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back to article Fiat 500X: A fun-loving Goldilocks who'll get down and dirty

The 1957 Fiat 500 was a macchinetta small car. It became a macchina car with the launch of the new 500 in 2007, and then with the 500L it became a macchinona; a big car. It has gone from 17hp and under 500kg to 120hp and 1.4 tonnes. The Fiat 500X The Fiat 500X: A Goldilocks car aimed at off-roading families. Well, not quite …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Trollface

    Something missing

    THATS IT!!!

    You forgot to tell us how many bits fell off or broke during the test drive!!

    1. Lars Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Something missing

      But not for too long, almost every country in the EU produce fine cars while finding bits that fell off a British car has become archaeology like with the "Mk. VI Bentley that had been in a field (forming part of the fence) for 15 years", living in the past is "in to day" in Blighty, something to do with the BBC perhaps, Kudos to the brave people at ElReg who write about French cars.

  2. Dr_N Silver badge

    Stop Start

    At least Italy still has native car industry, producing cars that seem to be selling worldwide.

    FCA must be doing something right to be selling so much metal.

    Stop-Start is there to hit the emissions figures.

    Just turn it off by pushing the button: Problem solved.

  3. nematoad Silver badge

    Nice try

    It looks to me like Fiat are taking a leaf out of BMW's book and trying to ride on the coat tails of a much loved predecessor.

    In Fiat's case the nippy little 500 which to my biased eye looked like the nearest competitor to the original Mini. Definitely not the VW Beetle, that was in a different class.

    In BMW's, latching on to the one and only Mini. One of which I am a proud owner.

    In both cases it seems that the powers that be decided that bigger was better and completely forgot why these cars were originally designed in the way they were. That is to be the minimum of car with the maximum of utility. To be able to get four adults, just, in a tiny car powered by a small engine was a real achievement and the sales figures show that the designers gave people what they wanted.

    On the other hand the modern replacements have succumbed to the current fashion for large ungainly dumplings powered by large engines to get them moving. If the original 500 had an engine of only 479 cc what does that say about the 1.4 or 1.7 litre engines of the new car?

    To my mind these companies should stop and think about this. The new cars are not in the same class as the originals and there is a case to be made for giving them new names. Still I suppose that marketing will always triumph over honesty.

    1. gazzton

      Re: Nice try

      Modern safety requirements are extremely difficult and expensive to achieve in a very small car. Crumple zones and the like add bulk. Safety bars and the like add weight. Hence why today's small cars are so much bigger and heavier than yesterday's. Yes you could design and build a small cheap car with a very poor Euro ENCAP rating but you wouldn't sell many.

      1. jason 7

        Re: Nice try

        Indeed, I saw a original Mini on the motorway a few days ago. It looked like they were on a suicide mission. I was driving a i10 and felt like I was in a Range Rover by comparison.

        Up until 6 months ago I was driving a 2002 Siecento Sporting. Whilst it was a fabulous fun car to drive I never stopped having the niggling fact it had a HALF STAR NCAP rating in the back of my mind. We never dared take that on motorways. Living in Norfolk it was never too much of an issue.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Happy

        Re: Nice try

        "...Hence why today's small cars are so much bigger and heavier than yesterday's."

        Odd my Hyundai i10 is tiny and still got 4 out of 5, mainly being marked down on things like lane assist and "other"

    2. Kristian Walsh

      Re: Nice try

      " If the original 500 had an engine of only 479 cc what does that say about the 1.4 or 1.7 litre engines of the new car?"

      The FIAT 500 and 500C models are available with an 875cc two-cylinder engine (but producing 85 or 105 bhp, because time has moved on since 1957), and it suits the car very well.

      To my mind, FIAT's revival of the 500 is the best relaunch of a historic model by a manufacturer (and to be clear I'm talking about the 2007 model, not the X or L, which are different members of a family of models). BMW's MINI was always much bigger than BMC's original Mini: the original car was what we'd now call a City Car (A segment), but the relaunched model was a "supermini" (B Segment). The new one takes this enlargement even further to almost be a "Small hatchback" (C Segment). And I'd rather not think about the Countryman or Paceman.

      "The new cars are not in the same class as the originals"

      FIAT has at least kept their 500 in the same size category as its original: a city car. The fact that it's bigger than the 1957 car is more to do with 50 years of crash protection regulations and raised customer expectations regarding cabin noise and comfort, than any desire to bloat the model.

      (Incidentally, the 2001 BMW MINI and the 2007 FIAT 500 share the same designer: Frank Stephenson, who now heads design at McLaren. Stephenson left BMW long before the MINI facelift that ended up looking like a Chinese car maker's knock-off of the first one)

      As someone who proudly owns an original Mini, I'm sure you understand the idea of owning a car because it has character, even if it might be more expensive and less practical than the alternatives.

      If you want the "car as a cheap utility" side of the old 500, FIAT will sell you its descendent: the Panda, a superbly useful and reliable car at an affordable price. The 2007 500 isn't that, and can't be that, because what customers want from a "utilitarian car" are so much higher now: hence the Panda's boxy space-maximising shape. The new 500 model was about recapturing the emotional bond that people had with the old 500 - and with the aforementioned twin-cylinder engine, it's got a lot of that same fun to it.

