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Eric's Autos: 2021 Fiat 500X

Eric Peters on

The reason for that being that their engines not turbocharged, while the Fiat's engine is.

The downside of that being that the Fiat costs more, because the turbo and related components add to the cost of building the car. It also costs more to feed this car, because the Fiat's turbocharged engine needs premium gas to make its maximum power.

The Fiat has another upside, too, at least versus the Honda. Which is that the 500X comes standard with a conventional automatic transmission -- with gears that shift -- versus the CVT automatic -- with no gears, just ranges -- that is the only available transmission in the HR-V.

The Fiat's transmission has nine gears, too -- the most gears you'll find behind such a little engine. The multiple overdrive gears are a big part of what enables the 500X to more or less match the mileage of lower-powered rivals such as the HR-V and CX3.

Additionally, the Fiat's all-wheel drive system can be disengaged and let you operate in front-wheel drive, which reduces driveline drag on the engine as well as wear-and-tear on the all-wheel drive system itself versus systems that are always on (i.e., "full-time" all-wheel drive, as most of them are).

On the Road

 

This little thing fits almost anywhere a motorcycle fits - and it can go places few motorcycles can, unless they're off-road dirt bikes.

And not just because it comes standard with all-wheel drive.

This Fiat has the most ground clearance (7.9 inches) of the bunch, without which all-wheel drive doesn't make much difference off-road. Or in the snow.

At the Curb

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