I’ve never named my cars. Never. Okay, so yes, my first car, a 1972 Volkswagen Super Beetle, was named Lizzie. She was named by her previous owners, my parents, and it just seemed to fit the car. Since the Beetle, I haven’t really owned a car that has a personality worthy of a name but, the 2016 Fiat 500X has so much personality, it almost screams “Name Me”.
Fiat: Italian DNA Runs Deep
Fiat’s newest family member the 2016 Fiat 500X, or “big brother” as its referred to affectionately, was designed at Centro Stile in Turin, Italy. It was created using the Fiat heritage as DNA with form and function in mind. It keeps the signature “whiskers and logo” face and the rounded clamshell hood, but this Cinquecento has been working out, and has a muscular, athletic exterior. Bright, fun colors on the exterior, and the bold body color dash panels on the interior give the crossover a lot of style points.
2016 Fiat 500X Emphasizes Design and Individuality
I spent some time chatting with Fiat brand manager, Nicole Longhini, about Fiat’s expansion into North America. Her enthusiasm and passion for the Fiat brand are contagious. She gave me some background on the brand, and you can tell Fiat owners are passionate about design, and want their vehicles to reflect their unique personalities. With twelve exterior color choices like Giallo Amalfi Tristrato (Tricoat Yellow) or “happy sunshine” as I call it, Arancio (Orange), and Rosso Amore (Tricoat Red), there are plenty of ways for owners to express themselves. I kind of think, if I bought a 2016 Fiat 500X in yellow, I’d name it”happy minion”, and cruise around town with Pharrell’s “Happy” blaring from my Beats sound system.
Fiat 500X On California Roads
This trip, Jasmine from Simply Real Moms, and I were headed to Malibu in a popsicle orange 500X with the Lounge trim. On a Saturday afternoon getting out of Los Angeles requires a little patience. As we sat in bumper to bumper traffic on the PCH, I tried to adjust to the speedometer on the left side of the instrument cluster. Yep, the left side….and the tachometer is on the right side. I eventually gave up, and was relieved to discover I could have my speed digitally displayed on the center display.
I used the dynamic selector system to switch back and forth between Auto, Sport and Traction + modes, with sport being my preferred mode. The tobacco brown leather seats in the 2016 Fiat 500X Lounge model, provide a rich, elegant dynamic to the crossover’s peppy interior. I could almost imagine I was chillin’ in someone’s villa, instead of riding shotgun in a crossover.
We powered up the hills and around the curves with the 2.4-liter Tigershark MultiAir2 engine under our clamshell hood. With 180 horsepower and 175 lb.-ft. of torque, paired exclusively to a nine-speed automatic transmission, the Fiat 500X held its own. While the horsepower was adequate, I would have enjoyed a little more zip along with the infamous Italian engine soundtrack.
I like to have fun on and off the road, and believe my car should reflect my personality. When you own a Fiat, you belong to the “cool kids” club. I don’t know if there are secret handshakes, but there’s definitely a kindred spirit among Fiat owners. With the Fiat 500X, you can be fun without sacrificing practical. The backseat has room for your friends or your kids, with cargo area for groceries or gear (18.5 cubic feet behind back seat).
My drive partner and I were pleasantly surprised our Lounge edition offered dual-zone climate control, eight-way power seat with four-way lumbar controls, plus, heated seats and steering wheel. A few missed turns, and we relied on the navigation system for the last part of our route. Uconnect remains one of the most intuitive entertainment systems available, and a personal favorite.
Dress Up Your Crossover: Fiat 500X Mopar Accessories
The choices are almost endless with the 2016 Fiat 500X. Twelve exterior colors. Five trim levels: Pop, Easy, Lounge, Trekking and Trekking Plus. Two engine options, one with a six-speed manual, or the available nine-speed automatic transmission, and AWD is available. You can choose between 16, 17, or 18 inch wheels , giving you more ground clearance than other compact crossovers on the road. If you really want to stand apart from the herd and express yourself, there are over 100 Mopar accessories available for the 500X.
Some of the more than 100 Mopar accessories available for the new 2016 Fiat 500X include:
Graphics Packages: More than 20 different exterior graphics packages will be available at launch to personalize the Fiat 500X.
Wheels: Owners can choose from 18-inch wheels in three different color options to dress up the new compact crossover.
Racks & Carriers: For bikes, skis, snowboards, luggage and more, Mopar offers a variety of racks and carriers to fit the new Fiat 500X.
Katzkin Seats: Owners can transform the interior of their Fiat 500X with premium leather Katzkin seats.
With a base price of $20,900 for a Fiat 500X Pop, this crossover offers affordable fun with safety and technology. The 2016 Fiat 500X Trekking Plus runs around $28,000, when compared to the competition, it seems you get more content on the Fiat 500X for the money. Safety Electronic stability control (ESC) with Hill-start Assist and electronic roll mitigation is standard on all models. Dealers are expecting to see 2016 Fiat 500X crossovers on the lot in mid May. While I can’t see the future, my guess is we’ll see a lot of bright orange Fiats on the road in Texas this summer.
FCA covered my travel and meal expenses so I could attend the 2016 Fiat 500X media launch. All opinions are based on my personal experience.