New look

Previously, the Fiat 500X has always had immense feminine appeal and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, in the updated 2023 variant, its designers had their eyes set on both genders. With its refreshed design, the 500X range (Cross, Sport and Sport EST) looks sportier, and as a result, it looks more masculine too. An upgrade in wheel size certainly helps, and the standard size here is now an 18-inch wheel in the 500X Cross. The Sport variants get a 19-inch wheel giving the Fiat a beefier stance and overall appearance.

Punchy little motor with decent economy

Although the performance recipe hasn’t changed, the Fiat 500X still feels poky with its 1.4l turbocharged engine. Since it is a facelift, Fiat did no work to the engine - it's still producing 103kW and 230Nm. What makes this small-capacity engine stand out is its ability to offer a balance between perky performance and decent fuel economy. Generally, smaller engines are gluttons where fuel consumption is concerned, simply because they have to work harder to produce the same performance as a bigger, size-appropriate engine.

Where the Fiat 500X falls short is with its transmission. It has a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, which has never been known for any desirable traits. That hasn’t changed in the 2023 Fiat 500X - like many other versions of the dual-clutch transmission, it doesn’t engage immediately when you lift off the brake, and in the case of the Fiat, there’s a prolonged delay before it engages. As a result, if you aren't alert you’ll find yourself helplessly rolling backwards into the vehicle behind you at the traffic light. We experienced this a few times during our time with the Fiat, and fortunately, it didn't end in a crash.


Quality cabin

If there’s one area that the Italians didn’t skimp on, it has to be the Fiat 500Xs cabin. From a build quality point of view, the 500X interior is well-appointed with soft-to-the-touch materials all the way through. The brand has fitted a new thicker steering wheel, which adds to the overall quality feel of the interior. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now built into the vehicle’s infotainment system, allowing access to apps and functions on your mobile phone. Fiat has graciously included two USB ports in the front.

Overall, the updated Fiat 500X is an endearing little package with athletic looks that command a level of respect. Fiat has made it available in a few attractive paint schemes too. Should you be interested in one, you’re looking at a starting price of R509 900 for the Fiat 500X Cross. The Sport and Sport EST click in at R560 900 and R580 900, respectively.


Gugu Masuku - In proud association with CHANGECARS.