). A Popular Equipment package is also available for the Trekking, adding roof rails, a rearview camera, dual-zone climate control, ambient interior lighting, an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat (with four-way power lumbar) and a four-way power passenger seat. The Cold Weather package adds a windshield de-icer, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. A navigation system is packaged with a 6.5-inch touchscreen and HD radio. The Lounge includes all of the above options plus an auto-dimming rearview mirror, an eight-speaker audio system and a rear cargo cover. There are two more packages available on both Trekking and Lounge models. The Advanced Safety package adds automatic high-beam control, automatic wipers, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, a forward collision warning system with automatic braking, rear parking sensors, and lane departure warning and intervention. The Premium package adds 18-inch wheels, a dual-pane sunroof and a nine-speaker Beats premium audio system. You can also get leather seating for the Trekking and Lounge as a standalone option. To be honest, I've loved the 500x since it was introduced.  I would be perfectly happy to buy one--or more--for our driveway.  After all, given the variety, the charm, the plethora of colors and fabrics, I don't think I could buy just one--too tough a decision!

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