All You Need To Know About the Fiat 500 and 500X
A comparison piece by our freelancer, and 500 obsessor, Olivia Gauch
The iconic Fiat 500 launched 60 years ago designed by Dante Giacosa and fast became the city car of choice for Italians with over 3 million produced during its 18-year production run.
It has become Fiat’s most popular, loved car and in 2007, fifty years after the original was launched, they decided to bring it back. Dominating its segment it has also grown, not only in stature but in size and the manufacturer has produced a few different variants over the years to grow the 500 family.
First up is the 500, the city car got a much-needed facelift in 2016, it still takes design cues from the classic with the ‘moustache’ at the front, but it now has a stylish 3D design grille and has an even larger colour palette including a bright Glam Coral exterior. There are also various personalisation options with the possibility of a ‘second skin’, with six graphic patterns to choose from to really make your Fiat 500 stand out on the roads.
Interior wise the Fiat 500 has a fun element to it, plastic inlays are colourful, the 7-inch TFT round driving display, as seen in the classic features speed, revs, a trip computer and a gear shift indicator and the central tunnel also has easy to access USB and aux ports, so you can hook up your smartphone using their Uconnect system. Buyers can also pick from a choice of funky interiors including a vintage burgundy leather with blue inserts look.
If you’re looking for a fun car to drive then the Fiat 500 is a great runaround, it’s nimble, has really good handling and depending on what engine you go for it can be really nippy and great at zipping down the motorways.
There are three petrol engines available, a 1.2-litre producing 69hp which has a top speed of 99mph and is available with a manual or semi-automatic transmission, a 0.9 TwinAir engine which comes either with 85hp or 105hp and with 145Nm of torque too it is certainly is a lively little engine.
Fiat has also added a 1.3-litre MultiJet II diesel engine producing 95hp with 200Nm of torque and this has a top speed of 112mph.
Expect really low running costs as according to Fiat the diesel engine could achieve a combined 83.1 mpg.
At just 3.57 metres long you’re not going to get much in a Fiat 500, front driver and passenger do have plenty of leg and headroom but it’s a bit of squeeze in the rear.
Boot space is 185-litres which is smaller than rivals such as the Volkswagen Up! so you’ll get your weekly shop in and maybe a small suitcase or two if you go on a road trip. Also, the entry level trim doesn’t have split folding rear seats.
There are three trim levels available on the Fiat 500 named Pop, Pop Star and Lounge. Entry level Pop comes with LED daytime running lights, steering wheel mounted controls, electric front windows and electrically adjustable door mirrors, Pop Star adds air conditioning, split folding rear seats, 15-inch alloy wheels and electronically adjustable painted door mirrors with a temperature sensor, while Lounge has a fixed sun roof, a 5-inch touchscreen display, fog lights and rear parking sensors.
Prices start from a reasonable £9,995 for the small, yet larger than life Fiat 500.
If you’re looking for something slightly larger but want to stick with the brand then the 500X is definitely worth considering.
It came out at the end of 2014 as a model to tackle the compact crossover segment which sees the Nissan Juke and Skoda Yeti as its main rivals.
A lot chunkier than the miniature 500, this also takes inspiration from the classic 500 with a clamshell bonnet and circular headlights, but think of it as a 500 on steroids if you will.
What Fiat have cleverly done is market two different versions, a gentle looking City car, while the other has special bumpers, roof bars, is a lot aggressive looking and is the Off-Road variant.
The interior is of a high quality, the layout is simple and it has the familiar. brightly coloured plastic inlays integrated into a wraparound design, look out for the large, metal door handles which really stand out.
Fiat has added a sports-type looking steering wheel that sits in front of a clear instrument panel and a 3.5-inch HD TFT screen and depending on the trim there is also a 6.5-inch centre touchscreen, which like the 500 uses the Uconnect multimedia system.
The 500X is a good car to drive, it’s not as fun as the 500 but it excels in different ways; the Fiat Mood Selector lets you adjust the performance, car and comfort settings depending if you feel in a sporty mood or want to tackle harsh road conditions, while the model offers three traction variants, ideal if you really want to take it off-road.
There are three diesel engines available with the 500X: a 1.3-litre MultiJet II producing 95hp, a 1.6-litre MultiJet II with 120hp and a 2.0-litre delivering 140hp, which gets from 0-62mph in 9.8 seconds, but is only available on the four-wheel drive version of the Fiat 500X, and this comes with either a six-speed manual transmission or as a nine-speed automatic.
There is a 1.4-litre MultiAir petrol engine producing 140hp with 230Nm of torque and a 1.6-litre e-Torq with 110hp, so there is an engine to suit all drivers on the 500X. Like its younger sibling running costs will be really good, the diesels offering late sixties in mpg.
The Fiat 500X offers plenty of space, it will comfortably seat three passengers in the rear with plenty of leg and headroom. The boot space also has a good capacity at 350-litres, expect to load a couple of suitcases and other items in there, this can be increased with their Fold&Tumble rear seats and the front passenger seat also folds flat, ideal for those Ikea visits.
There are five trim levels available on this model: Pop, Pop Star, Lounge, Cross and Cross Plus.
There is plenty of standard equipment on the Pop including air conditioning, body coloured bumpers and dashboard and cruise control with speed limiter, while the Lounge features rear tinted windows, a 6.5-inch touchscreen and keyless go. The Cross and Cross Plus trims are available on the off-road version, which adds all-road wheels and bumpers, roof rails, front and rear electric windows, automatic climate control and the drive mood selector.
The stylish Fiat 500X is priced from £14,745 and is a more than capable small SUV that has plenty of heritage behind it.