Model: Fiat 500X EST
Engine: 1.4L 4-Cylinder Turbocharged
Transmission:6-speed automatic transmission
Power: 103kW & 230Nm
Fuel consumption: 5.7 L/100km (claimed)
Price: R580 900
The year is 2023, and it’s been almost 9 years since Fiat first introduced the 500x range, which marked Fiat’s entry into the compact/crossover SUV segment. A segment that has been growing at a very rapid pace in the last decade.
Early this year, Fiat unveiled the new 500X line-up. The newcomer has received substantial amounts of upgrades both on the outside and inside, as well as a new variant addition to the line-up, which consists of a soft top convertible derivative called “500X Sport EST” which stands for (Extended Soft Top). The new 500X shares its underpinning with its stellantis cousin, the Jeep Renegade.
As of 2023, buyers can choose between the 3 available variants on sale, which include the 500X Cross, 500X Sport, and the 500X Sport EST. All variants are powered by the same powertrain.
The Italian crossover/compact SUV competes with other vehicles in its segment with similar price tags such as the Subaru Crosstrek, Peugeot 3008, Hyundai Kona, Volkswagen T-Roc, and the Mazda CX30…
Retaining its iconic bug eye looks, the exterior of f of the Fiat 500X has remained classy and quirky with minor changes, which consist of a rebadge front-end, the Fiat badge has been replaced by a bold 500 badge lettering that slots in between the grille trim, along with new redesigned fog lamps and a 500x badge at the back, as well as
19-inch alloy wheels for this Sport EST derivative, that’s about it for the exterior.
Quite easy to spot from the bunch, the Fiat 500X EST as it stands for (extended soft top), features a soft top retractable roof cover, of cloth material that opens from the A to the C pillar. This retractable roof can be opened at a speed of up to 100km/h within 15 seconds.
The Italians do know how to make interiors right. The cabin of the Fiat 500x feels pretty well put together, everything seems bolded right, and during my test, no squeak or rattle was heard whatsoever. The 500x Sport EST derivative comes fitted with some extra bits in trims that make it stand out from the rest of the range, which includes, Red contrasting stitching on the dashboard trim and the part leather and alcathara steering wheel.
The onboard infotainment system feels a bit limited in terms of function but covers the basics just fine, just isn’t really an attention grabber, especially in this competitive segment. with a 7-inch size, the screen feels relatively smaller than any of its competitors and is mostly covered with a thick bezel.
Practicality, Tech, and Safety
Hmmm where do I start, I think I’ll lay the positive first.
While the 500X is meant to be a more practical upsized crossover, the rear passenger space feels a bit cramped for taller passengers with the retractable roof fully closed, but when it’s open it does give a sense of space.
The suspension feels supple and well-calibrated, both on road and on unpaved surfaces ( the furthest I’ve taken it was a gravel farm road ) and it performed pleasantly well at a low cruising speed of 40km/h, with the top fully open
The Not so Good
Knowing that you’ll be spending half a million on a car, you’d expect certain things ( the simple things ) to work at your convenience.
For example, in the infotainment system, the bezel around the screen takes more real estate than the display itself. Which makes the whole screen feel smaller.
While it looks clean and sleek, using it wasn’t the most friendliest thing to do. The menus and graphics are all over the place and require a lot of attention to find your way around. Response time when selecting or scrolling through could be improved. While there are many buttons on the steering wheel, You cannot control the infotainment (source, skip, volume ) you can only use the mute button which is located behind the steering wheel.
For that, you’ll need to reach extend your arm and reach the buttons in the middle of the dashboard while driving. Hmm come on Fiat
How safe is the Fiat 500X?
On the safety side, the cabin comes kitted with 6 airbags across the whole range, along with ABS, ESC, and Hill hold assist. Speaking of which, the hill assist on the Fiat 500x felt a bit strange, when standing on a slove in traffic, the car tends to roll back when lifting the foot of the brakes. This can be quite nerve-wracking because you never know how close the person behind you in traffic is standing.
Other safety features include lane keep assist, reverse parking camera with rear parking sensors, and traffic sign recognition on the top derivative Sport EST.
The Drive and Performance
Under the bonnet of the Fiat 500x, lies the familiar 1.4L turbocharged petrol engine that makes 103kW and 230Nm. At the moment, this engine is exclusively paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission, as Fiat hasn’t confirmed any manual transmission variants for the South African market.
Fiat also claims that the new 500x can achieve an ambitious average fuel consumption of 5.7L/100km, but during my test, the lowest averaged i managed to get was 8.2L/100km Which i believe is mainly affected due to the constant gear hold when taking off from a standstill.
Should you buy the new Fiat 500X EST?
If you’re looking to be different and drive something unique. I believe there are far better options at that price point. Don’t get me wrong, the Fiat 500X EST isn’t a bad car, it ticks the necessary boxes, but at the same time, it also lacks a tad bit of features and functions that justify its price. yes, the extended soft top covertible looks cool and different but, most buyers will settle for the standard covertible cars found in may othe cars. There are better options with more modern features and Powertrain choices, which makes the Fiat 500X quite hard to recommend.
Pricing & AfterSales
The new Fiat 500x lineup is priced as follows
Fiat 500x Cross R509 900
Fiat 500x Sport R560 900
Fiat 500x Sport EST R580 900 (Tested)
All prices include a year warranty, with service interval, as well as a year service plan
All prices include a 5-year /100 000km warranty and roadside assistance, as well as a 3 year/60 000km service plan
Cost of Ownership
How much will it cost to own a Fiat 500X Sport EST?
So, you are interested in the new Fiat 500x Sport EST and would like to know how much it will set you back
Price: R580 900, with a 10% deposit, monthly installment over 72 months will set you back R10250, and R8700 with a 30% balloon payment. This excludes other costs such as Insurance: R1300.
For more information, please be sure to book yourself a test drive