New 500X debuts

Fiat's Firefly

engines

Fiat 500X City Cross, 2018, front, action
Fiat 500X City Cross, 2018, front
Fiat 500X City Cross, 2018, side
Fiat 500X City Cross, 2018, interior
Fiat 500X City Cross, 2018, display screen
Fiat 500X City Cross, 2018, rear seats
Fiat 500X City Cross, 2018, boot
Fiat 500X Urban, 2018, front
Fiat 500X Urban, 2018, rear

FIREFLY is the name of Fiat's new breed of turbocharged petrol engine and it's making its debut in the new 500X crossover.

Either as a 1.0-litre three pot developing 120bhp or a 1.3 four cylinder with 150bhp on tap the new engine fits the newcomer well.

They are already part and parcel of the Jeep Renegade - the sister ship of the 500X.

Both are built at the Melfi factory in Italy and the 500X is coming on stream now priced from £16,995.

It's a petrol only line up and the 1.0-litre is manual only with the livelier 1.3-litre mated to a six-speed dual clutch transmission.

Both are available in the SUV-oriented City Cross and City Cross Plus versions of the 500X.

Those come with extra body kit such as skid plates front and rear and all versions of the new 500X are front-wheel-drive.

The new line up starts with a 1.6-litre non-turbo model in Urban trim.

City Cross and the higher specification Plus models cost from £18,995 for the 1.0-litre and £21,195 for the 1.3.

Plus models have LED headlamps, 18-inch alloys and TomTom navigation as well as a high definition reversing camera.

All versions of the 500X are fully smartphone compatible and come with a seven-inch Uconnect display screen allowing for a range of Apps to be brought into play.

New features include traffic sign recognition, a speed limit advisor and lane control systems while the likes of adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitors and rear cross traffic alerts are option.

Alongside the 500L the 500X is the bigger brother of Fiat's popular 500 hatchback and is aimed more at the family market.

As a crossover, the 500X has a more rugged appearance than the 500L and the range tops out at £23,195 for a Cross Plus 1.3 automatic.

Having just tried both new Firefly engines in the 500X they lack for little and power the new car well.

The 1.3-litre with its 0 to 60 time of 9.1 seconds has more punch but is only a second quicker through the gears than the 1.0-litre.

Respective top speeds are 117mph for the 1.0-litre and 125mph for the 1.3 and Fiat is claiming official fuel returns of 48.7mpg for the three cylinder engine and 46.3 for the bigger automatic.

Emissions range from 133g/km for the 1.0-litre to 146g/km for the 1.3.

In the real world we saw an average of 36 to the gallon for the 1.0-litre model and 39.5 for the 1.3, which also comes with paddle shifters for manual operation if required.

The absence of four-wheel-drive in the UK line up means there is a circular blank in the centre console aft of the gear lever where the 4x4 selector would be sited but apart from that the interior is functional and family friendly.

There's a double glovebox in the facia, good sized door pockets and boot space is unchanged, ranging from 350 to 1,000 litres.

In the current SUV market the new 500X remains competitively priced and with its new features makes a fine fist of the crossover job.

And as diesel sales made up only a quarter of the demand for the previous iteration - and four-wheel-drive only half of that - Fiat is confident its new strategy for the 500X will fit the bill.

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