2020 Fiat 500X Sport: The Best and the Last?
The jury’s out on how long we can expect the Fiat brand to linger — on life support — in the North American market, but the coming model year will see an improvement to one Fiat model. A model that hasn’t performed nearly as well as many would have thought.
For 2020, a crossover sharing its underpinnings and drivetrain with the far more popular Jeep Renegade amps up its looks in a bid to get noticed.
When it appeared in mid-2015, the 500X was seen as a probable volume bonanza for the sparse, struggling brand. Crossovers were exploding in popularity and the little Fiat actually looked pretty decent — unlike the ungainly 500L. The flood of buyers never materialized.
Now, after undergoing a mid-cycle refresh, the 500X enters 2020 without its 500 namesake (that pint-sized hatch will not make it to America for the coming model year, or perhaps forever).
Despite the uncertainty surrounding the brand, Fiat has on offer what looks to be the best 500X to date: the 500X Sport. Donning standard intelligent all-wheel drive, a potent 1.3-liter MultiAir turbo four, and look-at-me exterior treatment, the 500X Sport may be Fiat’s last opportunity to make an impression.
Underhood is the same 1.3L that powers the stock 500X. Making 177 horsepower and 210 lb-ft of torque, the new mill, shared with the Renegade, offers a step up in twist from prior engines (1.4L, 2.4L). A nine-speed automatic allows the model to achieve 30 mpg on the highway.
Wait, you’re saying — regular 500X buyers get the same engine, tranny, and drive layout!
It’s true. The 500X Sport maintains the changes brought to the model line in 2019, making this effort an appearance package and little else. What does set the Sport apart from the rest of the line is its tweaked front and rear fascia, body-color side moldings, and dark-finish external accents. Rovente Red is the trim-specific paint color you see here.
Inside, there’s a darkened headliner and pillars, upgraded seating, a sport-minded steering wheel, and a number of other minor alterations. The roof can go black, too, if that’s your type of thing. Sadly, LED front illumination is not standard (you can spring for it), though the Sport’s wheels are of the 18-inch variety, with 19-inch hoops shod with Michelin CrossClimate all-season rubber available for extra coin.
Safety-wise, the 500X Sport heaps all nearly available driver-assist features onto its plate, minus the optional front parking sensors and adaptive cruise. Drivers will access Fiat Chrysler’s Uconnect 4 infotainment system through a 7-inch touchscreen.
All told, the 2020 500X Sport retails for $26,895 before destination.
Despite offering things American buyers seem to like, the 500X has seen its sales tank since its first full year on sale. Volume sunk 41 percent in the third quarter of 2019, with sales through the end of September down 51 percent. In the first nine months of the year, Fiat moved just 2,076 units of its little crossover.
[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]
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Buyer beware.... From Bloomberg Businessweek When the lease was up on Ed Kim’s 2015 Fiat 500L, he and his wife went through four Los Angeles area dealerships before they found one willing to take back the car. Three had dropped the Fiat brand from their stores—including the one that originally leased him the car. “We had this orphaned car in our driveway that we needed to bring back, with no dealership willing to take it in,” says Kim. “It was such a weird and bizarre situation.”