What is it?
Fiat’s response to a significant 66% drop in sales of its Fiat 500X in 2017, owing to a bunch of new B-segment SUVs arriving on the scene and pilfering its market share. The Italian crossover has been given a mild makeover in the hope of restoring its competitive edge against fresher alternatives.
Suffering in the hands of the competition it may be, but the 500X is still a big deal for Fiat in the UK as it’s the brand’s second biggest seller after (yep, you guessed it) the seemingly immortal Fiat 500 city car. Given the demise of the Punto, a continued downward trajectory of the 500X’s sales is cause for concern.
Styling upgrades require pointing out, as they did to us - but then it’s still one of the more distinctive crossovers around. New LED daytime running lights (combined with full-LED headlights as standard on top trims), LED rear lights with a tweaked design and refreshed bumpers combine with three new colours to make the 500X fractionally more bold than before.
Changes to the engine range are far more significant. Gone is the old diesel option, deemed unnecessary in light of changing consumer trends, and there’s no four-wheel-drive option either. Fiat has a couple of all-new ‘Firefly’ turbocharged petrol engines in the form of a 118bhp 1.0-litre three-pot and a 148bhp 1.3-litre four-pot, the latter available only with a six-speed automatic ’box. It’s the former that we’re trying here.
Elsewhere, there are two different bodystyles in the form of the more rugged Cross Look and the subtler Urban Look, while the interior has benefited from a few new materials and a load more safety equipment, including standard-fit lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition and a speed advisor. Even base models also get a new 7.0in touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.