By on November 13, 2019

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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).

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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.

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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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52 Comments on “2020 Fiat 500X Sport: The Best and the Last?...”


  • avatar
    Imagefont

    Idea to increase sales:
    Change name to “Jeep 500X”.
    Put “Trail Rated” badge on fender.
    You’re welcome.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Smoke

      or call it a FeeP 5oo

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      I’ve tested Renegade 2 years back. 1.4T/Manual. I loved the thing but. . . Engines. Why CRV, RAV4 can run on 2.4/2.5L natural aspiration and this thing can’t? Give me that and MT, I am in. I understand, this Fiat is a small car and engine bay might not fit such engine. Or may be this is even simpler – FCA does not have such engine.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        Obama killed the 2.4 liter CR-V LX option this year.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          Then, I guess, he also killed my interest in it

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Zero love for the guy but I’m pretty sure he didn’t become a Honda exec in January to make such a decision.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            His CAFE will continue to exert fascist control on the car market until the country collapses.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Can’t the man in charge overrule what his predecessor mandated? No, huh?

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            @Todd: Please explain the correlation between the USA ‘collapsing’ and CAFE requirements? It does seem rather tenuous, unless perhaps you are Charles Erwin Wilson?

          • 0 avatar
            N8iveVA

            So CAFE is killing off 4 cylinder options? Good to know. I thought it would be killing off V8’s. Or killing off nothing if they buy credits ala FCA.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            “ So CAFE is killing off 4 cylinder options? Good to know. I thought it would be killing off V8’s. Or killing off nothing if they buy credits ala FCA.”

            Evidence suggests that yes CAFE is killing off the decent 4 cylinders only to be replaced by horrid 4 cylinders of dubious quality and poor drivability. I present you the 1.5T Malibu.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Haven’t y’all figured it out yet? They’re pushing for all-electric as soon as possible. They’ve reached the efficiency limits of the ICEV and they all need a different drivetrain that doesn’t rely on mechanical effort to drive the wheels. As we’ve already seen, electric motors can improve the efficiency of an ICE by almost 50%. Batteries for power improves the efficiency of almost any ICE by over 400%

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            “ Haven’t y’all figured it out yet? They’re pushing for all-electric as soon as possible. They’ve reached the efficiency limits of the ICEV and they all need a different drivetrain that doesn’t rely on mechanical effort to drive the wheels. As we’ve already seen, electric motors can improve the efficiency of an ICE by almost 50%. Batteries for power improves the efficiency of almost any ICE by over 400%”

            But precisely how many people is any of this important to?

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @Hummer: Every single person on this heah world, whether they want to believe it or not. Hey. You asked.

            The point is that to get any decent acceleration out of a tiny four-banger, you either need to row a lot of gears, starting with a low-low first just to get away from the line, then you need to run in the power band of that engine until you get up to speed. Anything else is pretty much too slow. With a slush box, you need a high-stall torque converter that hits and locks as fast and hard as a manual clutch in the hands of a racer–as little slip as possible allowed. The Renegade’s 9-speed is surprisingly quick for sitting under that 2.4L others here have already complained about. It’s practically neck-snapping because it hits so hard but you still don’t have the thrust of true horsepower and torque like you do with a 300hp, 300lbs/ft V6 or larger.

            An electric offers instant torque and the ONLY limits to that horsepower and torque are the available voltage and current of the power supply. A small I-4 may not be able to provide the 400volts, 1000amps of a Tesla but it could still push that output over 200V/400A which would almost double the mechanical gearing output in a same sized car. There’s a reason railroads use Diesel engines powering massive generators on those locomotives… the electric motors can move the load far more readily than burning a clutch or stripping gears with a mechanical system. That’s why they can boast 400ton-miles per gallon of fuel and a diesel truck can only claim about 140 ton-miles per gallon (not including pickup trucks.) A car? At best about 40 ton-miles per gallon unless it has hybrid-electric technology added and still barely makes 60 ton-miles.

            So. Do you want power? Do you want the ability to accelerate? Then I recommend electric drive with battery power but at least a gas-electric (or diesel-electric) hybrid would improve on ICE alone.

