Long-Term

2016 Fiat 500X Trekking AWD – Better or Worse Than the Jeep Renegade?

Our Four Seasons Fiat 500X faces off with a family member

Long-Term 2016 FIAT 500X Update: Fall 2016 ( 2 of 4 ) Miles to date: 500

Something about our long-term Fiat 500X turns people off. We’re not quite sure what—although the orange paint is admittedly ostentatious—but there’s some not-so-subtle disdain for our brand-new Four Seasons car. A few folks straight up hate the 500X—for no clear reason, mind you—and their belief becomes more convoluted if you ask what they think of the Jeep Renegade. Almost unanimously they’ll say, “Oh yeah, I don’t mind the Renegade.”

Superficialities aside, aren’t the Fiat 500X and Jeep Renegade, like, the same car? We couldn’t understand why some people like the Renegade but not the 500X, so we reached out to Fiat Chrysler for some help trying to clear things up. We asked how the two cars were marketed differently, what demographics were targeted and how, and a rep from Fiat Chrysler said that is “not something [the company talks] about too publicly or specifically, for competitive reasons.” The rep did, however, give us this response: “The Jeep Renegade is a true Jeep, with 4×4 and off-road capability, while the Fiat 500X is a crossover with AWD capability. While the two vehicles are similar in size, they target a different market, which means that our overall portfolio in this growing segment offers multiple options that don’t compete with each other.”

Since that answered none of our questions, we turned to Art Anderson, chief engineer for both the 500X and the Renegade, hoping he could shed a little light on the mechanical differences between the two cars so that maybe we could figure out why people prefer the Jeep to the Fiat. We asked Anderson which was developed first, the Fiat 500X or the Jeep Renegade? “We developed and created the architecture with an entire family of vehicles in mind,” he said. “We knew that we needed to account for all of the functional requirements—on-road driving dynamics, off-road capability, global markets—to support a full range of vehicles. Both vehicles have the same architecture, same wheelbase, and share many components that would be considered common commodities. Each vehicle is completely different in terms of its mission, its functional targets, and the overall package.”

The cars share steering columns, climate-control boxes, fasteners, floor pans, and a good bit of hardware, but he says the shared hardware is tailored for the specific vehicle. For example, the 500X has unique control-arm lengths and suspension and steering calibrations. “Essentially, every electronic control module is specific to the 500X or specific to the Renegade, including body controller, ESC, driveline system, etc.,” said Anderson. “Every algorithm is different between the two vehicles.”

We then asked which Renegade model the 500X is most closely related to. With the 500X’s ample ground clearance and body cladding, you’re probably thinking Trailhawk. “The Renegade Trailhawk doesn’t really have any direct comparison to the 500X with its off-road capability,” said Anderson, noting the Trailhawk has larger approach and departure angles, a rock driving mode, and a 20:1 crawl ratio. “A Renegade 4×2 would be the closest to a 500X.” Anderson told us that he and his team think of the Fiat 500X and Jeep Renegade as two successful siblings. “They may be from the same family, but they have entirely different jobs and are both successful in their own right and on their own missions.”

So perhaps people who prefer the Jeep don’t like the Fiat’s sportier tuning, although we believe the bubbly body or Fiat badge are more likely to blame. Does anything Anderson told us mean our Fiat 500X is better or worse than the Jeep Renegade? No, but it does help us understand how the two products are built and positioned differently.

Overview

  • Body style 4-door compact crossover
  • Accommodation 5-passenger
  • Construction Steel unibody
  • Base price $26,230
  • As tested $27,730

Powertrain

  • Engine 16-valve SOHC I-4
  • Displacement 2.4 liters
  • Power 180 hp @ 6,400 rpm
  • Torque 175 lb-ft @ 3,900 rpm
  • Transmission 9-speed automatic
  • Drive All-wheel
  • EPA Fuel Economy 21/30/24 (city/hwy/combined)

Chassis

  • Steering electrically assisted
  • Lock-to-lock 3 turns
  • Turning circle 36.3
  • Suspension, Front Strut-type
  • Suspension, Rear Strut-type
  • Brakes F/R Vented discs
  • Wheels 17-inch aluminum
  • Tires Nexen Classe Premiere CP671
  • Tire size 215/60-R17 98H

Measurements

  • Headroom F/R 39.0/37.8 in
  • Legroom F/R 41.5/34.8 in
  • Shoulder room F/R 54.3/52.8 in
  • Wheelbase 101.2 in
  • Track F/R 53.3/52.2 in
  • L x W x H 168.2 x 75.5 x 63.7 in
  • Passenger capacity 100 cu ft
  • Cargo capacity (rear seats up/down) 18.5/50.8 cu ft
  • Weight 3,292 lb
  • Weight dist. F/R 62/38 %
  • Fuel capacity 12.7 gal
  • Est. fuel range 431 miles
  • Fuel grade 91 octane (premium unleaded)

Equipment

  • standard equipment

    • Advanced Multistage Front Airbags
    • Supplemental Front Seat-Mounted Side Airbags
    • Supplemental Side-Curtain Front and Rear Side Airbags
    • Driver Inflatable Knee-Bolster Airbag
    • LATCH Ready Child Seat Anchor System
    • Passive Entry/Keyless Go
    • Electric Park Brake
    • 4-Wheel Anti-Lock Brakes
    • Remote Start System
    • Dynamic Control Selector
    • Electronic Stability Control
    • Security Alarm
    • Air Conditioning
    • Uconnect 5.0
    • Integrated Voice Command with Bluetooth
    • Media Hub (USB, Aux)
    • 6 Speakers
    • SiriusXM Sat Radio w/ 1-yr Subscription
    • Cluster 3.5-inch TFT Color Display
    • Steering Wheel Mounted Audio controls
    • Leather-Wrapped Shift Knob
    • Accent Color Instrument Panel Bezels
    • Front Center Sliding Armrest
    • Manual 6-Way Driver/ Passenger Seats
    • Front-Passenger Fold Flat Seat
    • Express Up/Down Power Windows w/Rear Express Down
    • Reversible Height Adjust Load Floor
    • Two Glove Box Storage Areas
    • 12-Volt Auxiliary Power Outlet
    • Rearview Day/Night Mirror
    • Front and Rear Floor Mats
    • Tire Service Kit (No Compact Spare)
    • Bi-Function Halogen Projector Headlamps
    • Automatic Headlamps
    • Fog and Cornering Lamps
    • Power Mirrors
    • Exterior Mirrors with Heating Element
    • Exterior Mirrors with Supplemental Signals
    • Accent/Body Color Fascia
    • Satin Silver Door Handles
    • Bright Exhaust Tip
    • Deep Tint Sunscreen Glass

Options

  • options for this vehicle:

    • Trekking Collection 4 – $1,500.00
    • ParkSense Rear Park Assist
    • ParkView Rear Back-Up Camera
    • Blind Spot and Cross Path Detection
    • Power 8-Way Driver Seat/Manual Passenger Seat
    • Power 4-Way Driver Lumbar Adjust
    • Heated Front Seats
    • Heated Steering Wheel
    • A/C Auto Temperature Control with Dual Zone Control
    • Ambient Lighting
    • Caro Compartment Cover
    • Compartment

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