2020 Fiat 500X Trekking Review: Youthful Exuberance or Wishful Thinking?

It's a charming little car, but how does it hold up on its substance?

This is the 2020 Fiat 500X Trekking, a vehicle we’ve now tested in winter and summer conditions. (Images: TFLcar)

The Fiat 500X Trekking featured in this video is the same exact vehicle we tested in the snow earlier this year. It did fairly well there, but how does it actually feel to drive during the summer, in normal driving conditions?

Right off the bat, I must admit that I like the 2020 Fiat 500X Trekking as it is unique in a segment that’s kind of bland. It has the potential to be a great first time, or small family crossover. Being unique is a give-and-take proposition. 

Styling and design

Normally, I would talk about the mechanical or dynamics before style, but one of the strongest points about the Fiat 500X is its unique flair. Obviously, the design isn’t to everyone’s taste, but the 500X is a MUCH better selling vehicle than the unloved Fiat 500L. 

I think it’s a fun looking design, so does my spouse and my teen daughter… and her friends. 

Bringing one home for a few days allowed me to act as a shuttle and I was interested to see what people thought of it. Some immediately dismissed it, as it is a Fiat product, while a few liked that it was something different. Its looks charmed more than I expected. 


Many passengers enjoyed the look of the interior, but the flimsy materials were panned by “She-who-must-be-obeyed.” She felt the quality should rival a Mini – which she owns… and it doesn’t. 

The rear seats are tight for tall people, but the middle school member of my household, who’s 5’1″. had plenty of space behind my chunky-infused height.

2018 Fiat 500X Lounge

Trunk space is so-so, especially behind the rear seats.On the other hand, the overall utility of the 500X is not too shabby as it held a XL dog kennel (sans-doggy) with the seats down. It has 14.1- cubic feet behind the back seat and 39.8 cu-ft with the seats folded. 

The look and feel of the seats are a high point for me. I was very comfortable and the driving position is ideal for just about anybody. Remember, this is the kissing cousin of the newest Jeep Renegade, so it has a stubby nose, big front glass and nice sized mirrors. Unfortunately, like many tiny crossovers, it has an itty-bitty rear glass.  


I still think there is plenty to like about the 2020 Fiat 500X for daily driving. It handles well, has a great ride for a small crossover/hatchback,  it’s very maneuverable and it can be punchy – when driven properly. Driving it “properly” requires the driver to keep the RPM high for just about everything.  

And there’s the rub – you have to rev the hell out of it to get it to do anything.

Last time I drove this car, I said the 177 horsepower 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine makes 210 lb-ft of torque. It is the “MultiAir” powerplant and it is the only engine available. The 500X only comes with a (revised) nine-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive (AWD). The combination of light weight and power makes for a slightly more entertaining vehicle than the one it replaces.” 

I still believe there is real potential in this powertrain setup. The issue is two-fold: there is serious turbo lag and transmission lag. It’s most noticeable in daily driving, when you are not always at full-boil. On the autocross track, I was hard on the gas pedal, traction control off. On the streets, not so much. 

The Fiat 500X gets a so-so 26 mpg combined. 

The all-wheel drive system is similar to the Jeep Renegade’s base AWD setup. It remains a fully front-drive vehicle until it detects slippage. Then the system sends needed torque to the rear. It can be set for full-time AWD for bad weather with a push of a button. The performance mode doesn’t do much. 

Youthful exuberance or…

There are better all-around vehicles out there that offer more space, superior performance and better value. Our 2020 Fiat 500X Trekking came in at $32,805 pretty much loaded. That’s more expensive than the equivalent (better-in-every-measurable-way) 2020 Mazda CX-30

The saving grace for the little Fiat is its charm. It’s appealing to some folks who see its individuality as a bonus and they may be willing to pay for it. I say, by not making it a value leader in the segment, most of their youth market will look elsewhere.