2020 Fiat 500X

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2020 Fiat 500X Test Drive Review: Missing The Mark

After returning to the US market with the iconic 500, Fiat expanded its lineup with the larger 500L followed by the 500X, the latter by far the more attractive of the three. The 500X was recently refreshed for 2019, adding a new 1.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder sending 177 horsepower and 210 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels via a nine-speed automatic gearbox. The 2020 model remains broadly similar but adds a new Sport trim level since Fiat still refuses to build a sportier Abarth variant.

The 500X remains mechanically related to the Jeep Renegade and competes in the subcompact crossover segment against vehicles like the Honda HR-V, Kia Seltos, and Mini Countryman. Fiat hopes to carve out a niche in this segment with the 500X's quirky styling, upmarket interior, and standard all-wheel-drive. The 500X should, in theory, be Fiat's best-seller but it was actually outsold last year by the now-discontinued 500 and the 124 Spider sports car, which is built by Mazda. Can the 500X stand out in a growing segment, or will it go the way of regular Fiat 500? We were sent a 2020 Fiat 500X Trekking Plus for a week to find out.

Read in this review:

7.4
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2020 Fiat 500X Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2019 500X?

To bring a sportier aesthetic to the range, for 2020 a new Fiat 500X Sport model has been added to the roster featuring more aggressive front and rear fascia designs, body-color painted side moldings, and dark-finish exterior accents. It also comes with an all-new exclusive exterior paint color called Revente Red. Its cabin is also given bespoke design and styling elements. Apart from the new model, the familiar black roof appearance option has now been made available for all models within the lineup, while the Blue Sky Edition, 120th Anniversary Edition, Urbana, and Lounge variants are no longer available.

Pros and Cons

  • Zippy turbocharged engine
  • Reasonably fuel-efficient
  • Contemporary and ergonomic interior
  • Upscale leather is available
  • Standard all-wheel-drive across the lineup
  • Cute styling stands out from the crowd
  • Rear passenger quarters are cramped
  • Limited trunk capacity and storage solutions
  • Relatively high starting price for the segment
  • Lags behind rivals in handling and ride quality
  • Nine-speed automatic gearbox not the most effective

Best Deals on 2020 Fiat 500X

2020 Fiat 500X Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Pop
1.3L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$24,590
Trekking
1.3L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$25,995
Sport
1.3L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$26,895
Trekking Plus
1.3L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$29,495
See All 2020 Fiat 500X Trims and Specs

2020 500X Exterior

2020 Fiat 500X Front View CarBuzz
2020 Fiat 500X Rear View CarBuzz
2020 Fiat 500X Front Angle View CarBuzz
See All 2020 Fiat 500X Exterior Photos

Dimensions

  • Length 167.2 in
  • Wheelbase 101.2 in
  • Height 63.7 in
  • Max Width 70.7 in
  • Front Width 60.7 in
  • Rear Width 60.7 in
  • Curb Weight 3,305.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

  • Milano Ivory Tri-Coat +$1,000
  • Bianco Gelato (White Clearcoat)
  • Grigio Moda (Graphite Grey Metallic)
  • Italia Blue
  • Rovente Red
  • Nero Cinema (Black Clearcoat)
  • Amore Red Metallic
  • Blue Sky Metallic
  • Blu Venezia (Blue Metallic)
  • Grigio Argento (Gray Metallic)
  • Rosso Passione (Red Hypnotique Clearcoat), Build Out: 09/10/2019
  • Passione Red
  • Vibrante Green Metallic
  • Arancio (Orange)
  • Beige Cappuccino Clearcoat

2020 500X Performance

2020 Fiat 500X Aft View CarBuzz
2020 Fiat 500X Rear Angle View CarBuzz
2020 Fiat 500X Engine Bay CarBuzz

Engine and Transmission

  • Engine
    1.3L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmission
    9-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain
    AWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

Fiat describes its 500X as "fun-to-drive" in all of its press materials but we struggled to interpret this as anything more than marketing jargon. Subcompact crossovers can be fun, just check out the Hyundai Kona, Kia Seltos, Mazda CX-30, or Mini Countryman. We just didn't derive any enjoyment from a spirited drive in the 500X. The suspension lacks basic precision through corners, flopping to one side and then sloppily returning back to center in a disconcerting manner. The sloppy handling could be forgiven if the suspension provided supple ride comfort but somehow, it manages to feel stiff over most road surfaces despite allowing tremendous body roll through the corners.