        • 0 avatar
          Imagefont

          The 2.5NA 4-cyl in the Camry is one of the best engines I’ve ever driven with outstanding real world fuel economy. Fiat could do it if they wanted to.
          Or are Wednesday’s just “dammit Obama” day?

        • 0 avatar

          If he did that why he was not impeached? It is a capital offence isn’t it?

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        The similar Compass is available with a 2.4L and MTX.

        • 0 avatar
          here4aSammich

          The Renegade is similar. The Compass is a slightly larger vehicle. Yes with the better engine choice. I know a few Renegade owners who are very happy with the vehicle. Not sure which engines they have.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt51

      Sell it at Chrysler dealerships.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Nice car. But 1.3T. . . .done

  • avatar
    Detroit-X

    They lost me at: Fiat

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      @Detroit-X: Too bad. Fiats aren’t nearly as bad as people want to believe, though I won’t argue that they do develop annoying little ‘issues’ over time. But then, so does any other brand. They’re surprisingly lively–a lot livelier than a lot of so-called ‘reviewers’ want to admit.

  • avatar
    Big Smoke

    or call it a FeeP 5oo

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I’ve seen even less of these in the wild than the plain old 500.

  • avatar
    HP440

    180hp and 210 TQ would be a blast in the Abarth, too bad we’ll never see it (over here).

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    They keep foisting these on tourists arriving at McCarran as “small SUV” on the rental lots. Don’t remember last time I saw one without a barcode.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    It needs the 2.0T engine from the Cherokee.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    Car shopping a few months ago we were looking at these – with a manual and the previous 1.4T engine (if I remember that correctly).

    Holy depreciation! The 500X is dirt cheap for low mileage versions. Like $11k for a 2016 with less than 20k miles on the clock.

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-X

      Wow. I’ll have to check into that. I lost my $13k, 4000 lb boat anchor somewhere in Lake Saint Clair last summer.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      From the article: “The flood of buyers never materialized”.

      I expected to be part of that flood. The closest I’ve come to a 500X is sitting in one at the local auto show. I liked it.

      But then I’ve seen the depreciation and wonder why anyone would buy one new.

      Also, I’d probably have to get the automatic (family), and the FCA 9-speed auto is terrible (at least the one I drove in a Renegade), so no deal.

      And finally, now that Fiat appears to be exiting the US market, I’m not interested in buying an orphan.

      • 0 avatar
        Steve203

        >>And finally, now that Fiat appears to be exiting the US market, I’m not interested in buying an orphan.<<

        It had crossed my mind that the 500X being essentially the same car as a Renegade, parts and service support for a 500X would be more available in a post-Fiat environment than for purely Fiat products like the 500 and 500L. Did a bit of investigating and found there are significant differences between the two. Both cars use the same power train and fuel pump, for instance, but the 500X uses a different radiator, different window regulators and a different instrument panel, so I don't know as I would want a 500X for the usual 10-15 year period that I usually own a car.

  • avatar
    Steve203

    I looked over a 500X at the Detroit show last January, at length. Really quite like it, especially the improved instrument cluster with the larger analog speedo and tach.

    Road tests I have read generally say the 1.3T is an improvement over the doggy, shaky, 2.4, but the rest of the car is still faulted for a doggy 9 speed trans, an overly stiff ride and a pretty exorbitant price.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I think the price is just a suggestion, because FCA is giving $5K-$7K off Renegades which is a lot on a $26K-$29K sticker. I would think they’d even deal more on the FIAT

      • 0 avatar
        Steve203

        >>I think the price is just a suggestion, because FCA is giving $5K-$7K off Renegades which is a lot on a $26K-$29K sticker. I would think they’d even deal more on the FIAT<<

        Fiat offers large incentives on any remaining 2018 500X that may still be around, but very very little on 2019s. I checked the 5 Fiat dealers in metro Detroit. There are no 2018 500Xs available.

        A 2019 Renegade Limited starts at $26,645, and Jeep is offering a $3750 incentive, contingent on financing through Chrysler.

        A 2019 500X Trekking starts at $26,245, and Fiat is offering a paltry $500 cash incentive.

        A top of the line 2019 Renegade High Altitude starts at $28,640, with a $3750 incentive, contingent on financing through Chrysler.

