By on July 17, 2020

2020 Fiat 500X Sport AWD

2020 Fiat 500X Sport AWD Fast Facts

1.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (177 hp @ 5,500 rpm, 210 lb-ft @ 2,200 rpm)

Nine-speed automatic, all-wheel drive

24 city / 30 highway / 26 combined (EPA Estimated Rating, MPG)

10.0 city, 7.9 highway, 9.1 combined (NRCan Rating, L/100km)

Base Price: $26,895 (U.S) / $33,745 (Canada)

As Tested: $35,895 (U.S.) / $44,445 (Canada)

Prices include $1,495 destination charge in the United States and $1,995 to $2,695 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.

The Fiat 500X counts as a crossover, somehow. Yes, it shares a platform with the Jeep Renegade, but then again, it also shares that platform with the Fiat 500L.

At least it looks better than that rolling blob of anonymity.

New for 2020 is a Sport model, although how much sport is gained is debatable.

After all, the mill underhood is a 1.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder making 177 horsepower and 210 lb-ft of torque. It pairs with a nine-speed automatic transmission.

It’s not exactly swift, but there’s more thrust on tap than I expected. At least enough for a simple freeway merge.

(Get Fiat 500X Sport AWD pricing here!)

The 500X surprises in a curve, too, handling better than a tall subcompact crossover should, with minimal body roll. Steering feedback is acceptable. You’ll never mistake this thing for a sports car, but it could be worse. It’s no penalty box — it’s an acceptable commuter. Sport mode does liven things up a bit.

A quirky-looking commuter, at that. It stands out compared to most anonymous crossovers. That’s not to say it’s pretty, but the look is cohesive enough. The oddest thing is probably the big headlamps – combined with the front grille/fascia that’s more fascia than grille and the car looks like that emoji on your phone of the neutral face.

Never thought I’d make an emoji comparison in a review, but here we are.

2020 Fiat 500X Sport AWD

The Sport model adds front and rear fasicas that are different from the rest of the lineup, a black roof option, body-color side molding, a flat-bottom Alcantara steering wheel, and a slightly different interior look, including a dark headliner.

Out back, a rear roof spoiler shows that the Sport is meant to be, well, sporty. And from a rear three-quarter view, the 500X almost has, dare I say it, stance.

It’s a better look than what’s offered by the amorphous blob that is the 500L.

Inside, it’s a letdown. You’re greeted with a big steering wheel (the Alcantara DOES feel nice), an infotainment screen that’s poorly integrated and has a small screen, and circles and other rounded shapes everywhere. The materials feel downmarket, although the presence of audio-control knobs is nice. The HVAC controls aren’t the simplest to use in the world, but they’re easy to learn quickly. The gauges rest in a pod consisting of three circles, and despite the use of a fancy font, FCA can’t prevent them from having an economy-car look.

Unsurprisingly, the ride is on the stiff side – it’s a short-ish car with raised ground clearance. Smooth, she ain’t. Live in a place with pockmarked roads, and you might think twice before signing on any dotted lines.

2020 Fiat 500X Sport AWD

Noise and harshness aren’t well quelled, either, but the NVH levels don’t drift into the realm of unacceptable.

Perhaps the real problem here is the price. I was prepared to write that the 500X Sport might present a value case, but then I pulled the Monroney and glanced at the final tally. If I hadn’t already finished my morning cuppa joe, my monitor would’ve been drenched in spit-out Starbucks K-Cup.

The 500X starts at a more-or-less reasonable $26K and change, but holy cannoli, the $35,895 final bill. That’s a lot. There’s a lot of vehicles in that price range I’d rather have, and I’m not even talking about cars that base at $35K and soar into the stratosphere with options. I’m talking other subcompact/compact crossovers that would be well-equipped, although not necessarily fully loaded, for similar dough. At least one of which is sold by another FCA brand. Hint: It shares the platform.

2020 Fiat 500X Sport AWD

Heck, I can get a decently equipped Accord with the 2.0-liter turbo for less.

That price features a bunch of options, meaning if you want your Sport well-equipped, you’ll be checking a heck of a lot of boxes.

Standard features include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio, UConnect infotainment, keyless entry, stop/start, remote start, hill-start assist, Bluetooth, USB, 18-inch wheels, LED daytime running lamps, and fog lamps. Not bad, right?

Still, there are some popular features missing from that list. Like I said, prepare to start ticking boxes.

To be fair, not everyone will build a 500X Sport like my loaner. Many will show restraint when choosing options. But should you choose to load it up – all mine was missing was either of the all-weather packages that include rubber floor mats and splash guards – be ready to spend.

It’s not just the sticker that popped my eyes. It’s that FCA nickels and dimes you a bit. Shouldn’t the compact spare by standard? There are two driver-assistance packages, and to get the more advanced one you need to buy both. Not unusual, that, but you pay full price for both when you select the Advanced package. Seems like it might make more sense for FCA to offer the “lesser” package individually, and a discount on the two together, should you opt for both. I’m sure the bean counters could find a way to keep that profitable.

