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The FREE Complete Bay Area Auto Enthusiast Guide
ALL-NEW FIAT 500X WRINGS OUT OK PERFORMANCE

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
And we thought the 2014 Fiat 500L was supersized. But that is not the case anymore with the debut of the 2016 FiatX, an even larger vehicle, in fact the largest Fiat on the roads. Since the then-Italian carmaker (and now Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) began selling cars in the United States four years ago, it has been our fortune to drive them all: base 500, Abarth, 500L and recently the 500X.
Available in several trims (ours was the Lounge), the 500X is equipped with a 2.4-liter inline-4 cylinder engine developing 180 horsepower @ 6400 rpm and 175 pounds-feet of torque @ 3900 rpm. Best of all, unlike the other Fiats, this one is mated to the popular Chrysler 9-speed auto gear box for substantial fuel savings.
The front-wheel or all-wheel-drive drive subcompact SUV boasts signature whiskers and Fiat badge, flanked by bi-halogen circular projector headlights, chromed tail lamps bezels, rounded clamshell hood and a body-colored lift gate spoiler. Step inside and the rounded instrument cluster of the 160-mph speedometer, tachometer, engine temp and fuel gauge draw attention. It truly is a simple and easily laid out dash design. Other notable standard amenities include a dual-zone auto climate control, satin-silver door handles, UConnect 6.5/touch screen, eight-way power driver seat, manual tilt/telescopic steering column, 60/40-split rear bench and a fold-flat front-passenger seat.
Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, front knee airbag, four-wheel antilock brakes with electronic brake distribution and brake assist, electronic stability and traction control, hill start assist, rearview camera, front active head restraints, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights are standard.
As the subcompact crossover SUV market grows with the entry of the all-new 2016 Mazda CX-3 and Honda HR-V, the competition will become even fiercer. The FiatX can definitely hold its own, thanks to a roomy cabin for people- and cargo-hauling capabilities, good value for the money and a distinct European flair. But there is no denying that the ride is lacking in power and, as a result, manages just a passable performance.

500X (Lounge)
Tires: 225/45R18
Wheelbase: 101.2 inches
Length: 167.2 inches
Weight: 3,095 pounds
Suspension: MacPherson strut front and twist-beam axle rear
Steering: electric power
Fuel capacity: 13.2 gallons
City: 22 mpg
Highway: 31 mpg
Base price: $24,850 (tested price at $31,100)
Web site: www.fiatusa.com