This is the Fiat 500X, the 3rd model under the ‘500’ brand moniker. Yes, 500 has now become a brand of its own, much like Citroen’s DS line-up. This becomes quite apparent when you realise
the Fiat 500 and 500L couldn’t be more different to one another. But the 500X is possibly the boldest and most important move from FIAT since the brand reincarnated the 500 supermini.
Yes, the 500X bears certain cues to the 500, but it’s far closer related to the new Jeep Renegade, which shares platforms, engines, and Italian manufacturing with the 500X.
The compact Fiat crossover SUV is targeted at the likes of the Nissan Juke and Ford EcoSport, as well as the newly revealed Suzuki Vitara. In order to do so the funky design stands it in good stead to be a major player in the segment, with curves, bumps, and rounded edges all round complemented by a subtle ‘gruffness’ hinting at an underlying offroad capability.
The 500X will be available with several petrol engines, namely a 1.6-litre petrol engine with 82kW, or a 104kW 1.4 turbo petrol unit for front-wheel drive variants, and a choice of either a 127kW 1.4T or 137kW 2.4-litre Tigershark engines – the same engine as seen in the new Jeep Cherokee – for the AWD models. These engines will be available with several transmissions available, with the FWD offerings bearing either a 6-speed manual or dual-clutch setup, and the AWD models featuring a 9-speed automatic transmission as standard.
The diesel engine range will consist of a 71kW 1.3-litre equipped with a manual gearbox and a 90kW 1.6-litre mated to a 6-speed manual transmission for FWD variants, whilst AWD models are available with a 104kW 2.0-litre turbo-diesel unit.
Standard equipment on the chic 500X should be rather lavish, with all models boasting a ‘Drive Mood Selector’ – with Auto, Sport, and All Weather modes on lower models, and higher specced models (AWD variants) losing All Weather in Favour of ‘Traction” mode. Additional features will include either a 5- or 6.5-inch Uconnect infotainment system, available with navigation, as well as Lane Assist technology, Blind Spot Assist, assisted braking, and a reversing camera.
The 500X is expected to debut locally during the second half of 2015, with models, engines, and options to be announced closer to the launch date.
Has Fiat done enough to steal sales from the polarising Nissan Juke? Time will tell, but the 500X sure looks the part.