Wednesday, April 22, 2015


All newer  Fiat 500X is the company's new baby SUV, sharing its platform and powertrains with the Jeep Renegade sibling, and the third major model for the brand in the States. Designed to deliver versatility, style and comfort, the 500X will seek to appeal to U.S. buyers with its retro-chic design and everyday utility while trying to steal a few sales from the likes of the Mini Countryman and the Nissan Juke.

                                                                                                                                              The 500X is the 500 that has been pumping iron in the gym," is how Danilo Tosetti, senior designer of the new SUV, described it. Centro Stile in Turin didn't stray too far afield from the design of the new Cinquecento in creating the 500X, adding just the expected amount of muscular styling to the familiar hatchback form -- exactly the way one would expect a four-door jacked-up 500 to look. Two powerplants and two transmissions are on the menu, both borrowed from its Jeep sibling: a turbocharged 1.4-liter MultiAir engine paired exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission, and a 2.4-liter Tigershark MultiAir2 engine paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission that we've already seen in a number of Fiat Chrysler Automotive vehicles such as the Chrysler 200 and the Jeep Cherokee, to name a few. The smaller engine in the range is rated at 160 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, while the larger engine produces 180 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. Front-wheel drive is standard on all five trim versions of the mini-SUV, with all-wheel drive optional on all but the base model, with the latter featuring an automatically disconnecting rear axle that will revert to front-wheel drive mode in order to save fuel when all-wheel drive is not needed. Unlike several other FCA vehicles equipped with this transmission, the nine-speed in the 500X is not an iDrive-like rotary knob but an actual stick, offering a manual shifting mode via the shiftgate rather than paddles -- identical to the Renegade. Drivers will also be able to select one of three driving modes: auto, sport and traction-plus, with the sport setting providing a sportier response from the engine and and steering. Traction-plus, meanwhile, is geared for greater grip on off-road surfaces.

The 500X will be offered with the company's latest suite of convenience and safety features, including blind spot monitoring,a lane departure warning system,rear cross path detection, electronic stability control, hill-start assist and a forward collision warning system. When it comes to infotainment, the 500X will feature the company's UConnect radio with a 5-inch screen in base form, and 3.5-inch color thin-film display for the instrument cluster. Further up the range, the UConnect system offers navigation and SiriusXM radio, in addition to a few other goodies.The 500X will be offered in a choice of five trim levels when it goes on sale, with the base Pop trim level starting at $20,895 and offering a four-speaker audio system, cloth seats, a manual driver and front-passenger seat, a 3-inch Uconnect radio and 16-inch wheels, among other items. The Easy trim level adds a bit more equipment in the form of a 5-inch Uconnect infotainment touchscreen, SiriusXM radio, a six-speaker audio system, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio and cruise control, and the larger 2.4-liter engine as standard equipment. In Easy guise, the 500X starts at $23,295. The third street-oriented trim level is Lounge, and for a starting price of $25,745 it will offer automatic headlights, ambient lighting, a 6.5-inch Uconnect touchscreen with SiriusXM, the premium audio system, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a power driver's seat and 17-inch wheels wearing all-season tires with the availability of optional 18-inch or 20 inch wheels.

Further up, the Trekking and Trekking Plus trim levels will offer off-road styling with redesigned front and rear fascias, satin silver accents and premium leather seats in the Plus model. Trekking will start at $24,000, while the Trekking Plus trim level will be the priciest at $28,000.

Fiat hasn't released official fuel economy figures for the 500X, though a company representative has indicated that it will average north of 30 mpg on the highway.
The 500X will go on sale in the U.S. at the end of May, with the first cargo ship full of 500X having departed Italy during the third week of April.We spent a day with the 500X, driving the pocket-sized SUV through the canyons just north of Los Angeles while also getting a very small taste of the city's legendary traffic conditions. Both of these road environments are very relevant to the 500X's future in the U.S., and we suspect that it may see just as many gridlocked streets as picture-perfect driving roads. One major traffic condition that we'll have a wait a few months to experience in the 500X is the snowpocalypse, but before the next one arrives, we've managed to get a good feel for Fiat's new baby SUV on those roads you see in car commercials 

In city driving, the 500X feels firmly planted on the road without feeling overly stiff, with the generous space in the wheelarches providing plenty of travel for the wheels when the road surface, or lack thereof, calls for it. With the wheels at the four corners, the car feels reasonably nimble in front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive form, without feeling light. Just as in the Renegade the steering response is easy to predict, and with the car set in Sport mode, the steering becomes a little heavier without slowing down response time.

As dial a driving-mode systems go, the Sport mode's offer of a livelier throttle response and a sportier steering feel is easy to detect even without the more dramatic exhaust sound, but it doesn't make us want to keep the car in Sport mode the whole time -- the default mode is just fine for city driving. On curvy backs roads, we kept it in Sport, and the 500X rewards us with a genuinely fun engine response and an entertaining soundtrack, with the automatic transmission proving to be intuitive in tasks seemingly made for roadsters equipped with manual gearboxes.

All new  500X's interior retains the high-mounted seating of the Renegade, not only making getting in and out easy but also providing a better field of view than other vehicles in this class. One would expect that the tradeoff would be slightly snug headroom in the back, but the 500X largely avoids this due to its curved roof. Legroom in the rear seats is a bit of a snug fit, but we found it to be generally comparable to the room offered in the Countryman. When it comes to the design of the interior, no evidence of Jeep Renegade elements can be found, with the 500X maintaining a distinct theme with a number of stylistic items borrowed from its smaller twin. But the interior is not as cute as in the two-door 500 -- it's clear that Fiat has created a more rugged look and feel for this model. The design of the dash is intuitive and varied enough, with body-colored panels and surrounds that have a stamped look to them helping maintain the retro feel present throughout the interior and exterior.

Still, there are a couple of ergononomic miscues, for example, the separation of the Uconnect touchscreen from your hand. Also, unless you drive with the guiding wheel carefully shrouded, similar to a goggle-wearing 1930s Lagonda race you'll need to incline forward a reasonable bit to play with a portion of the infotainment capacities that aren't available by means of directing wheel catches, which are specifically from the FCA parts container, we may include. 

The extent that its go 4x4 romping capacities go, there is no Trailhawk rendition of the 500X nor is there one pending. In any case even in front-wheel drive frame, the 500X is up for some light driving through rough terrain, both urban and provincial. The 500X was more than willing to move up on controls and to slide from them without thumping its wheels against the asphalt, making moving in tight city quarters simple while offering much more noteworthy adaptability than other little softroaders its size. Furthermore, that is the place the 500X's most helpful ordinary utility untruths having the capacity to crush into tight spaces in urban communities with not as much as perfect street base and to move freely without losing face or crunching something on its base. We're certain you've recognized that a few automakers have never mulled over the way that their autos may need to enter a corner store in a real city, the kind with an extremely sudden asphalt slope point that will bears the characteristics of ripping off numerous a front cover or guard. Anyway we can report here and today that the 500X is not perplexed about such urban dodge mine's ,pot hole.

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