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No-one can accuse me of being too far ahead of motoring affairs with this week’s ‘In Focus’ model.

I had wanted to drive this particular version of the Fiat 500X for some time, but events undermined my efforts.

It’s an important little thing, because it involves a 1-litre, 3cyl Firefly petrol engine in the automaker’s small crossover.

And while it has started life with the 500X, it will make its debut in other models as time goes by.

Now, 3cyl petrol engines are not a new phenomenon or the technological wonder they were back in the days when Ford started with its EcoBoost 1-litre.

But seeing as most other makers have a variant of this nature in stock, somehow or another it seems only fair to let you know that Fiat have one, too.

Many people have opted for this type of petrol powerplant as part of the swing away from diesel and towards a greater suitability for town driving.

And a right sprightly little thing this Firefly was, pumping a nice and lively 120bhp from its 999cc base.

I came away thinking that while hordes are not exactly beating a path to Fiat’s door, the 500X is one model well worth taking a look at.

I really liked the inside.

Some might have an aversion to interior ‘metal’ being matched with the exterior, but in the case of my short-test drives, I thought the large patches lifted the entire cabin.

It’s a fine little engine: responsive, quiet, peppy and while not exactly hush quiet, it was aurally mannerly, shall we say.

One warning that applies to all these small turbo powerplants is that they are excellent on fuel around town – which is where I took most of my few drives – but can be thirsty on longer runs.

As a smart little urban-drive package the 500X worked as well, if not better, than quite a few rivals.

They claim a combined 6litres/100km (47.1mpg) which I would take with a tiny pinch of salt.

As I am tired repeating these days, we lose sight of the fact that we can make a huge difference on MPG with how we drive.

Maybe the Volkswagen 1-litre tops the little Fiat and maybe the Peugeot, but it is not far behind. It’s well specced for the price, too.

Test-car equipment included: cruise control, Apple Carplay/ Android Auto connectivity, light/rain sensors, Uconnect Live 7in touchscreen radio w/3D navigation, Bluetooth, USB, aux-in DAB radio with six speakers, ice mirror skid plates and roof rails, rear parking camera, electric windows, automatic dual-zone climate control and so on. Yes, there is a fair bit of stuff aboard.

It has been a while since I’ve driven the last version of this crossover. I remember that one to have been a bit drab inside.

I came away pleasantly surprised with this one.

*The Fiat 500X range starts from €21,795.

The version I had on test costs €24,995.

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