        A top of the line 2019 500X Trekking Plus starts at $29,445, with a $500 cash incentive.

        On top of those incentives, the Jeep web site is offering "employee pricing for all, that knocks about $2,000 off the price of a Renegade. There is no similar "employee pricing" offer on the 500X.

        Bottom line is, right now, you would be insane to buy a 500X, instead of a Renegade. Interesting marketing strategy, considering the 500X and Renegade are essentially the same car, coming from the same plant.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          There are differences, outside of the cosmetic, between the 500X and the Renegade… The Renegade offers a 20x or better “4-low” gear ratio for off-roading compared to the 500x not offering a ‘4-low’ capability.

          • 0 avatar
            Steve203

            >>The Renegade offers a 20x or better “4-low” gear ratio for off-roading compared to the 500x not offering a ‘4-low’ capability.<<

            So, the Renegade is more capable, but, under the current FCA pricing strategy, the Renegade costs thousands less?

            The Renegade also is thousands less at the low end of the price scale as the Renegade can be had with only front drive, while all 500Xs are AWD.

            A front drive Renegade Sport starts at $22275, plus a $3250 incentive and "employee pricing" price of $20,852

            An AWD Renegade Sport starts at $23775, $3250 incentive, $22247 "employee pricing"

            The cheapest 500X is the Pop, AWD standard, at $24740, $500 rebate, no employee pricing.

            The Fiat costs thousands more than a Renegade, any way you slice it. As I said, it's an "interesting" pricing strategy

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            The Fiat is still an import and relies on that. The Renegade is a Jeep and is showing signs of its age at now five years old for the basic design.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    Is the 500L still a thing? If so, what are any differences?

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    The Wrong. Should be a Panda, not a Fake 500.

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    They never had the options/trim right on the 500X. It should have been aimed at import-intenders with more availability of the manual transmission. The manual was only ever available on the 500X in base FWD form while the Renegade teamed the 1.4 manual with AWD and other trim levels. It’s nice looking small CUV but with a sparse dealer network, weak quality reputation, a much-maligned automatic transmission option, limited availability of the better manual, and low inventory levels there was no way it was ever going to be a volume player.

  • avatar
    retrocrank

    I’m guessing the market for any non-Mazda FIAT is limited to those few Murkins who like small yurocars. And that crowd, like real yurpenes, prefers to row their own gears, my spouse is a genuine yurpene and loves her stick 500. It’s also what we rent when we go see the in-laws and the car makes perfect sense in its home environment. The mandatory auto box took the 500x off our list last time we went shopping for an awd small urban hauler. So I see this as too small a demographic in a non-dense market with a non-ideal product. Not a recipe for success.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      I wonder if an old friend of mine ever looked at the 500X or 500XL. She loved her small cars and the largest one she had ever owned was a Ford Escort – loved her little 1st gen Versa hatch the last time I ran into her.

      For her it was rebelion, her Dad was a podiatrist and drove Cadillacs until the day he died. She hated those beasts. He had a triple black DTS in his garage when he passed on.

  • avatar
    AverageJoeMama

    Must be a regional thing as I see the 500 all over the NYC/metro area, as well as a fair share of the 500x… with me being one of those 500x’s :)

  • avatar
    conundrum

    I’ve never seen a 500X on the loose. Both it and the Renegade suffered sky high prices in Canada, making them a complete joke, with sales of maybe 50 a year. Who’s going to pay $40K for that load of rubbish? No sane Canuck.

    The 500L is ugly as Medusa, like to strike you blind if you look at it head on. But they sell a few in Europe on price alone.

    The semi-butch 500X they cannot unload even in Europe. It’s been in the knews. That’s why it has been turned into this boxy load of old rope, a fake mini SUV. Fiat’ll never sell any in the US, but in crossover crazy Europe, they’ll unload more of this “thing” to the unwary.

    I have zero time for Fiats.

  • avatar

    Silence is the best argument.

  • avatar
    Garrett

    We actually contemplated one.

    I would actually buy one as a commuter car if it facilitated having a fun sportscar for weekend driving.

  • avatar
    Blue_Twisted_Steel

    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.”

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