2019 Fiat 500X: New Engine, New Standard Equipment, Same Overall Look

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

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]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • JoDa JoDa on Nov 27, 2018

    Surprising to see this not selling in the USA. What is wrong?

    • See 1 previous
    • Danio3834 Danio3834 on Nov 28, 2018

      Brand/lack of exposure. If it were branded as a Dodge or Chrysler available at all dealers, it would sell many multiples more. Though in this form, it's basically a low cost as-is export. The same car shaped as a Jeep sells into six figure volume.

  • Slavuta Slavuta on Nov 27, 2018

    NONE!!! No manual - no car

    • INeon INeon on Nov 28, 2018

      There are manuals available in the Jeep models— the manuals are pretty junky and illy-integrated with the rear axles on AWD/4x4 models. Mine is a 2.4 Compass 4x4 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?

  • Rando [h2]Coincidentally, the Rolls-Royce Cullinan is more than $41k as well -.-[/h2]
  • Ajla "Gee, wonder why car (as well as home) insurance rates are much higher in places like Florida..." Severe weather is on the list but even if a benevolent genie reverted the climate to circa 1724 I think FL would still have high cost. Our home insurance rates have increased 102% since 2021 and I don't think weather models account for that much of a change in that period. Florida's insurance assignment of benefit regulation meant that it had ~80% of the country's of the insurance lawsuits on ~12% of the nation's claims and litigated claims can be expensive to insurance companies. The state altered some regulations and is having some success on getting more companies back, even with the severe weather risks, through relatively bipartisan efforts. With car insurance just beyond the basic "Florida" stuff, the population increase of the past few years is overwhelming the roads. But, I think the biggest thing is we have very low mandated car insurance levels. Only $10K personal injury and $10K property damage. No injury liability needed. And 20% of the state has no insurance. So people that actually want insurance pay out the nose. Like I commented above my under/uninsured coverage alone is 2.5x my comprehensive & collision.
  • Juan Let's do an 1000 mile drive and see who gets there first.
  • Eliyahu CVT needed for MPG. Outback is indeed the legacy of, err, the Legacy.
  • Gayneu I can comment on these. My wife always thought the Minis were "cute" so I bought her a used 2005 (non-S, 5 speed) for one of her "special" birthdays. She loved it and I kinda did too. Somehow a hole developed in the transmission case and the fluid drained out, ruining the car (too expensive to fix). A local mechanic bought it for $800.We then bought a used 2015 S (6 speed) which we still have today (80k miles). Her sister just bought a used S as well (also manual). It has been a dependable car but BMW-priced maintenance and premium gas hurts for sure. I think the earlier generation (like in the article) were better looking with cleaner lines. The 2015 S rides too stiff for me (Chicago roads) but is a hoot on smooth ones. It does seem to shift weird - its hard to describe but it shifts differently from every other manual I have driven. No matter how hard I try, so won't let go of her Mini.