Fiat 500 gains the ‘X’-factor
This is the Fiat 500X. The 500X shares its platform with its cousin, the Jeep Renegade but takes a slightly less hard-core approach to soft-roading. In terms of market position, consider it as a challenger to the Nissan Juke and Renault Captur rather than the MINI Countryman or Skôda Yeti.
Whilst looks are subjective and very much in the eye of the beholder, we actually quite like the look of the 500X and feel that the transition from the Fiat 500 3dr city car into a 5dr SUV has been made exceptionally well. We think the transition is certainly a lot more successful than that made by the 500L MPV. For the record, the 500X measures 4,250mm in length (or 4,270mm if you opt for the 500X Cross variant), 1,800mm wider and 1,610mm tall.
Since it uses the underpinnings of the Renegade and the 500X has been designed to cater to the particular needs of those keen to spend their time outdoors, the 500X should be able to offer a reasonably decent drive and genuine off-road capability. Despite this, most versions of the 500X will be front-wheel drive.
There is a strong range of both petrol and diesel engines available.
Petrol lovers will be able to choose from the entry-level 108bhp, 1.6-litre mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox, but if more power is required, buyers have the option of upgrading to a 138bhp, 1.4-litre turbocharged version mated to a 6-speed manual or a dual-clutch transmission. However, for those who want to have the option of even more power beneath their right foot, then there is always the 168bhp version of the 1.4-litre. This will be a true off-road with four-wheel-drive capability and a 9-speed automatic gearbox.
Oil-burning variants start off with a 94bhp, 1.3-litre mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox. Two 2.0-litre versions in two power outputs then follow: 118bhp or 135bhp. The more powerful version can also be secured with the 4x4 and 9-speed auto combination.
Interestingly, neither of the all-wheel-drive variants get the low-range rock crawling mode that owners of the Jeep Renegade Trail Hawk can enjoy. However, they are able to take advantage of something called the ‘Drive Mood Selector’. No, we haven’t misspelt ‘mode’, that really does say ‘Mood’. This remaps the response of the engine, gearbox, steering and brakes dependent upon the driving conditions and gives the driver a choice of three settings: Auto which adapts to how you drive, Sport which claims to sharpen the car’s reactions, and All-Weather which promises assured driving behaviour in slippery conditions. On 500X Cross models, denoted by their chunkier body styling pack, the All-Weather option is replaced by Traction. This comes irrespective as to whether you chose the front- or all-wheel drive option.
The 500X shares much with the 500L. This means you can expect to find a 5-inch or 6.5-inch infotainment touchscreen, dependent on the model you buy, with standard Bluetooth and USB connections. The boot offers 350-litres of cargo space, 50-litres less than the 500L’s.
As is the case with the standard 500 city car, the larger 500X will be able to be ordered with a wide range of personalisation options, including a Beats by Dr. Dre audio system. There is a choice of 12 colours to choose from and eight alloy wheel designs which range in size from 16-inches to 18-inch rims.
Among the more technically advanced options are a suite of safety systems that include blind-spot monitoring and a rear view parking camera.
The Fiat 500X is expected to enter the UK towards the middle of spring. Obviously, the company haven’t announced pricing yet. However, EcoCars4Sale expect the starting price to be around the £15,000 or £16,000 mark, judging by its targeted opposition.
This article was prepared by First4Auto exclusively for EcoCars4Sale