      The 500 L and this X are not relaunches of any old model (although you might make a case for the 500L being a spiritual successor to the 600 Multipla, but it looks completely different). These two new cars are more closely related to each other than to the 500, both mechanically and in terms of size. "500" is now a sub-brand covering what you might call the "want" cars (heat over head); the FIAT brand will deal with the "need" cars (head over heart) like Panda, Punto, etc.

      1. phil dude
        Go

        Re: Nice try

        "FIAT has at least kept their 500 in the same size category as its original: a city car..."

        If you have been to Rome you will know why!!!

        For those that have seen the Italian Job (the 60's one , not the modern one), there are loads of the originals in the street scene.

        I'll bet they didn't even need extras for that...

        P.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nice try

        Are these the same cars that don't do hills? Retro is all very well, but having to choose between living in Norfolk and getting out and push is a bit much.

      3. Frankee Llonnygog

        Re: Frank Stephenson

        Did he design the Mini model with the folding hardtop? Its mama was ugly, its papa was ugly, and when they did the ugly bump, they made an ugly baby. Then they raised it on ugly muffins, washed down with ugly juice. It looks like it fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down, then someone set it on fire and beat the flames out with an ugly stick. It's ugly.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Frank Stephenson

          Frank Stephenson design the original new MINI. The models post 2006 were designed by Gert Hildebrand. Not sure who designed the Mk3. They all look kind of similar but in fact are totally different cars.

          If you're talking about the MINI Coupe, indeed this is an ugly car. There is no hard top convertible AFAIK, just a hardtop and a soft-top - both ugly as hell.

  4. jake Silver badge

    In other words ...

    ... marketards marketarding. I can live with that.

    Anyone purchasing one, enjoy your bliss.

  5. wilber
    Facepalm

    Ground clearance?

    Not sure I'd want to take it off road with 17.9mm (>3/4in) of clearance.

    1. John Arthur

      Re: Ground clearance?

      Not sure I'd want to take it off road with 17.9mm (<3/4in) of clearance.

      There, fixed that for you.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So, the 4WD version costs about 10x the amount I paid for my mint Land Rover Discovery about as many years ago as the warranty lasts on one of these. And the Fiat won't even run on waste vegetable oil. I think I'll stick with what I've got. :)

    1. Dr_N Silver badge

      So you're comparing the 2nd hand Disco you bought 5 years ago to a brand new 500X....?

      The 500X costs half as much as a brand new full spec'd Evoque too. So what....?

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        well...

        Both the 500X and the Evoque are pug ugly vehicles. That squashed rear of the Evoque? wtf?

  7. madmalc

    I have to say I think they've done a great job on the styling, and successfully used the same styling cues as the 500. It certainly looks more like its related to the 500 than the 500L! The world will be a better place because people that might have bought the dreadful Vauxhall/Opel Mokka will be able to buy one of these that actually looks decent.

  8. Zog_but_not_the_first
    Thumb Up

    Nicely done Fiat

    I like the retro appeal of the relaunched 500. Compare it to the sprawling madness that the BMW Mini range has become. Have you seen a "big Mini"!

  9. Zog_but_not_the_first
    Coat

    Opportunity missed?

    For an IT-focussed web site I would have thought a dreadful pun on passing or failing "The Turin test" mandatory.

  10. DropBear
    Facepalm

    What's this mpg malarkey...?

    My car is rated in supertankers per Astronomical Unit, now how am I supposed to compare...?!?

  11. What? Me worry?
    Trollface

    FIAT

    "Even the company name has changed from FIAT (Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino) to FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles)..." Huh? Back when I lived stateside, I knew FIAT as 'Fix It Again, Tony'. So they're not rustbuckets anymore?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: FIAT

      The 500X is based on a Jeep (the marque, not the genericised trademark), so they're as rustbuckety as anything that company produces.

    2. Montreal Sean

      Re: FIAT

      I prefer "Find It A Tow".

  12. MJI Silver badge

    Well

    I like the 500.

    I do not like this, not an issue with the car at all but it is not a 500. A 500 is a small car, this is not.

    Now the BMW Mini.

    Some of them are huge, and one I saw this weekend had a huge tacky looking Mini badge on the boot. Really big like a couple of foot wide.

    Small cars should be small and not rivalling large cars, they look ridiculous.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seems Fiat are copying BMW in that they want to try as many different formats of the mini/500 as possible - just keep the front bonnet/bumpers the same and its all good.

    Except the mini version somehow manage to maintain the goods looks across all versions, whilst the 500's definitely do not.

    The 500L is hideous, and this 500x isnt much better.

    1. IsJustabloke

      The MINI a good looking car you say?

      You sir, are a buffoon.

  14. Wolfclaw
    FAIL

    YUK !

    Ugly car and can it go up a hill without choking to a standstill due to Fiat chrippling it to meet EU6 emmisions?

  15. samlebon2306

    Make it 4 times bigger and call it Stupid Useless Vehicle(SUV), and you Fiat will invade the north American market.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They have hills in Italy, slightly higher than anything the UK can provide. Rust isn't an issue anymore maintenance maybe a bit higher than an average Japanese car.

  17. Yugguy

    Why call it a 500 though?

    The 500 is the small city car.

    These hideous, bulbous efforts are not. 500L? It's the size of a tank FFS. Call it something else.

    And who the hell really needs 9 ratios in a gearbox?

    1. Alister Silver badge

      Re: Why call it a 500 though?

      And who the hell really needs 9 ratios in a gearbox?

      Um, something the size of a tank??

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