Fiat 500X 1.6

MultiJet Pop Star

Fiat 500X, front
Fiat 500X, front
Fiat 500X, side
Fiat 500X, rear
Fiat 500X, rear
Fiat 500X, interior
Fiat 500X, interior
Fiat 500X, front
Fiat 500X, front

PEOPLE can't get enough of nostalgia. Let's face it, retro sells like tomorrow's hot cakes. Just take a look at the MINI, Mustang or the Fiat 500.

But sometimes people want a bit more, or even a bit bigger. That's why the BMW MINI grew and grew until it reached Countryman proportions.

The same happened with the diminutive Fiat 500 which spawned the rather ungainly looking - to my eyes, anyway - 500L. But one expanded derivative that captures the style and essence of the original concept while still providing plenty of family space is the 500X.

Its chief rivals in the crossover market are the Nissan Juke and Renault Captur. With a choice of petrol and diesel engines, the economic pick of the crop is 1.6-litre 118bhp, diesel MultiJet which puts 50mpg within everyday access.

Added girth has improved passenger space and luggage room allowing the Fiat to carry 355 litres of cargo in the boot and up to 1,000 litres with rear seats folded. This is, however, is less generous than the Renault Captur which has a 455 litre boot.

The 500X can be specified with four wheel drive, but most models sold in Britain will be front drive, as is the test car.

Inside, the retro look of the 500 city car remains with plenty of painted metal around the dash, old-school buttons to press and metal door handles.

However, a bang-up-to-date 6.5 inch touch screen takes pride of place on the facia with a chunky leather covered steering wheel, which feels great to the touch, to the right. There's an underlying feeling of quality and longevity about the stylish cabin.

Standard kit on the entry Pop Star version is generous enough with electric windows front and back, automatic climate control, rear parking sensors, alloy wheels and electric door mirrors all fitted as standard. The test car also came with sat-nav (£1,000) and metallic paint (£500).

Driving position is upright and comfortable, thanks in part to the reach-and-height-adjustable steering wheel. Seats are supportive and well padded and adjustable for height. Legroom is greater than expected, particularly for rear seat passengers. Headroom is ample for six-footers.

The 1.6 diesel engine is a little gem with bags of torque and subdued noise levels. Little vibration can be felt within the passenger compartment adding to the refined feel of the 500X.

Ride quality is generally good, especially over poor surfaces, although it can become slightly nervous when driving quickly. Cornering roll is well controlled with only limited body lean.

You get a good view from the 500X thanks to its high stance but the front pillars are quite thick and the bootline is high for reversing...those rear parking sensors tend to come in useful.

Acceleration is nippy enough with 62mph coming up in 10.5 seconds. Best of all is the high-gear urge which is great for overtaking. The six-speed manual gearbox is light and positive. With a low CO2 of 109g/km the 500X is both cheap to fuel and tax. My average was 51mpg during mixed town and motorway driving.

FAST FACTS

Fiat 500X 1.6 MultiJet Pop Star

Price: £19,095

Mechanical:118bhp, 1,598cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 115mph

0-62mph: 10.5 seconds

Combined MPG: 14

Insurance Group: 109g/km

C02 emissions: 18%

Warranty: 3yrs/unlimited miles

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