Joining the other 500, 500C, 500L, 500L Trekking, 500L Living and Fiat 500e members of the family, the new 500X extends the reach of the small model to the crossover terrains with its Italian style, range of petrol (gasoline) and diesel engines, 5-, 6- and 9-speed transmissions, the Drive Mood Selector, front-wheel, all-wheel drive or Traction Plus configurations and other safety features.
That's in addition to twelve body colour choices, up to eight different designs for the 16-, 17- and 18-inch alloy wheels and seven interior configurations, as well as its infotainment and connectivity options.
Built in the updated SATA plant in Melfi (Potenza), the latest addition to the FIAT 500 family of small (subcompact, B-segment) models joins the small crossovers league with a 4.25 metres long body (2 cm more for the adventures oriented version), 1.8 metres wide and 1.60 metres in height (with roof bars or 4-wheel drive the figures are 161 and 162 cm respectively). At 350 litres, the luggage compartment volume is very good for the category.
Beside the five- and six-speed manual gearboxes and the twin-clutch 6-speed automatic transmission (two transmissions in parallel for rapid shifts by releasing one clutch and engaging the other one simultaneously), a new nine-speed automatic transmission is standard or optional with all-wheel drive versions (see petrol and diesel engines below).
With electronic control, the new nine-speed automatic transmission features "shift-on-the-fly" mapping, with the possibility of switching to manual-sequential mode.
In addition to the front-wheel drive versions, the four-wheel drive ones feature an axle disconnection system which, in normal driving conditions, sends engine torque to the front wheels. As it switches between two- and four-wheel drive without requiring input from the driver, when four-wheel drive operation is not required, the rear wheels are disconnected to reduce fuel consumption.
Fiat says that with its MacPherson rear suspension, the 500X is tuned for a good balance for both handling and comfort, adding that the standard equipment on the entire range includes six airbags (front, window bags and side bags), front headlights with daytime running light function and fog lights with cornering function, in addition to the ESC (Electronic Stability Control).
Other standard or optional safety equipment (depending on versions and markets) includes the Lane Assist system (lane departure warning) and Blind Spot Assist (lane change assistance system to get around blind spots).
A ParkView rear camera for reversing and "Brake Control" (assisted braking system) are optional.
The Fiat 500X provides three driving modes which can be selected via the "Drive Mood Selector", for engine, brakes, steering and gearbox/transmission settings.
Auto: Optimal for comfort and reduction of CO2 emissions and consumption,
Sport – Tuned, as it sounds, for performance and spirited handling,
All Weather – Best for low grip conditions (urban 500X), or...
Traction Plus – On the more rugged version of the FIAT 500X, the All Weather mode is replaced by the Traction function, which speeds up the transmission of torque to the rear axle on four-wheel drive versions, or activates the Traction Plus control system on front wheel drive versions (for those who don't need a 4wd system).
The engine range of the new FIAT 500X in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA countries) includes four petrol and three diesel engines.
Front-wheel drive, petrol-powered models are either equipped with a 110hp, 1.6-litre E-torQ engine with a five-speed manual gearbox or a 140hp, 1.4-litre Turbo MultiAir II petrol engine with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed twin-clutch transmission.
All-wheel drive petrol models, which are equipped with a nine-speed automatic transmission as standard, are powered either by a 170hp, 1.4-litre Turbo MultiAir II engine or the 184hp, 2.4-litre Tigershark engine.
The front-wheel drive diesel range consists of the 95hp, 1.3-litre MultiJet II turbo diesel (five-speed manual gearbox) and the 120hp1.6-litre MultiJet II turbo diesel (six-speed manual).
The four-wheel drive diesel option is the 140hp, 2.0-litre MultiJet II turbo diesel, which will be available with a six-speed manual or nine-speed automatic transmission.
In the UK, all engine and transmission versions will be available, with the exception of the 2.4-litre Tigershark unit.
The new Fiat 500X is available with seven possible interior fabric, leather and colour configurations, depending on the model and exterior colour. It is also available with a 5.0- or 6.5-in. Uconnect colour touchscreen infotainment systems.
Both systems feature Bluetooth, aux-in socket, SD port, USB connectivity and can be operated via steering wheel remote controls and voice commands.
The five-inch Uconnect unit is available with TomTom 2.5D navigation while the 6.5-inch system features satellite navigation with 3D maps, progressive route guidance and ‘One Shot Voice Destination Entry’ to enter addresses with voice commands.
The colour touchscreen interface gives access to the main functions: the analogue and digital radio (DAB), main multimedia sources (media player, iPod, iPhone, smartphone) which can be connected via USB port or aux-in socket or Bluetooth audio streaming. It can be managed directly from the steering wheel controls.
A new Uconnect Live system (UK availability to be confirmed) also allows customers – through integration with their smartphones – to use many apps on the on-board system to stay online, if they wish, on Facebook and Twitter, listen to music on Deezer or online radio stations with TuneIn, or get real-time news updates or the latest traffic and weather information from the TomTom Live service. An optional Beats Hi-Fi system is also available.
In addition to the eco:Drive function which can help the driver reduce emissions and fuel costs by up to 16 percent, according to Fiat, the new 500X my:Car service (specific markets availability to be confirmed nearer to launch) which helps with maintenance and dealing with emergencies via an interactive user manual.
Final specifications and pricing for each market will be announced closer to the launch date.