Rugged Fiat 500X unveiled

What’s this?

The Fiat 500X is the latest addition to the small crossover market, competing with the likes of the MINI Countryman, Nissan Juke and Renault Captur.

It will be the third model in the 500 range, alongside the regular hatch and the more family-friendly 500L.

What’s new?

Fiat aims to bring the style of the original 500 into the crossover segment for the first time. The 500X can even be specified with four-wheel drive if needs be.

In an attempt to cater to a larger number of customers’ tastes, the 500X is offered in two different versions. One for people that Fiat describe as possessing “a spirited, metropolitan outlook” and another for “active, stylish adventurers”. In English, that means one of the variants has slightly chunkier bumpers than the other one (the red car shown below is the more adventure-y one). Twelve different exterior colours will be available, along with wheels ranging in size from 16 to 18 inches.

Fiat’s keen to emphasise both the high standard of the interior materials and the customisation options that have made the regular 500 hatch so popular. In the 500X, there are seven different interior trim and colour combinations available, all with “top-quality finishes.” There are cubbies abound and a 350-litre boot. The dashboard features either a 5.0 or 6.5-inch touchscreen display, depending on the model. All versions feature Bluetooth, aux-in and USB connectivity, so those who like to sing in their car at an uncomfortably loud volume will love it.

What’s under the bonnet?

There will be three petrol and three diesel-engined models available in the UK, and a choice of front or four-wheel drive. The front-wheel drive models are available with 1.6-litre or 1.4-litre turbocharged petrols, producing 110hp and 140hp respectively, or the diesel options of a 95hp 1.3 multijet and a larger 1.6-litre unit producing 120hp.

Four-wheel-drive variants come with either a 1.4-litre turbo producing 170hp or a 2.0-litre diesel with 140hp. Both four-wheel-drive models come equipped with a new nine-speed automatic transmission, while a manual is an option on the diesel.

Anything else?

The 500X offers a “Drive Mood Selector” which adjusts the engine response, suspension settings and gearbox modes according to taste. ‘Auto’ can be selected to aid comfort and economy, ‘Sport’ sharpens the throttle response and suspension, while ‘All Weather’ can be selected to help cope with slippery conditions. The four-wheel drive versions replace the ‘All Weather’ mode with ‘Traction’ which speeds up the response of the four wheel drive system, which defaults to powering the front wheels in normal conditions to safe fuel.

How much will it cost?

We don’t know just yet. Fiat tells us that we’ll find out a little closer to the car’s release, which is due to be the second quarter of 2015.

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