By on November 27, 2018

Having already revealed the updated European version, Fiat is unveiling North America’s take on the facelifted 500X. While the subcompact crossover’s official LA Auto Show debut isn’t for another day or so, FCA decided not to sit on it. Likely a wise move, as the model will assuredly be overshadowed by higher profile vehicles appearing later this week.

As with its European counterpart, the North American changes are barely noticeable. While Fiat says the exterior has been updated, with new fascias incorporating LED running lights, the tweaks aren’t immediately apparent to onlookers. In fact, most are unlikely to notice any significant changes to the model before climbing into the driver’s seat or spending some time with a corporate dossier outlining all the alterations.

Fortunately, we can give you the abridged version — a list that includes standard all-wheel drive and a new engine. 

The 2019 Fiat 500X’s adoption of a Euro-spec powerplant swaps the old, base 1.4-liter unit (160 hp, 184 lb-ft) for a 1.3-liter turbocharged inline-four engine producing 177 horsepower and 210 pound-feet of torque. It also appears to scrap the manual option, as FCA has decided to pair the engine with a sole nine-speed automatic gearbox and driveline disconnect to pare down fuel consumption.

Trims have also been culled, with the Lounge variant vanishing from the lineup. The 500X can now be had in the entry-level Pop, “rugged” Trekking, or flashy Trekking Plus trim. Your choice between the three is largely dependent on how interested you are in a “lifestyle vehicle,” as Fiat has made most desirable equipment standard for 2019.

New 500X buyers will be pleased to learn FCA updated the vehicle’s instrumentation to include a central 3.5-inch digital display while maintaining the 7-inch Uconnect infotainment system (which comes with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and SiriusXM).

Navigation remains an optional extra, however, as are the LED headlamps the manufacturer is making a sizable fuss over. According to the automaker, the lights add a football field-worth of forward visibility at 56 mph. That’s apparently good for roughly 4 seconds of added time to spot obstacles in the dark vs the standard halogen units. They’re also said to be vastly more energy efficient, if you were worried about that. Shoppers can also add Bluetooth connectivity and a BeatsAudio premium sound system for some extra coin.

While the visual redesign isn’t particularly ambitious (the fog lamps are round… wow), Fiat appears to be building a better base model by most metrics. However, this results in a significant price increase. The starting MSRP for the 2019 Fiat 500X is now $25,785 with destination.

That’s quite a bit more than last year’s pre-destination base price of $19,995. However, you are getting more standard equipment and a new, fuel-sipping powertrain that looks comparable (if not superior) to the 2.4-liter Tigershark that’s available for the current model year. Still, if you’re seriously concerned with pinching pennies, we advise you to examine the 2019 Jeep Renegade — which also adopts the 1.3-liter turbo and starts about two grand cheaper than the Fiat, despite basically being the same car.

[Images: FCA]

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30 Comments on “2019 Fiat 500X: New Engine, New Standard Equipment, Same Overall Look...”


  • avatar

    Here we have an indirect example of why Detroit is getting out of the car business. Despite all the bad reviews the 500 has garnered, it is still better than any American compact car developed from the ground up. Is the ION, Cobalt, and Cavalier any better than the 500. The answer is the 500 is superior to all of them. I find current GM suvs and trucks also lacking in quality.

    • 0 avatar
      MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

      This is the 500X crossover, not the “500” small passenger car. But yeah, that means this really IS an example of why MFRs are abandoning cars.

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      Well, the 500 is better until you need 4 doors.

      The 500X seen here is also better, but as MiataReallyIsTheAnswer noted it is not a compact car (and the Renegade is the better version of this car).

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        I love Renegade. But not anymore. I thought they will come with nice 1.8 Turbo mill that can move it better while improving efficiency. But now they removed manual tranny, put in tiny engine… what a disappointment!

  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    It was only mentioned in passing in the article, but are you saying ALL versions now will be AWD standard??

