The powers that be put us back into a Fiat 500x—only this time, it's the new 2020 Trekking model. Here's what we thought!
With such constraints as fuel efficiency, safety, and overall function, emotive design is hard to come by in terms of the modern daily driver. However, one vehicle stands to resist the practicality wars: the rebellious 2020 FIAT 500x Trekking AWD.
It offers less interior room than the competition, it's quite a bit more expensive (our test model came in at $32,805), and yes, reliability is always in the back of our minds, but do you turn around to look at your crossover as you're walking away? We didn't think so.
The 2020 FIAT 500x Trekking, then, is for those fashionistas looking to tell the world to "quit taking life so seriously" and to "follow your heart," but it's not without its flaws. In my week with the Italian model, it became more clear that the little FIAT is more for onlookers than it is occupants. Sharing an architectural similarity and powertrain with its American cousin, the Jeep Renegade, the FIAT doesn't like to be driven hard. Under duress, the 500x Trekking's steering becomes oddly heavy and provides little feedback, meanwhile, its little 1.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder suffers from a bad case of turbo lag.
Then there's the transmission, which might as well be lazier than a billionaire's trust-funded offspring. With the auto start-stop feature engaged, the turbo lag, and the transmission, the FIAT would often stumble when accelerating from a stoplight. When the vehicle would respond to my inputs, it would slug into gear and go—as if the FIAT just threw up its hands in a fit.
Like many Italian cars, it's a beautiful but temperamental beast.
That's not to say that the FIAT 500x Trekking doesn't have its positives. Beyond the steering, the 500x's handling is composed and it offers a comfortable ride with little road noise. Fuel efficiency is respectable at 30 mile-per-gallon on the highway, and the FIAT's smile-inducing charismatic design effort continues on the inside. With great "cheekbones" and heated diamond-stitched cloth seats that should be offered in more vehicles, the FIAT's interior is a nice place that'll certainly get some positive reactions from passengers.
I also think that the FIAT has the best, most user-friendly analog HVAC controls I've experienced in a vehicle—a nice touch in a world where everything is buried a few menus deep in a touch screen.
Offered in four trims—Pop, Trekking, Sport, and Trekking Plus—there's plenty to choose from, so if you're smitten by the 500x's soft lines and Italian flare, I say go for it, just drive it like a civilized human being and it'll serve you well. But if you're a "driver" looking for an all-wheel-drive, mountain-road dancer that likes to be pushed? I recommend opting for the more engaging Mazda CX-30.