Post by racingteatray on Nov 13, 2017 17:32:55 GMT
Was over in Milan again at the end of last week for a short visit and was treated to a 500X. This is the second 500X I've driven, having previously been given a rather nice "City-look" 1.6d (120bhp) Lounge in a passing approximation of "Racing-spec", (dark green metallic with a dark brown interior) in Milan about a year ago.
This 500X, also "City-look" and in a rather more nondescript silver with a black interior, was rather more basic both in terms of trim level (Pop) and engine (95 bhp turbodiesel, rather than 120bhp version).
It's still a tidy-looking car in basic Pop-spec and still overall has a cohesive well-planted look. It's a useful size, being not too large to make nipping through Milanese rush-hour traffic nerve-wracking, and as mentioned before, it looks pleasantly SUV-ish without being too overly "lifestyle". But I would definitely recommend going for the Lounge version as a "no-brainer" as the added styling tinsel and spec (climate, nav, xenons etc) just ensure it feels sufficiently more upmarket to justify the added price.
It's similar inside – the basics are good but you feel that you are in the basic version. The plastics are not quite old-school German standard (what is these days?) but the bits you touch are typically soft-feel and tactile enough. The overall design is smart, cohesive and blessed with sufficiently interesting detailing to make you feel like somebody actually bothered to design it. The ergonomics are pretty good. Decent visibility too with just enough of the high driving-position so beloved of SUV drivers. Plenty of space and comfort up-front and ok space in the back. Boot space was good with what looked like a deeper floor than the Lounge version we previously tried.
The standard equipment levels on the Pop model is ok. You get front and rear electric windows, electric mirrors, blue-tooth, manual air-con and a smallish built-in touchscreen which doesn't provide navigation functionality (at which point you wonder why have it at all). At least it is mounted high-up and not tablet-style. That's about your lot. It could have done with rear parking sensors. Again worth upgrading to the Lounge.
Drive-wise it was much as I remember from the previous 500X I tried, and indeed the Renegade, just with the noticeable absence of 25 stout horsies. Light easy controls without much feel but equally they didn't feel too flimsy or loose. It handles well enough for the type of car it is with less body roll than I expected and proved an easy car to place and drive. The engine, however, struggles even with just two people and two suitcases, meaning a lot of gearbox stirring is required, and it's an indifferent 5spd box whereas the 120bhp version gets a much slicker 6spd box. You have to flatten the accelerator to make decent progress and you'd never describe it as pokey. Once you are up and running, motorway performance is ok with some semblance of turbodiesel mid-range but it's always noisy. Get the 120bhp version. Or better still a petrol. We didn't do very many miles in it, but the economy in mixed use seemed pretty good.
To repeat what I said last time, despite not being SUV fans, I actually like the 500X, as does my wife. It manages to be several leagues more desirable as an object than most of the competition in its class, thanks to having a large dose of the smartly detailed exterior and interior styling, and general desirability of the standard 500. Pop-spec slightly takes the shine off that by virtue of lacking some of the FG and design titivations that spruce up the ritzier versions nicely. Regardless of whether it is a good car, it has bags of consumer appeal (in a way that the ugly sister 500L just doesn't). Like the standard 500, it feels like a car you might actually actively choose to buy because you like it and it fits into your life, not merely because it was what you could afford and needed (provided you spec it right and you avoid the 95bhp turbodiesel donkey).
No pics - lack of time and it was dark!