Fiat 500X Cross Plus video review

The Fiat 500 for Dubai? We try out the Jeep Renegade-based off-road version of the cuddly Italian

By Shahzad Sheikh

Fiat 500X Cross Plus video review

Meet the Fiat 500X Cross Plus – it’s as if Fiat took the regular little Fiat 500 and adapted it to the Middle East. Raise it up, add ground clearance and four-wheel drive, beef up the transmission and engine – none of the European editions get this much power – and it’s ready to go!

Watch my video review of the car by clicking below.

The Cross Plus is actually the range-topping edition priced at AED105,000 and is powered by the 2.4-litre ‘Tigershark MultiAir II’ four-cylinder unit, same as in the Jeep Renegade, driving all four wheels through a 9-speed automatic.

Fiat 500X Cross Plus video review

So it also has about 184bhp and 175lb ft of torque. I don’t have performance figures for it, but since it’s bit lighter than the Jeep, I’d expect a 0-100kph time of about 8 seconds and a 200kph top speed.

Fiat 500X Cross Plus video review

However you can buy a Fiat 500X for less, and in fact AED69,000 will get you into a base 500X Popstar. But that and the middle model, the 500X Lounge which comes with bigger wheels, climate control and parking sensors (AED85,000) are fitted with a 1.4-litre Turbo with 140bhp and a 6-speed transmission only driving the front wheels.

Fiat 500X Cross Plus video review

So the Cross Plus is the one you really want, not least because it comes with ‘off-road bumpers’ and protective shields affording it decent approach and departure angles. Inside there’s even a drive-mood selector where you can select dynamic or ‘traction’ (ie off-road) or just leave it in auto-select, in which case it will be mostly front-wheel drive unless it runs out of traction.

Fiat 500X Cross Plus video review

Having said that, I didn’t really have an opportunity to take it off-road, but I can tell you that this compact-crossover is perfect around town. Nippy and slippy, with a high vantage point, the peppy engine has more than enough go, and the 9-speeder is more resolved than ever (although you rarely see it sliding into top gear.

Fiat 500X Cross Plus video review

The ride is reasonable and the handling is decent with the expected safe understeer and some body roll – not entirely replicating the darty agile feel of the baby 500. It’s good enough as a daily driver and not uncomfortable on longer journeys either.

Fiat 500X Cross Plus video review

Where it does lose out compared to its Jeep cousin is in the space available. With a taller more squared off rear, the Renegade has more luggage space.

Fiat 500X Cross Plus video review

However the 500X is a safe car, it has just been awarded the American IIHS (Insurance Institute of Highway Safety) top rating of ‘Top Safety Pick Plus’ thanks not only to its crash safety but also due to drivers’ aids such as blind spot alert, lane assist and collision avoidance systems.

Fiat 500X Cross Plus video review

It’s well equipped too with 18-inch alloys, chrome exhaust, rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, and 3.5-inch information screen with Bluetooth and Sat Nav.

Fiat 500X Cross Plus video review

Verdict

This is the Fiat 500 tailor-made for our market, but is it good enough to find buyers? We think so, a reasonable price coupled with fun looks and an inviting interior, plus of course the bonus of four-wheel drive and high-ground clearance should definitely make it appealing to those who have outgrown or want to trade up from a Fiat 500. However its biggest threat is its own cousin, the slightly pricier Renegade Trailhawk, so take both for a test drive before you decide which one to buy!

Fiat 500X Cross Plus video review

Fiat 500X Cross Plus – The Specs

Price: AED105,000 (US$28.6k)
Engine: 2.4-litre four-cylinder, 180bhp @ 6400rpm, 175lb ft @ 3900rpm
Performance: 0-100kph 8.0secs, 200kph, 9.8L/100km
Transmission: 9-speed auto, Four-wheel drive
Weight: 1346kg

One response to “Fiat 500X Cross Plus video review”

  1. vinod says:

    Nice Review.

    Fiat is an anonymous brand in the middle east, hope this car will change that. I must say it is one cute looking Cross-Over.

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