Several body styles of the Fiat 500 have become available since the iconic little car’s resurgence. Initial models were only available in Coupe or Cabrio form with only two doors. Now there are four door versions that have joined the lineup. There’s a Fiat 500L and a Fiat 500X. We’ll deal with the latter here, which comes in four levels of trim: Pop; Trekking; Sport; and Trekking Plus.
All Fiat 500 models deliver safety, fuel economy, quality and advanced technological features, blended with legendary Italian style. The modern generation 500s closely resemble the original, displaying strong, unmistakable, early Fiat DNA. The original two-door model 500s were rear-engined vehicles, designed to carry four occupants. Today’s examples are still city-friendly, four passenger vehicles in an “A” segment format, but feature a forward-mounted engine, in a larger, more comfortable package. The return of the globally popular Fiat 500 to the U.S. marketplace reappeared in 2007, with over half a million sold in more than 80 countries around the world.
The focus of the Fiat 500s was to capture the original Cinquecento’s allure in a smartly formatted no-nonsense design, artfully and harmoniously blended with technical, cultural and creative aspects, but with two additional doors in a small SUV or crossover format that provides a greater level of practicality and versatility. Overhangs continue to be short and the body side consists of several superimposed layers, topped by a ‘shell-like’ roof. Up front, the signature ‘whiskers and logo’ face incorporates projector headlamps and lower park lamps. The front and rear fascias have been redesigned for 2020, with the front tapering outward toward the pronounced wheel arches, displaying a wide, road-holding stance. The upper portion of the fascia features a horizontal cooling duct, while the lower ‘honeycomb’ style grille integrates stylish fog lamps.
Wheel arches are flared and the body-side A-line slopes from the clean clamshell hood to the fender cut. The sides are rounded and both head and taillamps are visible from the side. The 500X’s profile is finished off by the roof pillars and shadow-line window molding that forms a gentle continuous arc that also hides the door’s upper edges. In the rear, taillamps flank the rear-opening gate or hatch. A protective polymer lower trim surrounds the entire body.
The Fiat 500X is closely related to Jeep’s Renegade, though they exhibit very different personalities. The Fiat 500X’s design was penned in Italy to appeal to American tastes. It showcases Italian style while delivering the versatility and functionality of an SUV. Keep in mind that it is better suited to urban duties than to off-roading sojourns. The 500X is the most mature of the Fiat 500 lineup. The stance is bold yet balanced.
CABIN COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE
Moving into the cabin, Italian elegance and simplicity take over with a subtle appeal. It is wide, comfortably seating four, although rear seat occupants will suffer if those up front are tall. The dashboard contains large, round gauges with large matching round climate control knobs. A small center touchscreen sits atop the dash. As with the small compact 500, body-color trim accents are available. The quality and texture of the materials and fabrics blend with straightforward practical design. The front seats are firm, and provide enough supportive bolstering to hold occupants comfortably in position. The top-trim Trekking Plus includes leather, heated front seats, satellite navigation, and additional styling cues.
Motive force for the 2020 lineup of the Fiat 500X is generated by an all-new transversely front mounted 1.3-liter, SOHC, 16-valve liquid-cooled, turbocharged MULTIAIR® inline four-cylinder engine with sequential, direct fuel injection and ESS. The new engine produces 177 horsepower at 5,500 rpm, while developing 210 pound feet of torque at 2,200 rpm. Energy is geared to the standard AWD system via a nine-speed automatic transmission with overdrive and a manual mode.
My test 2020 Fiat 500X AWD came in Trekking Plus trim and wore a Milano Ivory Tri-Coat metallic exterior finish, while the interior was executed in Black with white piping and featured satin finished bright trim accents. The base sticker read $29,495. The final count and amount ac=came to $35,375., after factoring in optional packages and equipment along with the destination charge.
The 2020 Fiat 500X Trekking Plus provides noteworthy road manners for a compact SUV, but it’s not as nimble as the original Fiat Cinquecento. The ride quality is firm, without being harsh, and the electric power steering is responsive with adequate feedback.
The 500X is reasonably quiet on the road, under a variety of conditions. it’s a modern vehicle and more than acceptable for a utility vehicle whose shape works against noise suppression. Cruising at just under about 75 mph, 7th is the top gear, leaving the two highest gears as overdrive gears.
The low hood and shoulder line allow for good front and side visibility, while rear three-quarter visibility is on the limited side.
OUR FINAL TAKE
The 2020 Fiat 500X Trekking Plus delivers sensible trim levels representing good value for the money with impressive content. It is essentially a pleasing, small modern SUV that provides ideally satisfying attributes. Note that the AWD is for added traction rather than for rock-crawling acumen.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2020 Fiat 500X Trekking Plus AWD
Base Price: $29,495.
Price as Tested: $35,375.
Engine Type and Size: All-new1.3-liter, SOHC, 16-valve liquid-cooled, turbocharged MULTIAIR® inline four-cylinder with sequential, direct fuel injection and ESS.
Horsepower (bhp): 177 @ 5,500 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 210 @ 2,200 rpm
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic w/overdrive and manual mode.
Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / AWD
Suspension: Front – Strut
Rear – Multilink
Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel discs with four-wheel ABS.
Tires: Continental ContiProContact 215/55 R18 94H mounted on silver painted 5-“Y”-spoke machine face with gray painted inners.
Wheelbase: 101.2 inches
Length Overall: 167.2 inches to 168.2 inches.
Width: 79.7 inches – with mirrors
Height: 63.7 inches
Curb Weight: 2,967 lbs.
Turning Circle: 36.3 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 12.7 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 24 mpg city / 30-mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: Not listed
0 – 60 mph: Not tested
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