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2020 Fiat 500X: New Sport trim adds another level of iconoclasm to this individualistic ride

2020 Fiat 500X: New Sport trim adds another level of iconoclasm to this individualistic ride

The Fiat 500X shares its basic platform with the Jeep Renegade.

The Fiat 500X shares its basic platform with the Jeep Renegade. Photo provided by Fiat

Chevy Trax? Honda HR-V? Kia Soul? Heck, everybody drives those.

The Fiat 500X is a small crossover for iconoclasts -- determined individualists who go their own way. They might argue Ringo was the genius behind the Beatles, Shemp was an improvement over Curly, and the movie “Dumb & Dumber To” got robbed on Oscar night.

500X is a siren call to these rebels who reject conventional wisdom and march to the beat of their own drummer. Hey, with sales of just 2,518 units in 2019 -- compare that to nearly 117,000 Trax sold, 100,000 HR-Vs and 98,000 Souls -- it’s obvious there’s no herd mentality regarding the 500X.

For 2020, Fiat has rewarded X’s loyalists with a new trim: Sport. It joins Pop, Trekking and Trekking Plus, with Sport slotting between the two Trekkings.

Essentially an eye-candy package, 500X Sport includes unique and more aggressive front and rear fascias, body-color side-moldings, dark-finish exterior accents on mirror caps, door handles and the rear license plate brow, dual-exhaust tips clad in chrome, proprietary 18-inch wheels and, just so the neighbors know you got the hip 500X, “Sport” badges on the front fenders.

Buyers who want to gussy up this guy even more can add LED lighting and, for the first time on a 500X, premium 19-inch aluminum wheels.

Inside, Sport boasts, among other perks, aluminum pedal caps, dark-finished headliner and pillars, a “techno-leather” steering wheel with red stitching and, in a real conversation piece, a suede-like, Alcantara-cover brow over the gauge display.

Photo provided by Fiat

Photo provided by Fiat

We drove a Sport with all of the above, including the 19-inch wheels.

Regardless, every 2020 500X is powered by a mini-mite -- a 1.3-liter turbo four that makes 177 hp and, more significantly, 210 lb.-ft. of torque. Via a nine-speed automatic, that enthusiasm is mailed to all four wheels. Yep, all-wheel drive, with a fuel-saving automatic disconnect for the rear axle, no less, is standard on 500X.

In town, the little turbo four shows a lot of heart, providing enthusiastic response in the stoplight grand prix. However, it’s played its hand by 2,200 rpm, when the full complement of torque becomes available, so plan two-lane passing moves in advance.

On the road, this little guy handles well while exhibiting a civil attitude at highway speed. Still, less sophisticated pavement can flummox its suspension a bit. To enhance its motivational utility, however, 500X provides three driver-selectable modes: Sport, Auto and Traction Plus.

In 140 miles of mixed city/hwy motoring, we realized 23 mpg -- alas, 3 less than the EPA figured we’d get. Room is good up front in seats that are well-bolstered, but 500X succumbs to its compact-crossover role in back, where occupants who long for leg room will need a considerable break from front passengers.

Still, head room is good throughout the cabin, which offers lots of storage options -- big map pockets, twin glove boxes and numerous little places to toss stuff.

Photo provided by Fiat

Photo provided by Fiat

Infotainment controls benefit from Fiat’s relationship with Chrysler Group -- 500X shares a platform with the Jeep Renegade -- so touch-screen controls are logical and knobs are provided for radio volume and tuning.

Among the perks in our well-optioned Sport were twin cruise control choices -- standard and intelligent, at the driver’s discretion -- along with dual-zone climate, a dual-pane sunroof and a snappy exterior paint job that boasted a blacked-out roof.

Which brings us to cost.

While a 500X Pop starts at $26,805, our Sport boasted a base price of $28,390. Add the aforementioned perks -- and more -- and our copy was knocking on the door of 36 grand. Yowza!

But, then, I guess nobody ever said it was cheap to be an iconoclastic free-spirit.

But Shemp? Really?


This content was produced by Brand Ave. Studios. The news and editorial departments of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch had no role in its creation or display. For more information about Brand Ave. Studios, contact tgriffin@stltoday.com.
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Dan Wiese is a freelance automotive writer. He is a regular contributor for Brand Ave. Studios and to AAA Midwest Traveler magazine's online Web Bonus.

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