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Wheels of the Week: Fiat 500X has its own personality

It has a distinctive exterior and interior, with decent tech on board, writes SHERYL GOLDSTUCK.

The Fiat 500X knows how to make an entrance. It has a distinctive look and feel that stands out from the crowd of subcompact crossovers. It combines an unusual design, fuel efficiency, and a range of features that give it a unique personality.

It is powered by a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that delivers 160 horsepower, with either six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. We tried the automatic version, and found it zippy around town and on the highway.

The 500X comes with a range of standard features that enhance the driving experience, like a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, with Bluetooth connectivity and an excellent rearview camera, which incorporates sensors that provide audible warnings when one gets too close to obstacles.

The touchscreen is a little cramped, with a large, rounded bezel that reminds one of the old TomTom standalone navigation devices. Aside from that, the tech on board is pretty decent.

It connects to Android Auto and Apple Car Play via USB cable, but bear in mind that a regular charging cable won’t do the trick: it must be a data cable.

The infotainment system is powered by the Uconnect 4 system, which allows one to access phone, contacts, music, and apps through the car’s speakers.

It also features voice commands, which allows one to control the system’s functions by speaking to it.

An effective lane departure warning feature alerts you if you start to drift out of your lane. It is supported by a forward collision warning system that detects a potential collision ahead, and, as an option, can apply automatic emergency braking.

Blind spot monitoring uses sensors to detect vehicles in one’s blind spots and gives an alert with a visual or audible warning. Rear cross traffic alert detects vehicles approaching from behind when backing up, with  a visual or audible warning.

Adaptive cruise control, an optional extra, allows one to set a constant speed for the car, which is automatically adjusted to maintain a safe distance from the car ahead.

On the downside, the infotainment system can be slow to respond, and voice commands are poorly executed. It would make more sense to connect to Android Auto and use Google Assistant for voice control.

Overall, the tech on the Fiat 500X is average. However, it is a stylish crossover with its own personality.

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