Fiat Ready to Roll Out Third Member of the 500 Family

New 500X to share basic underpinnings of new Jeep Renegade.

by on Oct.02, 2014

Fiat debuted the 2015 500X, its new compact crossover, at the Paris Motor Show today.

The little Fiat family has just gotten a bit bigger, the Italian maker rolling out its long-promised 500X crossover-utility vehicle at the Paris Motor Show today.

If the look is a bit familiar, that should be no surprise. The 500X shares many of its underpinnings with both the Fiat 500L and the new Jeep Renegade, though it retains traditional Fiat styling cues.

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But Fiat is hoping that the new 500X will significantly enhance its brand appeal, especially in the U.S. market where it has been struggling to gain traction after making its return several years back.

The face of the 500X is all but lifted whole from the current 500 microcar, starting with the round headlamps and the large, chrome-framed grille. The overall look is decidedly more masculine than the 500L, which has generated little market enthusiasm.

The 500X crossover is the third in entrant in the Fiat 500 family in the U.S.

Fiat describes the new model as “A beauty with character,” adding that “the new car explores a brand-new dimension of being 500” by blending a bit of Italian haute couture with the functional aspects of a crossover.

Two versions will be offered, the base 500X and the more rugged 500X Cross version. The maker is also introducing 500 Couture, a new way to tap the growing market for vehicle customization that rival Mini has so successfully dialed into.

While the new 500X might seem positively huge compared to the original 500 hatchback, it still falls into the subcompact B-Car segment, measuring just 167.3 inches nose-to-tail, 70.8 inches in width, and 63.4 inches in height.

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The 500X will be offered with a mix of gas and diesel engines, depending upon market, and will be the first Fiat model to be packaged with an option nine-speed automatic gearbox, a version of the ZF transmission found in the Renegade and other Chrysler-side products. The front-drive package will be standard fair, though Fiat also will offer a “Traction Plus” model, as well as an optional all-wheel-drive system.

The 500X gets a roomy and stylish interior with a variety of technological innovations.

The nine-speed will be offered on Fiat 500X models equipped with Fiat’s 170-hp 1.4-liter Turbo MultiAir II petrol engine and the 140-hp 2.0-liter MultiJet II turbodiesel.

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The all-wheel-drive system will, in turn, feature a rear-axle disconnect that can improve efficiency when power is shifted to the front axle.

Picking up a cue from off-road maker Land Rover, the Fiat 500X will feature an optional Drive Mood Selector system, which will automatically adjust engine, brake, steering and gearbox behavior. In the 500X model, there will be three “moods” to choose from: Auto, Sport and All Weather. The 500X Cross will replace the All Weather setting with Traction. In all-wheel-drive models, it will more rapidly shift torque to the back wheels.

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The 500X will be available with a variety of safety features, including Blind Spot Assist, Land Departure Warning, and a rearview camera. It hasn’t been announced whether all these features will come to the U.S. market and, if so, whether they will be standard gear or optional.

The Fiat 500X also will be offered with a pair of touchscreens for use with the maker’s Uconnect infotainment system, and one of the infotainment options will be a new audio system developed in collaboration with Beats by Dr. Dre.

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One Response to “Fiat Ready to Roll Out Third Member of the 500 Family”

  1. nobsartist says:

    Amazingly ugly. 3 in a row, you are out.