We didn't have any particular complaints with the steering feel but it doesn't offer nearly as much enjoyment as some other vehicles in this segment. The AWD system does offer an adequate amount of grip, especially when paired with the option 215-section all-season tires, but the tall ride height and lackluster suspension tuning ruins any confidence that the grip may have inspired. We don't expect too many drivers in this segment to use their vehicles as weekend backroad toys but when Fiat claims being "fun-to-drive" is part of the car's core ethos, it's disappointing to see how far the 500X misses this mark. A Sport and Traction+ mode are available to mildly change the driving experience but we didn't find either to boost driving enjoyment.

2020 500X Interior

2020 Fiat 500X Dashboard CarBuzz
2020 Fiat 500X Steering Wheel Design CarBuzz
2020 Fiat 500X Front Chairs CarBuzz
See All 2020 Fiat 500X Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 41.4 in
  • Front Head Room 39.1 in
  • Rear Leg Room 34.8 in
  • Rear Head Room 37.8 in

2020 500X Trunk and Cargo Space

2020 Fiat 500X Rear Passenger Seats CarBuzz
2020 Fiat 500X Maximum Cargo Space CarBuzz
2020 Fiat 500X Trunk Space CarBuzz

2020 500X Safety and Reliability

Warranty

  • Basic:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    4 Years \ Unlimited Miles

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2020 Fiat 500X a good SUV?

The 500X should have been a success for Fiat: take the 500's retro design and apply it to a more practical crossover with higher ground clearance to appeal to American buyers. But with 2019 sales for the 500X falling below the discontinued 500 and the impractical 124 Spider, it appears that Fiat's efforts have missed the mark. Fiat says the 500X is fun to drive but there are plenty of vehicles in this class that feel more entertaining to drive while also offering comparable interiors, quirky design, and vastly superior storage capacity.

Unless you are completely won over by the 500X's Italian flare, upmarket interior, and standard AWD, we'd say there are better options available in the subcompact crossover segment. Competitors like the Honda HR-V and Kia Seltos offer a more reasonable starting price and if you prefer a more premium feel, the Mini Countryman offers it in spades with vastly superior power available from the S and JCW models. All in all, the 2020 Fiat 500X is neither the best nor the worst subcompact crossover SUV one could buy. But, if there's one thing no other vehicle in this class has, it's the Fiat's truly unique styling.

2020 Fiat 500X Comparisons

Fiat 500L Fiat
Jeep Renegade Jeep
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Fiat 500X177 hp24/30 mpg$27,965
Fiat 500L 160 hp22/30 mpg$22,500
Jeep Renegade 177 hp24/32 mpg$24,695

2020 Fiat 500X vs Fiat 500L

The Fiat 500L is a compact wagon as opposed to a crossover SUV, this means that it will offer a little more passenger room than what's offered from the smaller 500X and a whole lot more cargo room, with 22.4 cubes behind the rear-most seats. That is, however, just about all the advantages it offers over the 500X other than a $2,090 price drop; it's equipped with an underpowered 160 hp 1.4-liter turbo-four engine that also proves to be less fuel-efficient, returning EPA estimates of 22/30/25 mpg. It's ride and handling dynamics are also terrible - far worse than that of the 500X's and it's only available in front-wheel-drive. The 500X boasts a far more premium cabin and significantly better build quality overall, with the 500L feeling more like a stripped-down fleet vehicle. The conclusion here is an easy one: don't ever buy a Fiat 500L, the 500X is the better value for money buy and just a better put-together vehicle overall.

See Fiat 500L Review

2020 Fiat 500X vs Jeep Renegade

As the 500X's most direct rival, the Jeep Renegade is also its toughest competition - appropriate since both share much of their underpinnings. On the road, the 500X seems to deliver slightly better ride quality but both deliver identical straight-line performance, the 500X proves a little more fuel-efficient when in AWD guise, but the Renegade does better in 2WD guise. The 2.4-liter that the Renegade has as standard is otherwise underpowered and far less refined. In the way of features, both pretty much offer the same level of value, the Fiat has the better infotainment setup by a fraction, and a few more safety and driver-assist features. The range-topping models of the Renegade outclass the 500X utterly, however, the Trailhawk offering far greater off-road capability and the AWD models offering a maximum towing capability of 2,000 lbs - double that of the 500X's. Moreover, with 18.5 cubes of cargo room in the trunk of the Renegade, it's the more practical SUV, too. Ultimately, both offer their own advantages and disadvantages; making a decision would most likely come down to purpose and aesthetic: urban practicality versus off-roading ability, and the 500X's classic retro-Italian or the Renegade's all-American ruggedness.

See Jeep Renegade Review

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