Fiat 500x

Fiat 500x lr
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By Tim Saunders

Teenagers standing by the roadside clapping and cheering.
Not something that I expect as I drive past in the Fiat 500x and at first I am oblivious but then slowly realise it’s the bright Amalfi yellow exterior - costing in excess of £1,000 - that’s really brought us to their attention.
Few vehicles on Britain’s roads have this effect and that alone makes you stand back and admire this characterful Italian.
Fiat has really achieved something special with this sports utility vehicle. It’s a difficult thing to do when considering the competition from the likes of the eye-catching Nissan Juke and Qashqai etc. etc.
To look at it seems very much like an oversized family hatchback and were it not for the flash colour I very much doubt that it would cause such a buzz.
There are so many things right with it. Keyless entry allows for unlocking it without even pushing a button or fiddling about trying to find the key. This is especially helpful when you’ve got a heavy and awkward parcel in your hands.
The higher than usual ride height gives the driver a great command of the road and helps them feel even more in control. It’s a great driver’s car. During the test I get to take it in the depths of the Hampshire countryside, not entirely my own choice but thanks to the satellite navigation system. I need to vent my frustration with this. It seems to prefer avoiding motorways altogether and taking the driver on scenic routes. I really have seen parts of Hampshire that I did not know existed. When time is an issue this is not always appreciated. However, on the subsequent quiet country roads where there is no traffic other than a beautiful Roe Deer and a few pheasants, I get to try out its abilities. The ride height allows the driver to see way ahead and over the top of hedges, allowing this vehicle to be driven fast – safely. It’s got a good set of brakes, too. When we do meet an oncoming vehicle and have overshot a lay-by the 500X is a doddle to reverse back into it. It feels a very agile vehicle, which is just the right size. While it is fitted with a reversing camera, I have no need for it. Other neat touches include a switch on the driver’s seat that electrically adjusts the lumbar support, which is very effective. It’s good to see that the wing mirrors are power folding and I like the six speed gearbox although when in second it does feel as if it should slot in a little further. Generally it’s a decent gearbox. There is an easy to operate steering wheel mounted cruise control but I find with the irritatingly slow nature of traffic on our overcrowded main roads that it’s easier not to use this function. The black leather seats are not only supportive but hardwearing and the centre armrest in the front is in the right place, not always the case.
Overall this is a great family vehicle that is versatile, sporty and funky and can be all things to pretty much everybody.

Facts at a glance
Model tested: 1.6 Multijet 120bhp Cross
Price: £23,295
Top speed: 115mph
0-60mph: 10.5secs
Economy: 68.9mpg
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