When it comes to evaluating cars, we at Autoblog strive to tell you about the important things like how well they handle, how fast they are, and how comfortably they ride. These are all key pieces in the good car puzzle. The thing is, some cars also have small, but endearing details that are glossed over because they won’t make or break our opinions of the vehicles. But they’re features that make us smile anyway, and our long-term 2016 Fiat 500X happens to have a couple of them.
The other week I had the Italian crossover for a day, and when I took off for lunch, I found the first surprise between the front seats. Unlike some other automatic transmissions with manual shift gates, this one actually uses the proper, racing-style sequential layout: pull back to shift up, and push forward to shift down. Some car companies flip that pattern, which I can only assume makes more sense to people that don’t think about shifting.
The 500X’s other little surprise came that night as I drove home, but to properly explain why I loved it, I have to first talk about a different car. I own a 1999 Mazda MX-5 Miata, and one of my favorite things about it is that I can cruise around with one hand on the steering wheel and my elbow resting on the window sill. It’s the most chill driving position imaginable. Unfortunately, as beltlines have crept higher and higher, and doors have migrated farther from the edges of the seats, the opportunity to drive this way has effectively vanished. To my delight as I drove home in the 500X, I discovered the little crossover bucked the trend. I’m not sure how, but it has window sills that are prime elbow perches.
Neither of these features change my overall opinion of the vehicle, but they’re worth noting because Fiat didn’t have to include either of them. It’s just a mass-market crossover, so a racing-style shifter and a comfy window sill would probably go unnoticed by most buyers. Yet, despite those facts, some designers decided the car would be better with these details. For that reason, I’m happy to draw attention to these designers’ extra effort, and I will appreciate it every time I’m behind the wheel of our 500X.