Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.
Based on the smaller 500 “Cinquecento” subcompact, the 2018 Fiat 500X is stretched to include four doors, standard all-wheel drive and increased ground clearance. Built to rival other subcompact-crossover SUVs like the Mazda CX-3, Chevy Trax and Honda HR-V, the 500X looks good on paper, but in reality falls far short of the reliability and resale figures of said competitors.
You'll Like The 2018 FIAT 500X If...
If you love the individuality and colorful expression of small European cars, but need something that can handle snow and ice, delivers good fuel economy and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, the 2018 Fiat 500X could be the little Italian for you.
You May Not Like The 2018 FIAT 500X If...
If you’re looking for a small car with strong reliability and resale, the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3 are better choices. The HR-V offers more interior room while the CX-3 is a superior driver with better fuel economy. The Jeep Renegade offers a better platform for off-road adventures.
For 2018, the 500X gains as standard the UConnect 4 system that brings a 7-inch display, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Also standard this year is Bluetooth smartphone connectivity and a rearview camera.
One of the best attributes of the 2018 500X is its interior: stylish and surprisingly refined, with soft-touch points, and high-quality controls all sensibly arranged. The front seats are comfortable, and it’s easy to find a good driving position. Rear headroom is pretty good, although there’s not a lot of legroom. Cargo space expands quickly thanks to fold-down rear seats, and the flip-forward passenger seat helps this little SUV handle items like a surfboard. We also like the optional, configurable color display between the gauges. The space above the dash is now occupied by the well-regarded 7-inch Uconnect touch-screen infotainment system.
Fiat wisely chose the sporty and cute 500 as inspiration for its most mainstream vehicle, and the new 500X may very well be the best-looking Fiat you can buy in the U.S. outside of the new Fiat 124 convertible. With nice proportions and just enough hints of the smaller 500 to make it interesting, the 500X is a sharp-looking compact-crossover SUV. Of the three versions available for 2018, the Trekking models look toughest with their pronounced front fascia that looks like something you’d see on a rugged SUV.
Although the 500X’s perky exterior and inviting interior had us hoping we’d found a less pricey alternative to the Mini Countryman, our hopes were soon dashed. Unlike the Mini, a day spent driving around country roads in the 500X just isn’t very satisfying. Over modest road imperfections, the 500X is far too bouncy and unsettled, although it does glide nicely over smooth pavement. The 500X’s electrically assisted power steering brought mixed reviews from our test crew, with the majority stating the feeling was somewhat numb and unnatural. The feature that drew the most ire, however, is the 500X’s 9-speed automatic transmission. Mated exclusively to the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder, the 9-speed does a poor job managing the engine’s modest power, with slow reactions to throttle input and occasional hard shifts. Ironically, the more desirable 6-speed manual is offered only on the base car and only with the less powerful 1.4-liter turbocharged engine.
The Fiat 500X Pop has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just under $21,000. That’s certainly alluring, but the better-equipped Honda HR-V actually begins at a slightly lower price. Moving up trims, the Fiat’s value proposition doesn’t get any better. Mid-trim Trekking models start at $24,680, while the top-line 500X Lounge goes for $26,510. Go all-in for a top-line all-wheel-drive model, and you’ll be in the $30,000 range. Style indeed has its price. You can do far better in the aforementioned Honda HR-V or a Mazda CX-3, Chevrolet Trax, Subaru Crosstrek or the Buick Encore. Check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying. The Fiat 500X’s resale value is another black mark against this vehicle, with residuals far lower than the HR-V and Crosstrek.
For 2018, the 500X lineup consists of the Pop base model, mid-trim Trekking and top-end Lounge. The least expensive 500X Pop is pretty basic, but does have air conditioning, power windows, 6-way-manual-adjust front seats and Uconnect 4 with 7-inch touch screen, rearview camera, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Bluetooth connectivity is also standard, but not an automatic transmission, which given the 9-speed automatic’s shortcomings might not be a bad thing. The Trekking is better equipped, bringing 3-mode Dynamic Selector, the 2.4-liter engine and 17-inch wheels.
Stepping up to the Trekking model opens the door to more options, as well as the Urbana Edition package that includes black exterior accents, black cloth seats and black aluminum wheels with copper accents. Top-line Lounge models include the 7-inch touch-screen Uconnect system with navigation, heated and power-operated front seats and heated steering wheel, and 8-speaker audio system. Other options vary by trim and include leather interior and the BeatsAudio system. Available safety features are blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning with lane-keep assist, rearview camera and forward-collision warning with automatic brake assistance.
DYNAMIC SELECTORLittle more than a gimmick in some cars, the Fiat 500X’s drive-mode selector actually produced a noticeable difference between settings. Better still, the feature is available on every model with either front-wheel or all-wheel drive.ADVANCED SAFETY SYSTEMSSafety shouldn’t be just for those who can afford it, which is why we’re glad to see Fiat offering systems like lane-keeping assist and collision mitigation on the 500X. Buyers can opt for these as well as blind-spot detection, augmenting the standard airbag and electronic stability-control systems that help keep everyone safe.
Under the Hood
The base Fiat 500X Pop model comes standard with a 160-horsepower 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. It’s the only way to get a manual-transmission 500X, and unlike the Jeep Renegade, you can’t get an all-wheel-drive (AWD) model with a manual transmission, only front-wheel drive (FWD). Optional on the Pop, and standard on all other models, is a 180-horsepower 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that comes with a 9-speed automatic transmission. Available in front- and all-wheel drive, the engine puts out plenty of horsepower, but the 9-speed automatic suffers from unrefined shifts and is ultimately hard to recommend. On the plus side, the part-time AWD system fully disengages the rear-drive portion when the SUV doesn’t need it, helping fuel economy.1.4-liter turbocharged inline-4160 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm184 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500-4,000 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/33 mpg2.4-liter inline-4180 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm175 lb-ft of torque @ 3,900 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/30 mpg (FWD), 21/29 mpg (AWD)
Based on the 500 “Cinquecento” subcompact car, the 2018 Fiat 500X adds an additional two doors, standard all-wheel drive and increased ground clearance. Built to rival other subcompact-crossover SUVs like the Mazda CX-3, Chevy Trax and Honda HR-V, the 500X looks good on paper, but in reality falls far short of the reliability and resale figures of the aforementioned competitors. The 500X also isn’t nearly as much fun to drive as the CX-3 or Trax, and its 9-speed automatic transmission continues to rack up performance complaints. On the flip side, the 500X’s sub-$21,000 price tag, numerous safety features and colorful palate make it a tempting choice. Those looking for true off-road ability should look to the 500’s kissing cousin, the Jeep Renegade Trailhawk.