2019 Fiat 500X: Cars just want to have fun

Inside, the steering wheel and instrument cluster have been subtly redesigned, and new cloth designs grace the seatbacks. Leather is available on Trekking, standard on Trekking Plus. Fiat continues to offer interior panels painted in the same shade as the exterior. As my driving partner and I soon discovered, those panels not only are fingerprint magnets, but they heat up quickly under direct sunlight. Hands beware!
Since the interior is otherwise unchanged, the 500X continues to offer a decent ergonomic experience, albeit with a few quirks. The climate-control system lies within easy reach, and the Uconnect 4 Infotainment system features honest-to-goodness knobs for volume and tuning. But the 7-inch touchscreen is on the smaller side, and the map graphics are seriously outdated. At least Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. Paddle shifters aren’t available on any trim, but given the reality of this Fiat’s definition of fun, that’s honestly no big loss.
There’s just one engine for 2019, and it’s all-new. Gone are both the 1.4-liter turbo and 2.4-liter four, replaced by a 1.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder producing 177 hp connected to the ZF-sourced nine-speed automatic. While horsepower may be down a smidge from last year, the real story here is torque. The diminutive 1.3-liter punches way above its weight, laying down a seriously impressive 210 lb-ft of torque at a relatively low 2,220 rpm. 
That low-end grunt creates a promising first impression: The 500X moves smartly off the line, with the all-wheel-drive system helping to make the most of the power. Continue to wring out the engine, however, and that torque falls off precipitously, cratering at around 150 lb-ft near the motor’s 6,500-rpm redline. Given this torque spread, it’s probably a blessing the transmission is slow to kick down.