Fiat has gone off-roading at the Paris Motor Show with the debut of its 500X compact crossover. To be available in two versions – one aimed city driving and the other for the outdoor leisure market – the new crossover comes in two-wheel and four-wheel drive configurations and features a wide choice of engines and gearboxes, including a nine-speed automatic.
Designed by the Centro Stile Fiat, the 500X echoes the classic 1957 Fiat 500 with its round headlamps and original logo. However, it’s a bit of a five-door brute when compared with the cheap, practical town car of the 1950s. Based on a Punto platform instead of the standard 500, the 500X shows how much the 500 has evolved over the past half century with its heavier lines, more aggressive stance, and more upmarket appeal.
The emphasis on choice for the Fiat 500X model is highlighted by the availability of 16-, 17-, or 18-in alloy wheels and 12 different liveries, in addition to a range of three drive trains that will eventually rise to eight.
- the 140 hp 1.4 Turbo MultiAir II with front-wheel drive and a six-speed manual gearbox.
- the 120 hp 1.6 MultiJet II with front-wheel drive and a six-speed manual gearbox.
- the 140 hp 2.0 MultiJet II with a nine-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive.
- the 110 hp 1.6 "E-torQ" with a five-speed manual gearbox and front-wheel drive.
- the 170 hp 1.4 Turbo MultiAir II with a nine-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive.
- the 184 hp Tigershark 2.4 with a nine-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive.
- the 95 hp 1.3 MultiJet II diesel with a five-speed manual gearbox and front-wheel drive.
- the 140 hp 2.0 MultiJet II diesel with a six-speed manual and four-wheel drive.
The Fiat 500X’s new nine-speed automatic gearbox has electronic control, which offers "shift-on-the-fly" mapping as well as a manual-sequential mode. In addition, the four-wheel drive uses rear axle disconnection system that automatically shifts between two- and four-wheel drive as needed without the driver’s input, while reducing the fuel-consuming drag of always-on four wheel drives.
There’s also a Drive Mood Selector that configures the engine, brakes, steering, and gearbox for three driving modes – Auto, Sport, and All Weather. In the more leisure oriented versions of the 500X with four-wheel drive, the All Weather mode is replaced by Traction or Traction Plus for dedicated and light off-roading and respectively.
Inside, the 500X has an understated layout with circular headrests and a choice of trims. Dominating the dashboard it the 5-in or 6.5-in touchscreens for the Uconnect infotainment system. The 5-in version comes with TomTom 2.5D navigation and the 6.5-in version has satellite navigation with 3D maps, progressive route guidance and "One Shot Voice Destination Entry." Both have Bluetooth connectivity, USB port, SD port, voice command, and integrate with smartphones to allow control of apps from the touchscreen. Media playback from synced devices can also be managed directly using the steering wheel controls.
Pricing for the Fiat 500X is yet to be announced.