The latest addition to the FIAT 500 family, and making its world début at the Paris Motor Show, is their new crossover; the FIAT 500X.
There are two versions of the car available, with the 500X attempting to try and be all things to all men (and women.) One of the versions is designed to appeal to the fun-loving, spirited and metropolitan driver and the other is a more rugged version aimed at the stylish, active adventurer. But even then there is a choice of 12 different body colours and eight different designs for the alloy wheels available in 16”, 17” and 18”) so there is pretty much a FIAT 500X for everyone if you consider the personalization options.
The personalization even moves to the driving experience that can be enjoyed, obviously depending on how the new FIAT 500X is being driven and the driving conditions that are being experienced.
The "Drive Mood Selector" has a choice of three different modes for engine, brakes, steering and gearbox/transmission settings: “Auto” is the best choice for those looking for, in particular, comfort, low fuel consumption and low CO2 emissions while the “Sport” mode reconfigures the FIAT 500X in preparation for better performance and more spirited handling. The final “All Weather” mode adjusts the vehicle settings to allow for maximum safety even in low grip conditions.
On the more rugged version of the FIAT 500X, the “All Weather” mode is replaced by the “Traction” function, which, in four-wheel versions, speeds up torque transmission to the rear axle; and on front-wheel drive versions activates the “Traction Plus” control system to offer extra help in extreme low-traction situations and avoid those extra emissions and fuel costs associated with four-wheel drive.
The FIAT 500X also offers eco:Drive™, which (surprise surprise: look at the name!) can help reduce emissions and fuel costs by up to 16%. (Yet to be confirmed for the UK is the my:Car™ service which helps with maintenance and dealing with emergencies using an interactive user manual.)
While we are talking about Nissan’s philosophy of (trying to) appeal to every spectrum of customer, the FIAT 500X comes with a choice of engines and transmissions including, for the first time on any sort of FIAT, a brand new nine-speed automatic transmission that features "shift-on-the-fly" mapping with the ability to switch to manual-sequential mode. The new transmission drives a four-wheel drive system and “adopts a fuel-saving rear axle disconnection system that seamlessly switches between two- and four-wheel drive for full-time torque management without requiring input from the driver,” resulting in the development of a highly efficient and smooth drivetrain that offers sure-footedness and dependability in all sorts of conditions.
The engine range in Europe will comprise of four petrol engines and three diesel engines.
With the petrol engines, all front-wheel drive models will be equipped with a either 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. The all-wheel drive models will feature the nine-speed automatic transmission as standard, and feature either a 170hp, 1.4-litre Turbo MultiAir II engine or the 184hp, 2.4-litre Tigershark engine, although this last option will not be available here in the UK.
In the diesel engine range, the front-wheel drive cars have either a 95hp, 1.3-litre MultiJet II turbo diesel, equipped with a five-speed manual gearbox or a 120hp1.6-litre MultiJet II turbo diesel equipped with a six-speed manual gearbox. The four-wheel drive 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.
Faced with a plethora of demands from customers in the crossover segment, the FIAT 500X is equipped with a MacPherson rear suspension, pretty much guaranteeing that the car reaches the optimal balance of handling and comfort possible while the very latest safety technology ensures that you’ll get where you are going in a condition you would want to be in. These safety systems include front headlights with DRLs; front fog lights with adaptive cornering; sophisticated ESC (Electronic Stability Control); Lane Assist (lane departure warning system); Blind Spot Assist (lane change assistance system); a ParkView reversing camera; and a "Brake Control" assisted braking system.
Sizewise, the FIAT 500X is compact on the outside – 4.25 metres long (with the more adventurous FIAT 500X 2cm longer), 1.80 metres wide and 1.60 metres high (1.61 with roof bars, 1.62 with 4WD) – yet spacious and inviting inside: just like the TARDIS!
The interior makes great use of some high-grade materials, top-quality finishes and practical storage compartments – including a spacious 350 litre luggage compartment – with the car’s seats adjusting to be able to offer a high degree of flexibility with a choice of seven different interior fabrics, leather and colour configurations, depending on the model and exterior colour.
When it comes to infotainment we are talking some serious equipment with the FIAT 500X coming with, as standard, a sophisticated 5.0”- or 6.5” Uconnect™ colour touchscreen infotainment system that features Bluetooth, aux-in and USB connectivity and can be operated via steering wheel remote controls and voice commands. The 5” version comes with TomTom 2.5D navigation while the 6.5” system features satellite navigation with 3D maps, progressive route guidance and ‘One Shot Voice Destination Entry’ to enter addresses with voice commands. If you need that extra touch, DAB and a Beats Hi-Fi system, developed in collaboration with Beats by Dr. Dre, are also available.
(Again yet to be confirmed as available in the UK is a new Uconnect™ Live system that will allow customers to connect to on-board system apps such as Twitter and Facebook via their smartphoness, listen to millions of music tracks on Deezer and more than 100,000 radio stations with TuneIn, get real-time news updates from Reuters and get the latest traffic, safety camera and weather information from the TomTom Live service.)
The new FIAT 500X will go on sale in the UK in the second quarter of 2015 with the final specification announced closer to the launch.