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X-panded: it’s the Fiat 500X
This is the 500X, Fiat’s micro-crossover answer to the Renault Captur and Nissan’s Juke.
Unveiled at the Paris show, the 500X – a first cousin to the Jeep Renegade – will arrive in the UK in spring next year in both front- and four-wheel drive flavours… and with the choice of two bodystyles.
Actually, ‘bodystyles’ might be a bit strong. As with the Panda, the 500X will be joined by a 500X Cross, which adds more cladding and a mite more off-road focus.
The Cinquecento styling cues are clear, but the 500X – which sits on a modified Punto platform rather than that of Fiat’s chi-chi little city car – is a whole lot bigger: 71cm longer, 17cm wider and 12cm taller than the standard 500.
Both 500X and 500X Cross will be offered with the choice of four petrol and three diesel engines. If you want front-wheel drive, your petrol options are a 110bhp 1.6-litre, mated to a five-speed manual, or Fiat’s perky 1.4-litre ‘MultiAir’ turbo, driving a six-speed manual or dual-clutch box.
Front-drive diesel options comprise a 95bhp 1.3-litre unit, a 120bhp 1.6, and Fiat’s 140bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel. The former gets a five-speed manual, the latter two a six-speed manual.
Engines for the all-wheel drive 500Xs are rather juicier. You can have a 170bhp version of that 1.4-litre turbo petrol, a 184bhp 2.4 ‘Tigershark petrol’ (sadly not available in the UK), or, on the diesel side, that 140bhp 2.0-litre MultiJet effort.
All 4WD 500Xs are fitted with a nine-speed auto – the most ratio-laden gearbox ever to grace a Fiat – that sends full power to the front wheels alone during normal driving. An electronic locking differental seamlessly engages the rear axle when drive is required from the back end.
This being a 500 (of sorts), the ‘P’ word features heavily. Yes, personalisation. We’re told you can have your 500X with the choice of 12 body colours and eight alloy wheel designs, the largest of which are 18-inchers.
Standard kit includes a colour touchscreen and ‘Drive Mode Selector’, which allows the driver to toggle the engine, brake, steering and transmission response between three modes: Auto, Sport and All Weather. Opt for the 500X Cross, and you’ll see the latter mode replaced by a ‘Traction’ mode, which pushes more torque to the rear axle of the four-wheel drive system.
Prices are yet to be announced, but expect the 500X to be closely pegged to that Captur and Juke – though north of Fiat’s own Panda 4x4. Will the 500X usurp that car as the rufty-tufty AWD Fiat of choice?