This is the 2.4L Tigershark MultiAir I-4 engine that powers the Fiat 500X Lounge. It puts out 180 horsepower and 175 pound feet of torque. It’s mated to a class exclusive 9 speed automatic transmission which can be shifted manually, and the power gets to the road via all four wheels. If any of that sound vaguely familiar, it might be because these are similar to the specs of the Jeep Renegade which is made in the same plant as the 500X in Italy.
This is a competent engine transmission combo. But if you’re looking for neck snapping performance, this isn’t what this vehicle is all about. It’s got torque, but any acceleration that you want take a bit to come online. That’s likely due to the fact that sometimes it takes a bit for the transmission to get into the right gear to leverage the horsepower and torque that the engine has. The transmission swaps cogs smoothly for the most part, but I do note that it can hunt for gears from time to time. Now there is a dial that’s just below the gear shifter that changes the 500X’s personality to help with this. Leave it in its default setting and you get a vehicle that balances power with fuel economy. Turn it to the left and you get sport mode which makes the 500X a more engaging drive that fully leverages the transmission’s capabilities. At the increase of engine noise and the expense of fuel economy of course. Turn it to right and you get Traction+ mode which maximizes low-speed grip on traction-limited surfaces. That helps you to leverage the AWD which for the most part, I could not tell when AWD was on or off which is good thing as the operation of an AWD system should be transparent to the driver. The suspension is firm. Almost too much so actually. Fiat may want to consider dialing the firmness back just a touch. Steering is heavy which I liked, but I wished for a bit more road feel as I felt that I was somewhat disconnected from what the 500X was doing underneath me. While I wouldn’t call it sporty, it does handle pretty decently. It does well getting in and out of tight spots in the city, not to mention that it is easy to park as well. It is also good highway car as it is able to maneuver at highway speeds pretty well.
Fuel economy at the moment is 11 L/100 KM which isn’t great. But it’s all on me as I’ve been making use of sport mode when driving on the highway. I’m going to cut back on that to see if I can do much better as I know from experience that FCA’s 9 speed transmissions deliver good fuel economy.
Some other observations:
- The engine can be heard under acceleration. But once up to speed, it’s quiet for the most part. However in sport mode, engine noise is omni-present.
- Tire noise can be heard in the cabin, usually at highway speeds. I attribute that to the winter tires on the 500X. If this had all seasons, it would likely be on the quiet side. There’s also some wind noise at highway speed as well. None of this is objectionable.
In part three, I will be taking a look at the interior which is a mix of funky and fun with a touch of color. Stay tuned!