Fiat suggest it is the only crossover with iconic DNA. They flesh out the argument by pointing out it is based on the much loved, ever young Fiat 500 that was first introduced in 1957.
Welcome to the new 500X, a Nissan Qashqai class vehicle, Fiat reckon offers heritage, design and substance. This new compact crossover is different. Some of the materials used inside are exclusive to the 500X.
“Good is no longer good enough,” Fiat executives suggested at the international launch when pointing out that the 500X involved 25-million hours of engineering during its creation; 500,000 hours of bench testing and was put through 20,000 quality checks.
This crossover segment reshaped the market in Europe over the past 10 years or so, and now commands a 20% share.
Fiat admitted that small cars were their bread and butter. Now, in the 500X, they wanted some jam too.
There will be two versions of the 500X available at launch (one more ‘urban’ and the other for leisure use), five trim levels (Pop, Popstar, Lounge, Cross and Cross Plus), four engine options (140bhp 1.4 turbo MultiAir II, 110bhp 1.6 “E-torQ”, 120bhp 1.6 MultiJet II and 140bhp 2.0 MultiJet II), three drive systems (front, with ‘Traction Plus’ system and four-wheel drive), three gearboxes (5-speed manual, 6-speed manual and 9-speed automatic), 12 body colours, eight different alloy wheel designs (16”, 17” and 18”) and seven different interior configurations.
Depending on the market, the Fiat 500X range features some differences in content (standard or optional) to best meet the needs of the individual countries. The range will hit these shores in the first quarter of 2015 when prices - in the Qashqai range - will be announced.
One drove the 1.6 litre diesel version. The car performed well, and a high class, well insulated interior added to the offering. We tested it off road too, and it showed fair agility. We look forward with enthusiasm to testing it on Irish roads.
The 500 family
The ever expanding 500 family now comprising the 500, 500C, 500L, 500L Trekking and 500L Living models. The cars are diverse in vocation and character, but they all share the same roots, the iconic Fiat 500.
The 500X will be built at the updated SATA plant in Melfi (Potenza) and sold in more than 100 countries worldwide, including the US.
The ‘X’ symbol represents a crossroads between several very different segments, each inhabited by the young and the mature, lovers of beauty and connoisseurs of character. These people are dynamic, with an active social life and they cultivate different passions and interests.
A comfortable passenger compartment which is unmistakably ‘made in Italy’ is available in seven interior configurations, comprising a selection of different fabrics, leather, finishes and colours. Optimum functionality is ensured by the seat adjustment options and the spacious luggage compartment (350 litres).
The 500X is available in two-wheel and four-wheel drive configurations. A particular feature of the four-wheel drive is the adoption of a rear axle disconnection system that reduces energy wasted through drag when four-wheel drive operation is not required, thus ensuring more efficient fuel consumption.
The only vehicle in its segment to offer this feature, with the exception of the Jeep Renegade, the 500X’s rear-axle disconnect seamlessly switches between two and four-wheel drive for accurate torque management with no need for input from the driver.
The “Mood Selector” drive selection system offers three different vehicle behaviours based on the driving style most appropriate to the situation or road surface conditions (Auto, Sport and All Weather). More anon.