Fiat 500X 1.6 Multijet 120hp Cross

Fab styling, great interior – the 500X looks a smart buy. Based on the top-selling 500 supermini, it has the pedigree and chic to be a massive hit. Along the same lines as the Mini Countryman but cheaper, the Fiat is available with either two or four-wheel drive. Our 1.6 diesel Cross is near the top of the range at £21,055 but you could opt for the faster 1.4 Multiair or 2.0 diesel version which both cost even more. 0-60mph is dispatched in a modest 10.5 seconds but the economy is an impressive 68.9mpg (combined). A puffed up handbag or a serious crossover car? Join us for a week to find out…

SUV = silly useless vehicle

Look, I know we all have different tastes and needs when it comes to cars but I am struggling to understand why anybody would want to pay £23,000 for a compact SUV.

I live in the country and my ancient Land Rover hasn’t engaged full four-wheel drive in three years. Sometimes I long to get stuck in a snow drift but global warming seems to have put pay to that.

All-wheel drive cars like th Fiat 500X are great for surefooted exiting of a junction in the wet. It’s reassuring to know that your BMW has X Drive to cross sleeping policemen when it rains.

But really, if you passed a driving test then what the cluck do you really need four driven wheels for, unless you are retarded in the gear department.

So adding all-wheel drive to the cute little Fiat 500 and then bastardising the bodywork to make it look butch is akin to drawing a moustache on the Mona Lisa.  Pointless.

I can’t say the 500X is bad at anything, apart from being rather dull to drive compared to a bin lorry. And in our Bank Holiday test car guise it really is £23k to own.

Please think long and hard before you buy an SUV because I bet you don’t really need one…

The sweet, non-threatening Fiat 500X…

We’ve had the summer off at Car Couture, driving a Lamborghini Huracan across the USA. Fun? Yes but actually quite stressful on American roads often designed for tractors.

So to get home and find a sweet, none threatening 500X on the drive is actually quite refreshing. Let’s face it, nobody is going to try and race me in a mini SUV or video my every move on a cell phone.

Somehow the 500X has passed me by, until now. I rather wish Fiat had sent a more zippy 1.4-litre turbo petrol but most people will probably opt for diesel unit.

I know it’s going to serve up masses of economy but the Multijet sounds a bit agricultural by comparison. It’s a harsh ride too but I’m already warming to the tiny Fiat…

The bipolar Biposta… Is it a Fiat supercar or what?

The madness of this particular Biposta is that it’s a car that doesn’t quite know what it is.

On the one hand, it’s £37,000 of uncompromising, full-fat rally car, minus proper door handles, sat nav, air con – or even a radio.

On the other, our test car doesn’t come with the bonkers dog ring gearbox – you have to pay extra for that pleasure.

So instead, our test car features a fairly conventional, dash stick like a normal Fiat 500. Surely you’d expect that for this sort of money?

Just who is going to buy a Biposta remains to be seen. I think the enthusiast will want ALL the extra lightweight, slick gearchange kit included in the price.

Seems a bit rich charging £37k then asking for more for the fun bits!

The Fiat 500 handbag finally gets a brick to give it some clout


A car with a 1.4-litre turbo engine has no right to be this fast. But because the stripped out Biposta weighs just 997kg, Fiat would claim it can provide enough thrills to justify costing more than a BMW M235i.

Less is more in this case. Which explains the lightweight Oz alloy wheels and carbon-fibre shells for the two seats. There’s even a titanium frame where the back bench normally sits in a Fiat 500.

Sadly, our May test car isn’t fitted with the track-inspired, dog-ring gearbox. That’s an option enthusiasts would go for. Me? I prefer a gearstick that actually works properly on the road.

The best bits so far? Overtaking a bemused Golf GTI driver and the sound from the Akrapovic exhaust. Especially meaty when the ‘Sport’ button is pressed.

Why would you buy a tiny car costing this much when there are better options out there for the same money? Simply – it’s bloody great fun.


Fiat 500C – Roofless


Cats are discerning creatures – they find the warmest, most comfortable spot and nest for the day. Hubble, my Burmese terrorist, is no exception. After 11 years of following me around the place, he’s become a creature of habit.

His favourite spot, from 12.30 until 4pm, is on the roof on my canvass-topped Land Rover. It’s warm, he can eye up the bird population, and there’s no chance of a scrap with the village hounds.

This morning I found him on the roof of the 500C. He’s never taken to the roof of any other car before but the canvass soft-top of the Fiat appears to have been one temptation too far. In a word, Hubble has defected. He’s sold out to a small, cute Italian Shameful.

To keep him off, I’ve had to leave the roof open. It folds back in stages, and takes about 20 seconds to crumple up. It’s not a true soft-top, in that you still have the sides of the car in place but it’s actually rather good in that you don’t get blown away at speed and small people in the back aren’t buffeted around in a hurricane.

Good choice Hubble…

Fiat 500C – Flash By Name…


My only sad moment in the 500C happened yesterday when I heard on the radio (wot, no DAB Fiat?) than comedian Rik Mayall had died. For a generation of schoolboys, Mayall was the anarchic madman, smashing his head through walls, hitting Ade Edmondson with a cricket bat and generally being a lunatic.

Twenty years ago, I met the pair of them for lunch in a Bristol restaurant, to promote their hit comedy show Bottom. It was supposed to be an hour-long interview – three hours later we were still eating cake and ice cream.

Fortunately for me, both of them were off the booze, which at least gave me a fighting chance. Except they kept filling my glass and the interview notes read like gobbledegook when I got back to my desk later.

What I also found when I got back to the office was that my jacket was heavier than when I had left several hours earlier. Mayall and Edmonsdon had filled my pockets with cutlery and let me walk out the restaurant…



Fiat 500C – Power Aid


How much power does a little car like the Fiat 500 need? Well, the barnstorming, 135bhp  Abarth version is crazy fun but probably too much of a handful for many people, while the range starts with the 1.2-litre version we are testing. Our car kicks out 69bhp and for anything outside of the city, is way too slow.

The problem is that there is no acceleration from a standstill, to the point where it feels like you have to time your exit from a junction with extra thought and care. It takes an age to get going and with four people on board, would be bordering on the dangerous.

Which brings me to the excellent 0.9 Twin Air. This version produces 85bhp from a two-cylinder engine and has plenty of torque for accelerating too. Another safe option would be the 1.3 Multijet diesel that produces 95bhp – more than enough grunt for the little 500.

So, if you are buying a 500C, just make sure you test all the engines before making a choice. Our 1.2 probably isn’t the best, unless you want to dawdle at Morris Minor speeds…

Fiat 500C – Get Your Top Off


Is your steering wheel black and boring? Just check out the gorgeous 500C! If you’re worried that the white leather might get dirty then please buy a Ford Fiesta.

I spent yesterday scooting around the Cotswolds in this crazy cool car and I think I was grinning inanely for most of it. It’s miles better than the class-leading Mini and dares to be deliciously different.

It’s been about a year since I have tested a 500 and I’m realising just how much I’ve missed it. If I lived in London and needed a city car – there’s no doubt that this would be it.

The roof on the 500C rolls back like a sardine can and Friday’s sunshine just made the whole experience more enjoyable. It’s going to lash down today but somehow, I think I will still be smiling…