The 500X draws on the heartstrings. However, then the mind comes into play…

The Fiat 500 has always made me smile, with its retro styling — inspired by the original model’s design — making it a visually appealing city car. However, it’s not without its cons, the most significant of which is its lack of oomph and packing space. Indeed, it’s a car you buy with your heart. With the 500X, the Italian marque has supersized the compact model. And, much like its smaller sibling from which it takes its design cues, the crossover has something rather magnetic about it.

500x

Nipped and tucked, the facelifted model (driven here in Sport guise; the Sport EST, my favourite in the three-strong local line-up, ships with an electrically operated soft-top) has even more magnetism. However, some cons remain. But it was the welcome updates that drew me in first. So let’s start with the pros.

The upsized 500’s head- and taillamps feature LED tech, with the former incorporating LED daytime-running lights. In addition, the front fog lamps are also of the LED variety. The 19-inch alloy wheels fitted to the Sport and chrome-trimmed exhaust tips add to its sporty styling.

500x

The interior also features some sporty elements, most noticeably the ‘techno’ leather and Alcantara trim used for the multifunction steering wheel and atop the instrument binnacle housing the legible, analogue speedo- and tachometer and digital display sited betwixt. A host of convenience and safety features are included. The infotainment system felt more intuitive than before. However, measuring 7.0 inches, the touch-enabled display looks out of place in a car in this price range. And here’s where I’ll kick off with the cons…

The 500X’s luggage capacity felt surprisingly small. Of course, it’s more capacious than the 500, but compared to the Peugeot 2008, the Fiat’s boot space (at 245 litres) is 189 litres less. The second gripe we had was its highway-driving dynamics. The 103 kW/230 Nm four-pot lacked a little zip. It’s much more suited to in-town driving. I recorded a fuel consumption figure of 6.2 L/100 km on the launch.

At a glance

Fiat 500X 1.4T Sport

The supersized 500 drew on my heartstrings with its characterful curvature. However, I couldn’t quite get the cons out of my mind. Like its city-hatch sibling, buying the 500X is a matter of the heart.

  • Price: R560 900
  • Engine: 1.4 L, 4-cyl, turbopetrol
  • Transmission: 6-spd AT
  • Driven wheels: F
  • Power: 103 kW @ 5 000 r/min
  • Torque: 230 Nm @ 2 500 r/min
  • 0-100 km/h: 9.8 seconds
  • Top speed: 190 km/h
  • Fuel consumption: 5.7 L/100 km
  • CO2: 133 g/km