Cross Plus 1.3 FireFly Auto
week yet another new SUV
goes on sale, making it easy to
overlook the number of already
well-proven SUVs being updated
rather than superseded, many
of which are just as desirable as
AT THE COMPACT END of the SUV market one such revised and refreshed model
range came to the UK at the end of last year the revitalised five-door
compact Fiat 500X, AKA the 'original Italian Crossover'. Although a compact
SUV, it is one of the largest models in the popular Fiat 500 family which also
includes hatchback and convertible city cars, and the 500L small MPV.
For the 2019-model year 500X, in come tweaks to its exterior styling, revised
engines and an auto transmission; out go 4WD and diesel versions. The most noticeable
exterior changes are the new LED headlights, LED daytime running lights, and
LED rear light units. But one thing remains the same it retains
its rather 'chunky' muscular image.
The 500X comes in two body styles: Urban and Cross. Both now put their power
down through the front wheels and offer more trim and equipment levels to choose
from: Urban, City Cross, Cross Plus, and the recently-added S-Design.
start from £17K and range up to £23K. Most new car-buying retail customers for
most brands tend to favour PCP finance purchase; go down that road with the
500X range and a 48-month contract starts at £159 per month for the lowest price
model, rising to £239 a month for the top spec version.
start from £17K
and range up to £23K.
Go down the PCP finance
purchase road with the
500X range and
a 48-month contract
starts at £159 per month
for the lowest price
model, rising to £239
a month for the
top spec version...
The engine options, depending on body style and spec level, are: a 110hp 1.6-litre,
four-cylinder, normally-aspirated e-TorQ petrol unit with a 5-speed manual gearbox;
and two new 'FireFly' turbocharged direct injection petrol units
120hp 1.0-litre, three-cylinder with a six-speed manual 'box; and 150hp 1.3-litre,
four-cylinder unit mated to a six-speed dual clutch automatic gearbox.
Regardless of the trim/engine combo you opt for, the major thing the 500X has
going for it is its distinctive styling okay, it won't be to everybody's
choice but at least it's different from the glut of similar-sized compact SUVs
currently on sale. Comments passed to me during my driving spell ranged from
'ugly' to 'interesting', so it's clear that the 500X has the 'Marmite' factor.
Fiat see it appealing to younger buyers or perhaps serving as a family's second
car, although its compact size doesn't quite fit with school-run duties.
Most likely, and from real-world users I've spotted, it's likely the 'young
at heart' empty-nesters who will enjoy the 500X most as an alternative to a
Nissan Juke, Vauxhall Mokka, Peugeot 2008 or even MINI Countryman. I see numerous
older couples in my locality driving a Mokka they like the price,
the compact size for ease of parking, low running costs and the higher ground
clearance which makes getting in and out of the vehicle easier.
To those 'plus points' the Fiat 500X can add unique and fashionable styling,
compact SUV functionality, and a huge array of personalisation options (these
have undoubtedly played a major part in the 500X's popularity
over 1.5 million sales globally) at prices reasonable enough to tempt those
up for a change.
range-topping £23K 147bhp (150hp) Cross Plus auto I've been driving this week
will suit a wide range of customers but only if they don't deem
4WD a necessity. Of course, there are numerous extra-cost options that can be
added and my test car had loads of them, pushing the price up to £25,780 at
which budget level you're into a much larger choice of roomier, medium-sized
new 1.3-litre is
a free-revving petrol unit
thats eager to please
and it proved to be both
responsive and well
suited to its partnership
with the new six-speed
Zero to 62mph takes
a brisk 9.1 seconds and
the real-life consumption
is a liveable 36.5mpg...
inside this latest 500X and you'll find detailed changes with more technology,
better ergonomics in a notably refreshed environment. The fascia has a coloured
facing panel matched to the exterior paintwork running
more or less the full width with the usual central touchscreen. The quality
and fit of the trim and upholstery looks to have improved with soft-touch elements.
Traffic Sign Recognition, Intelligent Speed Assist and Lane Assist systems are
standard on all versions, as too are the latest in connectivity with a Uconnect
seven-inch HD LIVE touchscreen with DAB radio, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay integration
and Android Auto compatibility. Separate from the touchscreen functions are
easy-to-use heating and ventilation controls together with dual-zone automatic
Also part of the Cross Plus spec are cruise control, a multifunction leather-wrapped
steering wheel, 60:40-split folding rear seatbacks, remote central locking,
heated and electrically-adjustable door mirrors, Start & Stop, rear parking
sensors and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
Externally, the Cross Plus spec also gets you a set of 18-inch alloy wheels,
all-road bumpers with protective inserts, and front fog lights with a cornering
function. However, if you want leather upholstery that wil be an extra £850;
front parking sensors add another £300; plus an electric sunroof costs a further
£950. Fiat charge £650 for the Active Safety Pack, which really should be a
standard item. Even a space saver spare wheel sets you back another £100, otherwise
you have to make do with an inflation kit.
chunky looking 500X is underpinned by the platform from the Jeep Renegade SUV,
another member of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles family. However, as mentioned
earlier, 4WD models have now been deleted from the 500X line-up.
even with the larger
was good with only
the worst potholes
transmitting a thump
into the passenger compartment;
plus the handling is
neat and nimble and its
easy to park due to its
compact length and
The four-cylinder 1.3-litre direct injection turboed engine is one of two new
'FireFly' generation petrol units, introduced to comply with the latest EU regs.
Like its predecessors, it's a free-revver that's eager to please and with 199lb
ft of torque from 1,850rpm it proved to be both responsive and well suited to
its partnership with the new six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
There's no need to keep the engine in its relatively high rpm powerband because
the autobox does that for the driver, so the flexibility moving from low to
medium to higher speeds is good, although not always seamless. On a few occasions
there was some indecision as to what gear was needed mainly between
second and third especially after first starts on a cold day.
But overall the new engine and autobox proved to be a nice combination to drive.
for performance, top speed is a healthy 124mph and zero to 62mph takes a brisk
9.1 seconds. The official Combined Cycle fuel consumption figure is 43.5mpg
and during my week behind the wheel, covering everything from local roads to
motorway journeys, the real-life figure was 36.5mpg.
The ride comfort, even with the larger 18-inch wheels, was good with only the
worst potholes transmitting a thump into the passenger compartment. The handling
was neat and nimble given the relatively tall height, and it was easy to park
due to its compact length and good visibility.
For the record, there's limited rear seat space and legroom and the boot measures
350 litres; however, dropping the 60:40-split rear seatbacks expands this to
1,000-litres. And should you need to tow, you can pull a braked 1,200kg.
For those wanting a fashionable compact SUV that's not a clone of every other
on the road, this 500X will meet their needs. With its unique looks and wide
range of personalisation options plus a lively new petrol engine and neat and
nimble handling, the 500X's blend of fashion and function give it a dare-to-be-different
appeal. ~ David Miles
Fiat 500X Cross Plus 1.3 FireFly Auto
Maximum speed: 124mph | 0-62mph: 9.1 seconds | Test Average: 36.5mpg
Power: 147bhp | Torque: 199lb ft | CO2: 146g/km