Fiat pulled out all the stops at the North American debut of their all-new Fiat 500X, at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. The small crossover segment is hugely popular worldwide with automakers like Nissan, Honda, Fuji Heavy and General Motors capitalizing on early placement of products. Among these automakers, Nissan, with their Juke Crossover and MINI, with the MINI Countryman, have connected with the pulse of young buyers. The Nissan Juke, MINI Countryman and Buick Encore sell very well in North America.
Unveiled to a packed room, the presentation was one part rock ‘n roll, one part Fellini film and a sprinkle of sexual innuendo. In other words, it was an awesome L.A. debut. I must mention a full-sized 500X sculpture that was wrapped in stripes and rotated at high speeds on stage-right. If you were walking towards the stage and looked at the sculpture too long – you would begin to stumble or tilt to your right.
The 2016 Fiat 500X looks to enter this thriving class with an all-wheel drive (AWD) crossover that appears to tick all of the right boxes. The base model 2016 Fiat 500X comes with a 160 horsepower 1.4-liter “MultiAir” turbocharged engine that makes 184 lbs-feet of torque. It comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission. A 180 hp, 2.4-liter Tigershark “MultiAir2” engine is available which makes 175 lb-ft of torque. The Tigershark comes with a nine-speed automatic transmission on front-wheel drive with optional all-wheel-drive (AWD).
The running-gear is shared with the upcoming Jeep Renegade.
“The Fiat 500X will significantly expand the reach of the FIAT brand in North America,” said Jason Stoicevich, Head of FIAT Brand North America, Chrysler Group LLC. “The all-new 500X delivers the Italian design and personality that we are known for, along with an unprecedented level of equipment and technology. In addition, it will be the first vehicle in our portfolio to offer an advanced all-wheel-drive system that will provide customers with peace of mind in all driving conditions.”
All-wheel drive(AWD) utility is one of the main attractors to this class. The 2016 Fiat 500X’s AWD system consists of a disconnecting rear axle. Disconnecting the rear axle limits parasitic loss when AWD is not needed, which will increase fuel efficiency. The driver can select three drive modes using the Drive Selector – Sport, Traction and Auto.
According to Fiat:
•2016 Fiat 500X combines iconic Italian style with functionality, performance and all-wheel-drive confidence
•All-new small crossover highlights continued expansion of FIAT brand in North America
•Delivers contemporary Italian design with iconic Cinquecento features in a larger, more capable package
•Features advanced drive systems, including two engine options, available nine-speed automatic transmission, and available all-wheel drive with disconnecting rear axle for improved fuel efficiency
•Loaded with up to 70 advanced safety and security features
•Available in five trim models and 12 exterior colors to offer the personality that FIAT vehicles are known
“The 2016 Fiat 500X is available in five trim levels: Pop, Easy, Lounge, and for a more rugged look, Trekking and Trekking Plus. The Trekking and Trekking Plus models feature unique front and rear fascia designs, and satin silver accents for a distinct, adventurous appearance.
Crafted in Italy at Fiat Automobiles’ Melfi assembly plant, the all-new Fiat 500X will arrive in FIAT studios in North America in the first half of 2015. As a global vehicle, it will go on sale in more than 100 countries worldwide.” – – Fiat USA
Two points I would like to make…
1: This is the design Fiat should have implemented with the 500L. The 2016 Fiat 500X looks like its a well balanced, attractive design. It’s not ungainly or goofy like the “L.”
2: The 2016 Fiat 500X should sell like hot-cannoli – and why not? This is what consumers want; utility, fun and style at an affordable price.
If you doubt this segment is exploding, how do you explain the Honda HR-V, Chevrolet Trax and Mazda CX-3?
We’ll keep a close eye on this one and have more details soon.
Well done Fiat… now give us some wheel time and a hot cannoli!