The 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show marked the North American debut of the Fiat 500X, a “crossover-ized” version of the Fiat 500L. Two engine choices are offered—a 160-horsepower 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo 4-cylinder with a 6-speed manual transmission, or a 180-hp 2.4-liter Tigershark MultiAir2 4-cylinder with a 9-speed automatic.
All-wheel drive is available on 2.4-powered models. The AWD system features a Dynamic Selector system that allows the driver to choose one of three driving modes (Auto, Sport, and Traction +). The AWD system also utilizes a disconnecting rear axle for reduced parasitic loss (and improved fuel efficiency) when AWD capability is not necessary.
Trim levels ascend through Pop, Easy, Lounge, Trekking, and Trekking Plus models. The Trekking models have a more rugged look via unique front and rear fasciae and satin silver accents. Available features on the 500X include keyless entry and starting, heated front seats and steering wheel, Bluetooth connectivity, and a 6.5-inch touchscreen.
The 2016 Fiat 500X will be built in Italy and is set to go on sale in the first half of 2015.
The 500X is Fiat’s entry into a fast-growing new market segment: the “extra-compact” crossover SUV. The Chevrolet Trax, Honda HR-V, and Jeep Renegade (which shares its basic platform with the 500X) are all set to debut soon, and the 2015 Nissan Juke is set to receive a styling facelift and some new standard features. That’s a formidable roster of competitors, but the 500X should appeal to shoppers who crave a European character in their compact crossover.