A few weeks ago Fiat muscled its way into the expanding compact SUV market in Australia with the all new Fiat 500X. We were lucky enough to be one of the first in Australia to take it for a spin.Built with design, quality and versatility as the 3 defining pillars, it certainly lives up to expectations. The beefed up Fiat 500 is roomy in the cabin, in fact it’s bigger than the Mazda CX-3 that we test drove earlier this year. The other thing we noticed was that the shape of the new Fiat 500X is a lot more masculine than its predecessor. Which is great news in our books.Chief marketing officer, Olivier Francois says that Fiat is all about fun and versatility and that’s definitely what we saw across the models in the Fiat 500X. Big enough for a small family and small enough for a single or couple to enjoy the different facets that Australia has to offer. Zipping around the city, going to the park or heading to the beach for a surf won’t stress this oversized little car out.
There are 4 varieties of the 500X, namely the Pop and Pop Star at the entry level, and the Lounge and Cross Plus (AWD) if you wanted to splurge a little.
Sitting in the car, you can definitely feel that it’s European, if you know what I mean. The weight of the door, the feel of the buttons and knobs are solid.
On a typical city road the car performs relatively well. The steering is responsive enough and it’s pretty quick. However, taking it through the national park left us a little exhausted from the lack of finesse in its ability to handle the sharp turns and tight roads. The suspension felt like it was over compensating for the road which was probably part of the reason why the steering felt less than solid. The other thing that made the ride less than optimal was the choppy gear changing but that’s what you typically get at this end of the market.The Fiat 500X starts from $28,000 and goes up to $39,000 with a series of power, colour and trim upgrades. This is actually pretty good value and gives the Mazda CX-3 and Honda HR-V a run for their money. All in all, I think Fiat has definitely achieved its goal in making this a fun, loveable car.