CompleteCar.ie logo | Car Reviews, News and Features

Quick car review finder - select below

Fiat 500X Hybrid (2022) review

The Fiat 500X gains a hybrid option, but is it good enough?

Dave Humphreys

Words: Dave Humphreys - @LordHumphreys

Published on: May 16, 2022

Words: Dave Humphreys - @LordHumphreys

Published on: May 16, 2022

Tech Specs

Model testedFiat 500X Hybrid
Irish pricing500X from €24,995
Hybrid system1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, 15kW electric motor
Transmissionseven-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
Body stylefive-door, five-seat crossover
CO2 emissions128g/km
Irish motor tax€200 per year
Combined economy50.4mpg (5.6litres/100km)
Top speed194km/h
0-100km/h9.4 seconds
Max power130hp
Max torque240Nm
Boot space350 litres

The Fiat 500X isn't the newest kid on the block. On sale since 2014, the crossover has notched up more than 750,000 sales and now it's getting a hybrid version for the first time. But with Fiat planning to become a purely electric brand worldwide by 2030, is this 500X Hybrid something of a stop-gap?

In the metal

Along with the introduction of the 500X Hybrid, Fiat's designers have applied some minor exterior styling updates to the compact crossover. Updates around the front include a new '500' logo on the nose. This icon repeats on the bumpers' lower section, which features a darker grey section to imply a more rugged look. Previously this section used an aluminium effect for the scuff plates, but this darker grey is an improvement in our opinions. As part of a company-wide update, the logo is now the in larger 'FIAT' lettering on the back, too.

The rest of the 500X Hybrid exterior is the same as before, and is available in the optional (RED) edition in partnership with the RED charity, which supports global health issues including AIDS. Details on this version include (RED) badges on the B-pillar, black window surrounds and machined 17-inch alloy wheels. Black plastic cladding around the wheel arches and the base of the doors hint at off-road credentials, but all versions of the 500X stick with front-wheel drive. The retractable fabric roof section is part of the Dolcevita specification.

Inside, the layout is a simple affair, and, by segment standards, this is where the Fiat is beginning to show its age. There's plenty of colour, though, as the dashboard fascia is painted to match the exterior bodywork. A mixture of analogue dials and a TFT display make up the instrument cluster, which also now includes an EV symbol for when the car is driving using only the electric motor. The TFT display can show some specific hybrid information, too, such as the battery's state of charge.

The steering wheel-mounted controls are chunky and relatively easy to use only by touch and Fiat sticks with large physical dials for the temperature and ventilation settings. The seven-inch touchscreen display isn't as advanced as what is available elsewhere in the segment, but it supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The front seats are pretty firm with a hefty amount of lumbar support, and our test car also featured a centre armrest that comes as part of a Comfort package. Rear passenger space could be better; it's not as roomy as a Ford Puma or Renault Captur, while the new Honda HR-V, which is exclusively offered as a hybrid, is also more generous to its passengers. A 350-litre boot also leaves the Fiat down a few pegs compared to the competition, although there is no decrease in volume due to the hybrid system.

Driving it

Creating the new powertrain for the 500X Hybrid saw Fiat increase its FireFly four-cylinder engine capacity to 1.5 litres. It gets a new cylinder head with dual variable valve timing, and it runs in the Miller cycle, which delays the closure of the intake valve to improve combustion efficiency. Added to that is a 48-volt electrical system that includes a belt-driven starter generator and a 15kW electric motor that is integrated into a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Power for the electric motor comes from a 0.8kWh battery positioned within the transmission tunnel.

The car starts up in an electric mode, with a green 'Ready' symbol on the TFT display. If there is sufficient charge in the battery it will begin moving under electric power, and the motor's 135Nm of torque is enough to pull the 500X along. However, the petrol engine quickly awakens and kicks into play.

A dual-clutch automatic gearbox usually provides smooth, almost seamless gear changes, but the Fiat's is far from this, especially in the lower gears and when downshifting. It seems dim-witted and sluggish when moving between ratios, even when using only the electric motor during deceleration.

We found that the 500X spent truly little time running in its EV mode, far less than what a Toyota C-HR might manage, and it behaves more like a mild hybrid. Fiat says that the engine is off for 47 per cent of the time during the WLTP cycle (the process used to determine a car's real world fuel consumption and emissions). In our time with the car we did not manage to repeat that performance, even driving in urban settings where a hybrid should excel. One thing the Fiat will do is park using only its electric motor, which can mean a quiet arrival late at night.

The latest version of the FireFly engine is said to emit 11 per cent less and has a maximum output of 130hp. That's enough to make the 500X feel brisk and, on more open stretches, the engine and transmission settle into a smoother groove. The suspension is stiff in comparison to a Nissan Juke's or SEAT Arona's, but that also means that the Fiat remains composed when cornering. Not that you'll want to wring its neck, as both the steering and powertrain are more geared towards slower, more economical driving than anything sporty, even though the electric motor does contribute some additional torque under acceleration.

What you get for your money

Pricing for the Fiat 500X in Ireland is still awaiting confirmation, but the only other engine currently available, the 1.0-litre petrol, has a starting price of €24,995. The 500X Hybrid will likely command a premium over that version. Once pricing is confirmed, we will update this section with more information.

Summary

The Fiat 500X Hybrid ticks a box for the Italian brand by completing the electrification of its range, but the curvy crossover doesn't go far enough to create any significant daylight between it and the existing 1.0-litre petrol as it's more hybrid in name than nature.



Alternatives

Car Reviews | Nissan Juke DIG-T 1.0 (2020) | CompleteCar.ie
Nissan Juke vs. Fiat 500X Hybrid (2022): the Juke has a more striking design than the Fiat and appears more modern. It gets more boot space than the 500X and Nissan is soon to add a hybrid version too.
Car Reviews | Renault Captur 1.0 TCe 100 (2020) | CompleteCar.ie
Renault Captur vs. Fiat 500X Hybrid (2022): there's a clear upturn in quality in the Renault and its interior is more modern than the Fiat's. The Captur can be had as a plug-in hybrid, too.
Car Reviews | Toyota C-HR 1.8 Hybrid (2020) | CompleteCar.ie
Toyota C-HR vs. Fiat 500X Hybrid (2022): one of the best hybrid compact crossovers, the Toyota can return meagre fuel consumption figures and packs in plenty of refinement, but the Fiat feels more spacious inside, especially in the rear seats.

Tech Specs

Model testedFiat 500X Hybrid
Irish pricing500X from €24,995
Hybrid system1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, 15kW electric motor
Transmissionseven-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
Body stylefive-door, five-seat crossover
CO2 emissions128g/km
Irish motor tax€200 per year
Combined economy50.4mpg (5.6litres/100km)
Top speed194km/h
0-100km/h9.4 seconds
Max power130hp
Max torque240Nm
Boot space350 litres