At Fiat we like to make cars that last a long time. At least, we appreciate the fact that they remain in the catalog for a long time. This is the case of the 500X which was born 8 years ago already. Landed in 2014 and restyled in 2018, it continues its journey, from limited series to special series, But the one which was, at its launch, one of the precursor urban SUVs before almost all brands took up the subject. , left behind and is trying to catch up with a new slightly hybridized engine.
But before opening the hood to discover the new block, a little tour of this 500X is essential. Surprise, the small 4.24 m SUV has not aged a bit despite its advanced age. it was, at the time of its creation, the most successful version of the 500, and it has remained so while benefiting, in addition, since a restyling at the beginning of the year, from an almost full grille which displays the new “500” logo like its little sister and which in no way spoils the general line.
In the cabin, the same impression: the dashboard, which takes the colors of the bodywork, even if it is in an approximate and too thin plastic, is still as cheerful and gives a smile to the occupants. Still, the central screen shows its age. It looks big and judging, you’d swear it’s 12 inches tall like its recent siblings. But by switching on the ignition, we find ourselves faced with a small 7-inch slab only circled in black. For vintage lovers, the effect is guaranteed and they find themselves propelled back to the good old days of the first Tom-Toms. Even if today’s small slab accepts Carplay and Android connections.
An aging interior
They will console themselves with a small 3.5-inch slab nestled between real counters rather nicely located. But on the other hand, they will become disillusioned with a trunk whose size is no longer up to date at all since it only accepts 350 l. Just like the rear seats, honest nothing more. On the other hand, the roof guard is very respectable and will accommodate two adults regardless of their size.
The 500X’s cabin has therefore aged, but its chassis also dates from the previous decade. If at the time already, it could not compete with the comfort-road holding compromise of a Peugeot 2008, it is even less the case today. The dryness of the suspensions is matched only by their trepidation, whatever the coating. Fortunately, the direction remains well controlled, even if it does not reach heights of precision. And braking does the same.
There remain two essential elements of this mechanical part: the engine and the gearbox. To hybridize its small SUV, Fiat did not look very far, recovering the elements of the Jeep Compass e-hybrid. Like the American compact SUV, the 500X has a 4-cylinder turbo and 48v hybridization. And like him, he has a little something extra: an electric motor bonded to the Getrag 7-speed automatic gearbox. This little “plus” allows you to drive a little in electric mode. With what autonomy? It is necessary to exclude going shopping in silence, since, during our tests, it was impossible to exceed 5 m in zero emissions mode. According to Fiat management, this is useful when manoeuvring. Go for the clean niche.
The interest of this 500 X hybrid therefore does not lie in its possibility of driving without noise. Its advantage is therefore necessarily at the level of its consumption and its reduction in penalty? Regarding the latter, the contract is rather full since it does not exceed 70 euros in basic finish. On the other hand, on the consumer side, the case is less relevant. In WLTP max measurements, the manufacturer indicates 5.6 l/100 km of combined average. We noted 6.4 l on a route combining city and highway, to exceed 9 l in the mountains. The score is not alarming, even if some engines achieve the same performance without the support of an electric crutch.
Still, the performance is obtained at the cost of a lack of dynamism of the engine which struggles to hang on the turns, despite a torque of 240 Nm obtained from 1,500 rpm. The box called DCT7 is not of much help to him. She tends to lose herself between two reports as soon as she is brutalized a tad. Father’s driving is therefore highly recommended, which, after all, is the purpose of an SUV, however urban it may be.