Ian Lamming gets carried away in the spirited new Fiat 500X Sport.
MY partner asks me, ‘why are you going so fast’? I’m not, at least not intentionally, it’s the car, it’s running away with me.
But then I shouldn’t be surprised, this particular Fiat 500X has ‘sport’ emblazoned on its wings and that undoubtedly makes it, well, sporty.
The Alcantara and techno-leather flat-based sports steering wheel helps too as do the body hugging seats and aluminium gear knob.
Then outside you notice the 18in alloys, which look fab enough, and you can opt for even more impressive 19in variants. There are also new sideskirts, diffuser-style rear bumper, dual chrome exhaust and full LED headlights and fog lamps, which are fab in day-running mode, giving the 500 X-rated looks.
The suspension is sports tuned with 13mm reduced ride height and new steering system calibration improves feel and helm response. It reminds me of my old Abarths, in its incredible agility, the way it sits beautifully on the road and its extreme levels of grip. You can see why it’s pulling on the reins and at the heart strings.
It’s easy to forget the 500X is the SUV of the range particularly as you gaze out over a titanium grey dashboard, with red elements on the Alcantara upholstered instrument panel and attractive TFT graphics. Exclusive new black fabric with techno-leather upholstery, with a grey 500 logo on the seats, aluminium pedals and ambient interior lighting complete the 500X Sport’s unique interior and it’s great.
There are heaps of technological goodies to enjoy and keep you safe too. New 500X comes as standard with traffic sign recognition and lane assist. The Uconnect 7-inch infotainment system with satellite navigation, is compatible with Apple CarPlay and with Android Auto, and there is Bluetooth, automatic climate control, rear parking sensors and cruise control. Pretty good for a car that is just 22K.
There’s a choice of two petrol engines, a 1.0 with 120hp and six-speed manual gearbox, and a 1.3 with 150hp and six-speed DCT dual-clutch automatic transmission, complete with steering wheel controls. Test car comes with the 1.0 and it’s an absolute powerhouse thanks to the turbo offering all the performance you could ever want. Being a three cylinder it sounds and feels good and the six speed box and light clutch make changes fast and super-slick too. Expect around 40mpg and you won’t be disappointed.
My soft spot for Fiats is well known, not just because it was my first brand, nor that I was the proud owner of three Abarths. It’s just that they are always so enjoyable to drive and such great value for money. The new Fiat 500X Sport does nothing to dispel this rose-tinted view, in fact quite the opposite – no wonder I’m enjoying the spirited drive.
Fiat 500X Sport
Engine: 1.0 3-cylinder petrol turbo
0-62mph: 10.9 secs
Top speed: 117mph
Combined MPG: 43.5
Transmission: six-speed manual
CO2 g/km: 132
Price: from £22,500.00