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WEDNESDAY

01.04.2017

DRIVING WITH DAN:

2017 Fiat 500X First AWD Fiat is pleasantly surprising Fiat’s 500X is more surprising than a Cleveland Browns victory. All new last year, the singular 500X in 2017 opts to consolidate its five former trim levels down to a more manageable three — Pop, Trekking and Lounge. Otherwise, if you liked the 2016 500X ... And we did, finding this four-door crossover then, as now, handier than expected; more pleasant to drive than anticipated; and more stylish than it has a right to be, given the bulbous look of its two-door Fiat 500 showroom mate. Considering its compact crossover status — you know going in this is no rally car — our only real driving complaint was the busyness of its nine-speed dual-clutch automatic, which is the transmission you’ll get unless you really buy on the cheap. Dan Wiese The base Pop trim comes with a Automotive Writer 1.4-liter, 160-hp turbo four, which mates exclusively to a six-speed manual transmission and is offered only with frontwheel drive. In Pop, that drivetrain can be optioned up to the hardware found standard on Trekking and Lounge — a 2.4-liter, 180-hp naturally aspirated four managed by a nine-speed automatic that’s capable of mailing engine torque to the front wheels or to all four, should the $1,900 AWD option be checked. Our all-wheel drive 500X handled well, given its crossover mission in life, while exhibiting a civil attitude at highway speed. Only the seemingly incessant shifting of the nine-speed gear box was a distraction — a distraction that can be largely ameliorated by choosing the Sport mode from 500X’s three-mode chassis menu: Sport, Auto and Traction Plus. In any event, our 500X AWD delivered to us 27 mpg in just over 100 miles of mixed city/hwy driving. Room is good up front in seats that are well-bolstered, but 500X succumbs to its compact-crossover role in back, where rear-seat occupants who long for leg room will need a break from front passengers. That said, head room is good throughout the cabin, which offers lots of storage options — big map pockets, twin glove boxes and numerous little places to toss stuff. The cargo bay, meanwhile, boasts a

The Fiat 500X shares a platform with the Jeep Renegade.

2017 FIAT 500X DRIVE FORMAT: Front- or all-wheel drive BASE PRICE: FWD: $20,990; AWD: $24,885 ENGINE: 1.4L turbocharged I-4; 2.4-liter I-4 HORSEPOWER: 1.4L turbo (FWD only): 160 at 5500 rpm; 2.4L (FWD or AWD): 180 at 6400 rpm TORQUE: 1.4L turbo: 184 lb.-ft. at 2500 rpm; 2.4L: 175 lb.-ft. at 3900 rpm RECOMMENDED FUEL: 1.4L turbo: Premium recommended, regular acceptable; 2.4L: regular

height-adjustable floor with hidden storage available below. Infotainment controls are frequently awkward in Fiats, but our 500X improved that situation by raiding the Chrysler/Dodge parts bin for a very useable touchscreen interface. Finally, there’s styling. Unlike the cutesy 500 coupe, 500X looks comfortable in its skin, with techy projector-beam headlight assemblies, bulbous taillights and, in between, a profile that looks svelte rather than compressed. This first all-wheel driver from Fiat offers lots of surprises, almost all of them pleasant.

2016 500X Stk. # F1181

72 mo. purchase $247/mo.* 36 mo. lease $139/mo.*

500X Trekking Stk. # F1183

Sale Price $21,594

F1116 500 POP

*

TRANSMISSIONS: 1.4L turbo: six-speed manual; 2.4L: nine-speed dual clutch automatic EPA MPG: 1.4L turbo: 25 city/34 hwy/28 combined; 2.4L FWD: 22/31/25; 2.4L AWD: 21/30/24 WHERE BUILT: Melfi, Italy WHEELBASE: 101.2 inches Dan Wiese is a freelance automotive writer. He is a regular contributor to the Post-Dispatch and to AAA Midwest Traveler magazine’s online Web Bonus. You can email him at drivingwithdan@gmail.com.

2016 500X Easy Stk. # F1231

72 mo. purchase $263/mo.* 36 mo. lease $153/mo.*

F1115 500 POP MSRP $20005

F1265 500X POP MSRP $22595

POWERHOUSE $13600

POWERHOUSE $14054

POWERHOUSE $16848

F1123 500

F1151 500 POP

F1155 500X TREKKING

MSRP $19505

MSRP $19505

MSRP $25305

POWERHOUSE $13622

POWERHOUSE $14059

POWERHOUSE $18998

F1152 500 POP

F1135 500 POP

F1108 500X Easy

MSRP $19505

MSRP $20005

MSRP $26600

POWERHOUSE $13849

POWERHOUSE $14071

POWERHOUSE $19818

F1268 500 POP

F1121 500 POP

F1209 500X TREKKING

MSRP $19835

MSRP $20005

MSRP $26405

POWERHOUSE $13944

POWERHOUSE $14294

POWERHOUSE $20085

F1269 500 POP

F1267 500 SPORT

F1278 124 SPIDER ABARTH

MSRP $19835

MSRP $20745

MSRP $34515

POWERHOUSE $14796

POWERHOUSE $31788

MSRP $19505

POWERHOUSE $13944

*See dealer for all details. Pricing can change without notice and all payments are quoted with $3,500 cash or equity down payment.

11157 LINDBERGH BUSINESS CT., ST. LOUIS, MO 63123

888-839-2159

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