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11 Jun, 2019 4:45pm Richard Dredge
A full used buyer’s guide on the Fiat 500X covering the 500X Mk1 (2015-date)
It would be easy to accuse Fiat of being cynical when it jumped onto the small SUV bandwagon by introducing a jacked-up version of its ever-popular 500 supermini. But the 500 is the only Fiat that sells in big numbers, and buyers want to downsize while still enjoying driving in an SUV, so the 500X was just what the market wanted.
Healthy sales when new mean there’s plenty of choice on the used market, plus prices are keen. Although even the oldest examples are only four years old, a second-hand 500X can be yours for just £8,000. So does the Fiat make a good used buy?
- • Fiat 500X (2015-date) – Buy carefully, and stylish Italian SUV can be a great runaround.
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The 500X first appeared in UK showrooms in April 2015, priced from £14,595. Buyers could choose from 109bhp 1.6-litre E-torq and 138bhp 1.4-litre MultiAir petrol engines, as well as 119bhp 1.6-litre and 138bhp 2.0-litre MultiJet diesels. The top 2.0-litre diesel unit came only with a nine-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive.
A simplified 500X range was introduced in February 2018, with just three trim levels – Pop, Pop Star and Cross Plus. Mid-range cars and above gained an improved Uconnect multimedia system that featured both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Six months later a facelifted 500X arrived, with new 1.0 and 1.3-litre ‘FireFly’ petrol engines, fresh headlights, an upgraded interior and revised trim levels – Urban, City Cross and Cross Plus. Traffic sign recognition, a speed limiter and lane-departure assist also became standard.
Fiat 500X reviews
Which one should I buy?
The naturally aspirated 1.6-litre petrol engine is okay if you’re in no hurry, but the turbocharged petrol and diesel powerplants have the most zip. The 1.6-litre E-Torq and 1.3-litre MultiJet engines were paired with a five-speed manual gearbox, while the 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre MultiJet got six-speed transmissions. All 500Xs with four-wheel drive came with a nine-speed auto box.
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Entry-level Pop trim gets air-con, electric windows all round, 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control and a speed limiter. Pop Star adds reversing sensors, a five-inch infotainment screen and 17-inch alloys.
Mid-range Lounge also features ambient lighting, a 6.5-inch display, privacy glass, 18-inch wheels and xenon headlights, while Cross comes with 17-inch wheels, half-leather trim and unique bumpers (but a five-inch screen and no xenon lights). The range-topping Cross Plus gets everything: 18-inch wheels, 6.5-inch display, xenon lights, keyless go, half-leather trim and more.
Alternatives to the Fiat 500X
If you’re looking for a small SUV you’re spoiled for choice, with most mainstream car makers offering one. Nissan created the segment with its Juke in 2010; it still looks distinctive, but is due to be replaced soon.
What to look for
Top-spec cars have all the bells and whistles, but the 18-inch wheels give a firm ride. Be sure you don’t find this too uncomfortable.
If you’re after a diesel, be aware the facelift in August 2018 saw all the 500X’s diesel engines axed; it was petrol only from then on.
The Uconnect system can drop a phone’s Bluetooth connection. This isn’t specific to one make; it reportedly happens with all brands.
Inspect a potential purchase to ensure all of the electrics work. Owners report problems with locks, windows and other such items.
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Fiat doesn’t do bland design, and the 500X gets an eye-catching dash that’s generally user-friendly, while the cabin has plenty of high-quality materials. The multimedia system is okay, rather than class-leading, but there’s no shortage of equipment, especially on mid-range models and above. Cabin storage is good but the boot is quite small, at just 350 litres, or 1,000 with the seats folded.
Petrol 500Xs need servicing every 9,000 miles or 12 months, diesels every 12 months or 12,000 miles. Minor/major services cost £51/£313 on petrols and £62/£295 for diesels during the three-year warranty. From then, they’re around £119/£179 with any engine.
All the engines except the FireFly units have a cambelt. The replacement schedule varies hugely with the engine (6-12 years and 72,000-144,000 miles), but every five years or 72,000 miles is a good guide; budget £500.
There have been two recalls so far. One in March 2017 saw 64 cars with an automatic box built from December 2014 to January 2016 receive a software update and possible wiring upgrade to prevent the transmission from potentially shifting into neutral while driving.
A redesigned rear seat latching mechanism is required for 500Xs made between June 2015 and August 2018.
Driver Power owner satisfaction
The 500X didn’t figure in our satisfaction survey this year, but it was in the Driver Power 2018 poll, in 71st place out of 75. The Fiat didn’t do well in any category; it was bottom (or nearly) for reliability and build quality, running costs and ride and handling. Its top score was for practicality and boot space, but even that was only just inside the top 50, so it was disappointing all round.
The Fiat 500X didn’t feature in our Driver Power 2019 survey but came 71st out of 75 cars last year, suggesting things could be better. Owners on our sister site carbuyer.co.uk give a very wide spread of opinions on the 500X. There are several one or two-star ratings, but plenty of five-star verdicts, too. The key seems to be to buy the right model for you, and thoroughly check over any car before you buy it. While some owners have had no problems, too many seem to have had lots of grief. Buy a trouble-free 500X, look after it, and it could be the perfect runabout. But choose badly and you might not stop regretting it