Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

X Hits the Spot

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

X Hits the Spot

Article excerpt

Byline: Andy Enright

THE Fiat 500X joins the crossover fray, offering a neat and stylish extension of the 500 franchise. With a choice of front or all-wheel drive, some modern diesel and petrol engines and some aggressive pricing, this one's going to be extremely popular.

The front-wheel drive models will doubtless prove more popular with British buyers who are about as likely to take the 500X off-roading as they are to send it round the Nurburgring. You'll need to pay attention to the badging. A 500X Cross Plus has all-wheel drive but a 500X Cross merely looks as if it does. This being Fiat, we get a range of excellent engines right from the get-go. The petrol engines comprise a 109bhp 1.6-litre E-TORQ and the more sophisticated 138bhp 1.4-litre Turbo MultiAir2 unit. Go diesel and you're looking at the smooth 118bhp 1.6-litre MultiJet II for front-wheel drive applications and the 138bhp 2.0-litre MultiJet II if you want four-wheel drive, the latter being mated to a nine(!)-speed automatic transmission. The manual 'boxes get six speeds, unless you're looking at the entry-level 1.6-litre E-TORQ transmission, which makes do with five ratios. Fiat has also developed 168bhp 1.4-litre and 184bhp 2.4 petrol powerplants for this car, both with the auto and all-wheel drive.

The 1.6-litre diesel that will attract most footfall here in the UK is respectably brisk, getting to 62mph in 10.5 seconds, while delivering a 320Nm slug of torque. The all-wheel drive models aren't designed to handle quite the same terrain as the Jeep (which gets additional underbody strengthening), but there are tight approach and departure angles and reasonable 179mm of ground clearance. That compares to 162mm you get on front-wheel drive models. The 4x4 500X models are also equipped with specific bumpers and protective skid plates to protect the bodywork and mechanicals from the rigours of off-road use.

We're not sure why we find the 500X that much more palatable a concoction than the 500L supermini-MPV. Perhaps the more curvaceous roofline and windows is more instantly reminiscent of the original Cinquecento than the 500L's unimaginative straight lines. …

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