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Good looks aren’t good enough.

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Starting MSRP: $20,900

Above Average: Style, interior, infotainment

Below Average: Most everything else

Consensus: Easy to love from afar, hard to recommend

700 Miles in 70 Words

An intriguing entry in a burgeoning segment, the new Fiat 500X proved a disappointment when stacked up against the four alternatives that rounded out our first subcompact SUV comparison test. Poor city and highway driving dynamics, tight quarters and the specter of continuing reliability concerns -- reflected in the test's worst predicted resale values -- are simply too much for the unique brand, distinct style and attractive interior to overcome.

Strengths and Weaknesses

The 2016 Fiat 500X isn’t without its charms. Unfortunately, “charm” is not one of our evaluation criteria. Here’s a quick look at how the 500X performed across a variety of key categories, followed by deeper dives into each rating.

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Highway Driving  Whether you’re out on the open road or just commuting to work, on the highway you typically want to get into a groove and relax. The 500X, unfortunately, will have no part of it. The sportier personality engineered into the 500X renders it nervous on the interstate, the result of a firm ride and steering that needs constant attention.

City Driving  In contrast to the Honda HR-V, which seamlessly delivers exactly the acceleration you ask for, the 500X makes the simple act of pulling away smoothly from a stop an exercise in finesse. That weak car-driver connection sullies the entire in-town driving experience.

Sporty Driving  The 500X might be at its best when driven with gusto, but that’s because its weaknesses simply fade into the background temporarily. It's kind of like pinching yourself really hard to make your headache go away. If you’re looking first and foremost for a fun-to-drive subcompact SUV, put the Mazda CX-3 at the top of your list.

Interior Appeal  Waiting on the other side of our 500X Trekking Plus tester’s retro-fun outside was a well-designed, impressively appointed inside. An appealing mix of style, materials and color, our editors ranked the 500X tops in interior appeal.

Infotainment  The robust and easy-to-use Uconnect infotainment system remains one of our favorites, and is another bright spot in the 500X.

Rear Seat  If you regularly transport adult passengers in back, and you also like these people, you might want to consider anything else in the segment (except the Mazda).

Cargo Utility  If you need to haul multiple people and many things at the same time, there are more accommodating choices in the segment. But if your cargo-hauling typically happens with no more than two people on board, the 500X offers plenty of cargo room with the rear seats folded down.

Fuel Economy  The 500X is the most powerful SUV in this test (along with its identically powered Jeep Renegade relative), but fuel efficiency is a weak spot. The 500X returns about 20-percent fewer miles per gallon than most of the others, which works out to an extra $20 per month assuming 12,000 miles per year and $3 per gallon.

Resale Value  The 500X is last in this group by a long shot. When it comes time to sell in five years, a 500X will likely be worth many thousands of dollars less than the clear leader in this group, the Honda HR-V.

Inside and Out: 2016 Fiat 500X Trekking Plus

 

More Fiat 500X

Build and price your own 2016 Fiat 500X to get this week's Fair Purchase Price, 5-Year Cost to Own and more. 

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