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2018 FIAT 500X Overview
Many consumers wanted all the quirk and cuteness that came with the Fiat 500, but weren’t willing to live with only two doors. Enter the 500X and L -- two 4-door subcompact options for those who fancy a Fiat but don’t care to to be cramped. This year, Fiat adds a bit of extra tech to the 500X. It makes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay standard, along with a standard reversing camera and a fresh version of Uconnect on a new 7-inch screen. That’s a nice list of upgrades for the little subcompact crossover, building on an already impressive platform.
The 500X is available in three trim levels -- Pop, Trekking, and Lounge. Pop stands out as one of the few options on the market that comes with a manual transmission. Here, it’s a 6-speed manual paired with a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine that delivers 160 horsepower and an impressive 184 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels. All that adds up to an EPA-estimated 25 city and 33 highway mpg. You can upgrade to a larger 2.4-liter engine paired with a 9-speed automatic. This combination will get you 180 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. This combination returns 22 city mpg and 30 highway, a slight drop in fuel economy. The smaller engine is definitely the way to go -- especially with the extra torque available. That said, if you’re looking for AWD, the larger engine is the only way to get it.
Regardless of drivetrain, every Pop includes features you wouldn’t expect to find on a “base” trim. These include heated mirrors, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cruise control, and air conditioning. If you go for the larger engine, you’ll also get keyless entry and ignition with remote engine start -- and the 16-inch steelies jump to 17-inch alloys. The Popular Equipment package offers alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, satellite radio, a second USB port for the infotainment system, and leather trim inside. An All Weather package will get you a smattering of slush guards, heavy-duty mats, and wheel locks. A very attractive Satin Chrome Appearance group gets you 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlamps, and fog lights, as well as satin chrome exterior trim everywhere that would feature chrome -- including roof rails.
The Trekking trim enjoys all the features in Pop -- except it curiously omits the parking sensors, and only comes with the larger engine and 9-speed transmission. Additionally, the Trekking gets automatic headlights, fog lights, adjustable drive modes, higher-quality cloth upholstery, rear privacy glass, and an upgraded driver info display. There’s also a height-adjustable cargo floor that makes loading and hauling a more pleasant affair. A second Popular Equipment package is available for the Trekking that adds dual-zone climate controls, a power driver’s seat (8-way) with lumbar and ambient interior lighting. For those who live in snowy climes, a Cold Weather package gets you heated front seats and a steering wheel, as well as a windshield de-icer. While the new inclusion of standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay makes this less tempting, navigation can be had as a standalone option. There are unique appearance packages like the Adventurer Edition package available for the Trekking trim. This adds black and orange accents, 18-inch wheels, splash guards, heavy-duty floor mats, a roof rack, and rails.
The top-tier Lounge trim takes the features from the Trekking as well as the optional goodies and adds an upgraded 8-speaker stereo, auto-dimming rearview mirror, chrome trim outside, and a rear cargo cover.
There are two editions for drivers looking to make more of a statement. There’s a Blue Sky Edition, which adds a blue instrument panel, unique cloth seats, the Satin Chrome appearance package, unique 17-inch wheels, and a dual-pane panoramic sunroof. The Urbana Edition is also available. It offers two-tone 18-inch alloy wheels, body-color handles and mirrors, as well as copper exterior accents. Inside, it offers exclusive black interior features, along with metallic iron accents.
An Advanced Safety package can be added to Trekking or Lounge trims for automatic high-beams and wipers, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic, lane-departure warning and intervention, a forward-collision warning system with automatic braking, and rear parking sensors. The Premium package, also available on Trekking and Lounge trims, gets you 18-inch alloys, a handsome dual-pane sunroof, and a Beats 9-speaker stereo.
This year’s additions make an already attractive package even better -- though there are some places that still need some attention. Many will find the 500X's slightly stiff suspension a bit too bouncy for comfort, and the 9-speed transmission leaves a lot to be desired as well. The Beats audio system isn’t much of an upgrade, and the fact that the rear cargo cover is only available on the top trim is frustrating. But if you can overlook those issues, there’s a lot of fun and value alike to be had with the 500X.
A CarGurus contributor since 2008, Michael started his career writing about cars with the SCCA - winning awards during his time as editor of Top End magazine. Since then, his journalistic travels have taken him from NY to Boston to CA, completing a cross-country tour on a restored vintage Suzuki. While his preference is for fine German automobiles - and the extra leg room they so often afford - his first automobile memories center around impromptu Mustang vs. Corvette races down the local highway, in the backseat of his father's latest acquisition.
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Fuel For A 2018 500X
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