Motoring writer IAN LAMMING enjoys the X factor of the latest Fiat 500 SUV

NEED and want, two very different things…who am I kidding, they are both the same.

I want what I need and need what I want, and I need and want it all – without paying through the nose. Thankfully, Fiat’s latest 500X sates all my voracious appetites with an equipment list that flows clean off the page.

It’s difficult to comprehend that in a £21k package the Italian SUV can include so much. So there is 3D navigation, touchscreen infotainment, lane and intelligent speed assist, traffic sign recognition, cruise control, rear view camera, Carplay, full LED headlamps, Bluetooth, a trip computer and rain and dusk sensors.

The X really does want for nothing in the spec department and it’s hard to believe Fiat manages to cram so much tech into such an affordable car.

The latest 500 SUV comes with breathed-on looks including new lights, anthracite skid plates and chunky purposeful aesthetics.

This particular X comes with the T3 120hp petrol turbo engine. It may only pack three cylinders and 1.0 litre capacity but it is astonishing how well it pulls what is a relatively large car. It will sprint, cruise and climb with the best of them while returning 40mpg. It also sounds quite good because it is odd under the bonnet and comes a with a pleasing off-beat note as a result.

X also handles nicely thanks to suspension that is capable of masking the bumps and controlling the forces thrown up by bends. Dualdrive power steering is light but not so over done as to hamper feel and positivity. The six speed manual box is light and easy to use as well.

Normal 500 sits the driver surprisingly high for a small car but its bigger brother gives you a loftier view of the world as it flashes by allowing eye-line to clear nicely hedges and drystone walls.

The interior is nicely done and interesting on the eye. There is plenty of space in the well-appointed cabin and the boot, it is well made and very comfortable, that’s the cabin not the boot, of course.

Fiat 500X really does deliver the goods. It is fun to drive, cheeky to look at and superbly equipped. That should be enough to meet the needs of most discerning drivers. What more could anybody want?

Fact File
Fiat 500X Cross Plus FireFly
Engine: 1.0 3-cylinder petrol turbo
Power: 120PS
0-62mph: 10.9 secs
Top speed: 117mph
Combined MPG: 39.2
Transmission: six-speed manual
CO2 g/km: 137
Price: £21,300.00