    • 0 avatar
      scott25

      Yes

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        That’s dumb for those who neither want or need AWD, but then again, Subaru

        • 0 avatar
          MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

          I own it as a FWD (Trekking fairly loaded) and it is more than capable in any weather. It actually drives wonderfully. I had no desire for the extra weight of the AWD, nor the hit to acceleration. I already own 2 other 4×4 SUVs anyway. This thing is really the “perfect size” for most daily uses, has a large backseat for my 3 kids, and I got many thousands off when I bought it. I also think it looks far better than the Renegade, but that all boils down to personal opinion. The 500X is free to be its own thing, without needing to assert any faux capability as a Jeep.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            As much as I like the Renegade it’s not to everyone’s taste, this is a nice option if you like everything about the Renegade except for it’s oddball boxy looks

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Posky

      Yes indeed.

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    I still don’t get Fiat’s decision to not offer manual transmissions on the 500X when the same powertrain with more options was available on the Renegade. Fiat should be attracting import intenders and competes more with the Mini models which do offer (and sell) manuals.

    I suppose the relatively small volume requires some penny pinching, but not offering the manual in a small SUV probably cost them sales. The previous 500X could only be had with a manual in stripper FWD variant while the Renegade could be had in mid-level trim models and AWD. The 1.4 was better than the larger displacement 4-cylinder, too, and that nine-speed automatic had its own issues.

    • 0 avatar
      iNeon

      How is the 1.4t better than the 2.4 n/a?

      Having owned both, the 1.4 was rough and thumpy. Requires specialty parts and oil- premium fuel, too. The 2.4 is happy as a clam in 4th, 5th or 6th and on 87 octane.

      I like the 2.4 better.

  • avatar
    cgjeep

    I think they are making the engine smaller so they can find a way to use the 9th gear in the transmission.

    • 0 avatar
      Mister_Sterling

      Ha ha! I still think it wil never reach 9th. I think I need to test drive the 2019 Renegade just out of curiosity. It will still be slow, but should finally crack 30MPG overall (the best I could do with the 2.4L Tigershark was 29MPG overall).

      • 0 avatar
        MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

        I don’t find it to be “slow” really, it only weighs 2900 pounds and has 184 HP. I also drive a Mustang GT stick and still find the 500X more than adequate with the 2.4L.

        I do want to test drive the new turbo, though – the TQ is pretty nice.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Yet still a flop.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    A couple of things come to mind.

    One, if FCA was going to withdraw Fiat from the US, I don’t think they would bother with making the recent updates to the 500 and the 500X. Second, the equipment levels seem to be more appropriate for the money they’re asking for the 500X.

    Not I’ve had a lot to compare against in my area, but the few 500Xs I’ve seen were already priced in the mid-20’s, only because all the normal stuff that people want in a car was optional.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I’m thinking FCA might rebadge this as some kind of Jeep/Chrysler where they might actually sell a few

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        The 500X? It’s already the Renegade.

        The 500 coupe (for lack of a better term)? THAT would be interesting as a Jeep. ;)

      • 0 avatar
        WallMeerkat

        They’re fans of rebadging – Chrysler 300s / Voyagers were rebadged as Lancias in Europe, and Lancias were rebadged as Chryslers in UK and Ireland (because Lancias were rusty in the 1970s).

        Even if it was a subbrand “Fiat by Chrysler” or something, given that Chrysler doesn’t have a lot to sell on their own, especially once the inevitable axe falls upon the 300.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    These are still sold?

  • avatar
    vehic1

    Fiat’s stubbornly married to the retro-500 look, for its tiny “entire line”; oh, those dull, rounded headlights – so sporty!??
    FCA’s stablemate/twin, the Renegade – neither very butch nor sleek and modern, neither fish nor fowl, an odd-looking combination. But, by God, it’s a Jeep, and it’s cheap.

  • avatar
    JoDa

    Surprising to see this not selling in the USA.

    What is wrong?

  • avatar
    slavuta

    NONE!!! No manual – no car

    • 0 avatar
      iNeon

      There are manuals available in the Jeep models— the manuals are pretty junky and illy-integrated with the rear axles on AWD/4×4 models.

      Mine is a 2.4 Compass 4×4 6-speed manual.

      The automatic is going to be more reliable and feel more mature, which is likely why they’ve chosen to offer only that configuration on this version.

      Jeep owners are going to be more forgiving of the strange mechanical feelings on manually-shifted FWD, automated rear axle drive systems. I guess?


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