2020 Fiat 500X Sport AWD

Another issue – a few options, such as dual-zone climate control, are often standard on cars priced in the $20Ks.

It’s at this point that the charms of the 500X Sport fade. At $26K? Yeah, I’d put up with its flaws, especially since it’s got some charms, too. But once the options are ladled on, the deal goes sour.

Those optional features included: black accenting for the roof ($445), leather bucket seats along with vinyl trim panel and driver’s seat back pocket ($995), the Premium Group (Beats audio, 19-inch wheels, sunroof, all-season tires, $1,695), Cold Weather Group (heated front seats, wiper de-icer, $295), Comfort Group (auto-dimming rear-view mirror, power driver seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, ambient overhead lighting, $795), Driver Assistance Group (LED license plate light, LED headlamps, front and rear park assist, $895), Advanced Driver Assistance Group (adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, blind-spot and cross-path detection, automatic high beams, rain-sensitive wipers, $1,395), compact spare tire ($295), and UConnect with navigation and a 7-inch screen ($695).

2020 Fiat 500X Sport AWD

Destination was another $1,495.

The 500X could’ve made a strong case for itself if the sticker price was more reasonable. But it can’t compete on value, and while it’s no box of bad, it’s not quite good enough to command this money.

Some folks in Southeast Michigan need to reevaluate their pricing plans.

[Images © 2020 Tim Healey/TTAC]

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24 Comments on “2020 Fiat 500X Sport AWD Review – Long, Tall, and Falling Short...”


  • avatar
    readallover

    Yet another version of a played-out car that nobody wants – and overpriced to boot! Fiat dealers want something that will sell, they want the Panda. But FCA continues to push the million variants of the 500.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    With the death of the 500 hatch and the impending death of the Spider, this and the 500L is all that FIAT has left in the US market.

    For CY 2019, FIAT sold 772 of the 500L and 2,519 of the 500X. At under 3,300 sales for these two remaining models, how long before USA FIAT dealers become used-car-only stores?

    By comparison, the Jeep brand sold 76,886 Renegades last year.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      I was in a FIAT/Alfa showroom a month ago. On the showroom floor was a Used SRT Charger and a used Mercedes SUV.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        The Fiat/Alfa store in my neck of the woods is a standalone building that shares the same lot as a Hyundai outlet. It’s in Northglenn, Colorado – a great place to sell Hyundais and trucks, but not exactly chock full of people who would line up for an expensive Italian imported car.

        They don’t even have staff in the Alfa side – you have to go into the Hyundai side and ask for someone to help you, and I’m about 101% certain that person knows absolutely nothing about Fiats or Alfas.

        The good news, I suppose, is that once Fiat/Alfa goes down the tubes, they could convert it to a standalone Genesis store.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    It’s really hard to imagine buying this for $36 instead of a Seltos for $29.

  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    These are great looking.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    This car is the very description of a DUD. Talk about poor US sales, hell, these things are unsellable in Canada, 50 in 2019. The Renegade’s price here is jaw dropping, so they managed 664 sales in 2019. Same car, same DUD, one a bit flashier inside and squarer out. Priced as if they were real CUVs. 1.3l turbo — Maaagnificent.

    What magnificently useless specimens of the modern motor manufacturers art!

    500L, all of 16 sold in 2019. Then there’s the 500 itself. Gronk. 2019 saw 117 make it to various family members of the employees of the web site which is where they initiate a sale and direct the undeflected believers to a dealer who’ll give every sign they’re not interested in being bothered and flog ’em something else.

    Stick a fork in ’em for Canada, Stellantis FCA. The pain is growing into an everlasting ache.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    If you want a good example of the failed opportunity Fiat had, here it is. If, from day one, they’d put real engines and suspensions in these as “Abarth” models, and priced them sanely, they’d have destroyed Mini, stolen a fair number of GTI sales, and built a nice little niche market for themselves.

    Instead, a $35,000 mini-CUV with a tiny engine? Who are they kidding?

    Same story for the two-door 500 – the base model should have been a performance vehicle.

    It’s not like FCA doesn’t know how to make good-performing small cars – the 500 Abarth is a GREAT driver.

    Shame, because I love this car’s cheeky styling (it looks awesome in red or orange), and you can’t mistake it for anything else on the road. Instead, we get this ineptitude.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      I loved the 500 Abarth. I just loved the Fiesta ST a little more. Now we get neither and the automotive landscape in this country is worse for it. The 500 was priced too high though.

