Home » Let This Courageous Little Fiat 500X At The Detroit Auto Show Be Your Mid-Week Inspiration

Let This Courageous Little Fiat 500X At The Detroit Auto Show Be Your Mid-Week Inspiration

Fiat 500x Topshot

The 2022 Detroit Auto Show is a bit weird. There are as many golf carts cosplaying as Flintstones set pieces as there are Volvos in this show, [Editor’s Note: That means there’s one of each, I’m told – JT] yet Stellantis has bravely brought a Fiat 500X. It’s not just tucked in some back corner of a booth either, it’s within earshot of the Dodge Charger Daytona SRT EV Concept.

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The Fiat 500X is a bit of a dead vehicle driving. Mechanically identical to the Jeep Renegade and soon to be displaced by the Alfa Romeo Tonale and Dodge Hornet, the 500X was created when someone in the Agnelli family stuck a straw into a Fiat 500 and blew. It’s not the most refined, most capable, most practical, most efficient, or even best value subcompact crossover on the market, but it has character. Bestowed with puppy dog eyes and a dash of la dolce vita, this slow-selling subcompact crossover failed incredibly hard at taking the 500 brand up a size class. With just a couple thousand sold annually some years, it seems that nobody wanted a big Fiat 500, which is a shame. Remember the wonder you felt when you were six and everything was enormous?

Fiat 500X front clip

Anyway, this 500X is a bit special. It’s the Yacht Club Capri edition, a decidedly more upmarket name than say, Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye Jailbreak. It has an electric canvas roof, some bold color-matched wheels, and a swath of dark Mahogany for a dashboard. It’s old news now, but I bet if I told you that it was a new trim, you’d probably believe me. After all, does the 500X really occupy any real estate in your head?

Fiat 500X rear

Really, that’s the beauty of what’s going on here. Despite BMW being reduced to a dealer booth, a massive swath of empty space, and every marque that isn’t American basically giving up on the Detroit Auto Show, Fiat has brought a 500X. This tiny Italian crossover is an inspiration to everyone lacking just that little bit of confidence. It showed up when so little else did, it got shined up to go toe-to-toe with the movers and shakers of the Detroit show, and it’s ready to gleam like the best of them.

Do you want to beat Joey Chestnut in a hot dog eating competition? Let this 500X be your guiding spirit. Been meaning to ask for that much-needed raise? This 500X will help you put on a cool and composed face. While the Challenger Hellcat is chest-beating machismo, this little 500X is here to inspire real feats of courage. Go little Fiat, go.

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24 Responses

  1. I love the look of the Fiat 500X, oddly enough. I’m not as much of a fan of the ride though. I only drove the 2016 with the Tigershark engine and didn’t like how it responded. I ended up getting a 500L for my wife, which I absolutely love. The turbo is slow to spool up, but when it gets going, it’s like a cartoon wind-up punch. The response of everything and it’s handling around turns brings me more joy than it should. I didn’t get the same feel from the 500X I drove. Lacked the soul.

    –rant over

  2. Drove one in Portugal as a rental car, a diesel, but loved it, fantastic drive in the curves, roomy enough for my 6’4 frame and Fiat makes one of the best diesels in Europe, far smoothier and revvier than the VW and Ford ones I’m used to.

  3. The only thing I ever liked the most about the 500X is that they offered a 1.4T/6 speed powertrain combo for FWD only, atleast until 2019.
    I kinda want one, even though I’ve seen plenty of 1.4’s shit the bed quite easily before.

    1. I have the Renegade with that powertrain. It’s been practically flawless for nearly 150k miles now and is the best all-around DD and small-family hauler I have ever owned. It even handles nice.

  4. Fiat’s trajectory in the US market was both sad, and entirely predictable from the outset. Should have just been the primary city car model and maybe the 124 Spider, sold through the FCA US House of Brands dealer chain badged as “Fiat Imported by Dodge”, if they successful, they would have just added incremental sales, if they flopped, no big deal, Rams and Durangos would have carried the business to cover it. But, a whole separate dealer network, in separate showrooms, with the weird 500L and the also-ran 500X?

      1. Down here, they merged Jeep, Chrysler, Ram, Dodge, and SRT (remember when that was separate?) into a single sales channel, but pushed for Fiat to be on its own. Quite a few of the showrooms around me seemed to be in ex HUMMER Quonset hut buildings

  5. Quirky 4 door vehicles need at least 2 quirky doors. This would have done better with sliding doors in the back. That and my experience has been Fiat interiors were made of some sub-plastic substance that looked 20 years old after 10 seconds of ownership.

  6. These are some really flattering photos of the 500X. I agree with the sentiment that it seems like it is missing its other half without the regular 500 to provide context. It’s slow sales also point to two things that are hard to overcome: 1. Americans don’t remember Italian cars. If they do, it’s of odd looking things that rusted quickly and sometimes failed to start when it rained. 2. Most Americans want generic looking vehicles. A gray RAV4, please! Oooh! No, how about a gray Camry! It’s a deeply rooted phenomenon that likely has its origins in a general lack of education in the arts. That manifests in such things as the plague of McMansions with their ghastly proportions that people can’t buy fast enough.

    As the longtime owner of a FIAT 500 purchased new, I can tell you that it’s been very reliable. Only a broken transmission cable bushing ever caused me to need a tow. 140K miles and counting.

    1. This year’s Chicago show was just as feeble, with so many OEMs skipping the show — the show only filled one hall at McCormick Place. Stellantis also had a 500X on display there, yet no 300, at all.

      1. Did you go in 2020? Now that was feeble. Granted there was a pandemic and it’s a miracle they had it at all. At least my interrupted annual attendance streak dating back to 1987 was kept intact.

        1. I made it to the 2020 show, not long before the world shut down. At least it was a hall and a half in ’20, versus this year’s show…. Speaking of that, it was WEIRD this year–went Valentine’s night and it was practically like having the entirety of McCormick place and the show to one’s self, there were so few people in attendance. Parking was easy and plentiful parking in the ramps to the west side of the complex.

    2. It’s sad how far auto shows have fallen. I’d take the bus out to NYC for the show when I lived on the east coast and I went to the Detroit one every year since I moved out here. I looked at the map for this year’s show and I think I’m going to sit this one out.

      I know companies love not spending money on big show booths but seeing all of the big flashy booths was one of my favorite parts of the big show, even if it was a booth that didn’t have any cars I was actually interested in. I’m a simple man and I like to look at flashy lights and stand on unusually soft carpets. And don’t get me started on the decline of free brochures and little trinkets.

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