      • 0 avatar
        BurningRiver AllStar

        I went with a Focus ST, only because I’m 6’3″ and the Fiesta was just a little too small for me.I just have a hard time understanding how FCA thinks they could get away with charging 15k more, for a car that sits higher, handles shittier, and takes off slower than a car that Ford discontinued. And it’s saddled with FCA’s famous quality issues.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      I also love this car’s cheeky styling and neat color schemes but at $36k its way overpriced. At $26-28 I’d probably take it over a dull as dishwater Trax, Rouge Sport, Kicks or bizarro CH-R.

  • avatar
    Steve203

    It seems that 2017 was the last time FCA tried to sell Fiats in the US. That was the year they increased content, and reduced the price, of the 500 Pop, and eliminated the requirement that Fiats be sold in their own “studio”, so dealers could reduce overhead by selling Fiats in their Mopar store.

    That plan went in the dustbin in 18, when they added a turbocharger to the 500 Pop, and jacked the price back up.

    Then they put the 1.3T in the 500X, dropped the front drive version, and raised the price.

    They also raised the freight charge.

    Last year, FCA zeroed out the Fiat advertising budget.

    Then they dropped the 500, which accounted for about a third of Fiat sales.

    My take is FCA wants to drop Fiat, but doesn’t want to pay restitution to the dealers, so is making Fiat so unattractive that dealers bail out of their own accord.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      “My take is FCA wants to drop Fiat, but doesn’t want to pay restitution to the dealers, so is making Fiat so unattractive that dealers bail out of their own accord.”

      Bingo – agree 100%. I’ve seen companies do that to employees, too – just make their lives so miserable that they quit, saving the company the expense of separation costs.

      The new “Stellantis” name is also a convenient way to forget about the “F” in FCA.

      • 0 avatar
        Steve203

        >>”making Fiat so unattractive that dealers bail out…”

        Bingo – agree 100%. <<

        For the heck of it, I went on the Fiat USA site and checked stock on the 25 nearest dealers.

        Four of the 25 dealers have zero Fiats in stock. The vast majority of the rest have fewer than 5 and they are all 2019 models. It's apparent that most dealers are simply running off their old stock, but keeping the Fiat sign up, so they can pocket the restitution from FCA when the brand is pulled.

        So we have something of a Mexican standoff: FCA trying to get the dealers to drop the brand, while the dealers have zero interest in selling Fiats, but keep the sign up to qualify for restitution.

  • avatar

    I am not interested until they put Hemi under the hood.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      I wish they’d give Dodge the 124 and do just that. Call it the Call it the Pit Viper or something. It wouldn’t sell massively, but we’d be talking about it in 20 years.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Nice snow pics :).

    A few years ago, I *really* wanted one of these and spent lots of time with the configurator. It seemed like a respectable step up from the 500 without looking like every other CUV on the road.

    Then I saw that lightly used ones were 1/2 price, and new ones were selling for 1/3 off MSRP, and realized that:
    a. The 9-speed automatic was a big negative (drove one in an early Renegade).
    b. Fiat was soon to leave the US market, and this car would be an orphan.

    Sorry, Fiat – I wanted to believe, but your missteps are manifold.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I’ve often wondered why there were so few of these compared to it’s popular platform mate the Renegade, the $5K difference tells me why I’ve only seen one or two of these

  • avatar
    SuperCarEnthusiast

    Buyers of this vehicle will be those who what to make a statement.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    I think this is a great looking car. And it appears on CarGurus it’s not too hard to get $8-10k off.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    “Shouldn’t the compact spare be standard?”
    • Sometimes decisions like this are related to vehicle weight.

    “There are two driver-assistance packages, and to get the more advanced one you need to buy both. Not unusual, that, but you pay full price for both when you select the Advanced package. Seems like it might make more sense for FCA to offer the “lesser” package individually, and a discount on the two together, should you opt for both. I’m sure the bean counters could find a way to keep that profitable.”
    • Often, ‘bleeding-edge’ tech actually costs the manufacturer almost what they are able to charge for it (as opposed to more ‘established’ options which can be priced at a multiple of OEM cost). In 2020 some driver-assistance features fall into this category – which is likely why they don’t discount the bundle.

    [Sometimes decisions are just dumb, but sometimes there is a deeper rationale behind the apparent dumbificationality.]

  • avatar

    I know of only one person who wanted one of these, a former coworker. She was over the moon with her regular 500 which was “worn out” after four years. She found that an acceptable longevity for a vehicle, and wanted to go more upmarket with the larger 500X. She went for a special edition one and bought it from out of town. Before she started price shopping, she was entirely sure of what she wanted.

    So my advice consisted of telling her how to shop for the best deal.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Besides styling, why wouldn’t you just go buy a Renegade?

    Jeep dealers everywhere, lots of stock, and they’re wheeling and dealing. And the dealership will be there in 10 years. And you can get parts. And you can get service. And and and….all the things you’d associate with any brand besides FIAT.

    Man Sergio really took these dealerships for a sucker’s ride getting them to build these stores. Promising the world and delivering dog squeeze.

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