Beverly Hills, CA – Just as MINI has done by introducing several different models and body formats, Fiat is expanding their portfolio of vehicles to provide a broader choice of body styles serving a variety of purposes. The latest entry into the Fiat family is the 2016 Fiat 500X – an all-new small crossover or multi-purpose vehicle (the first global Fiat model) that comfortably seats five, provides clever storage and blends Fiat’s iconic Italian styling with heightened functionality, spirited performance and confidence-building available all-wheel drive capability.
The new Fiat 500X is positioned between the Fiat 500 Coupe and the Fiat 500L in the lineup, serving up a contemporary Italian design flavor in a larger, more capable form than the Cinquecento Coupe, while being essentially more attractive than the larger 500L. The 500X brings the total number of Fiat model offerings to no fewer than eight, each with their own individual appeal. It will be sold in more than 100 countries and is based on a shared architecture with the Jeep Renegade. It features the first Fiat independent rear suspension, is composed of 70 percent high strength steel construction, and is the most technically sophisticated vehicle in the Fiat family.
The Fiat 500X alone is available in five levels of trim or models: the base POP, which starts at $20,000; the 500X Easy with a starting price of $22,300; the 500X Trekking, beginning at $23,100; 500X Lounge starting at $24,850; and the top of the line Fiat 500X Trekking Plus with a base sticker of $27,100. Add a $900. Destination charge for each model. Six Trekking packages are available for all are available in a choice of 12 exterior colors that are attractive enough, but seem to stray from the more traditional pastel-toned palette. The Pop comes only in a Front-Wheel Drive configuration (basically eliminating the X-factor); the Trekking Plus in only available in AWD. All other models are FWD with option of adding AWD. Each step up the model ladder adds the previous model’s features and equipment.
There are also a variety of optional Collection packages that offer different levels of features and equipment for each trim that range in price from $200 to $2,700.
Motational energy comes from a choice of two inline four-cylinder engines that feature MultiAir technology. First up, is a fuel-efficient 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine that mates to a six-speed manual gearbox only and delivers 160 horses along with 184 pound feet of torque. Next is a 2.4-liter Tigershark MultiAir2 four-banger that is coupled exclusively to a nine-speed automatic transmission on all-wheel and front-wheel-drive models, and produces 180 horsepower (20 more than the 1.4-liter motor), but 9 fewer pound feet of torque (175).
The Fiat 500X’s advanced all-wheel-drive system costs an additional $1,900 and comes with a disconnecting rear axle for enhanced efficiency by reducing parasitic loss. A Dynamic Selector system for both FWD and AWD 500X models enables drivers to choose one of three modes: Auto, Sport and Traction+ to selectively match the best configuration for specific driving scenarios.
Visually, the 500X showcases the primary styling and DNA of the smaller Fiat 500 models with some modest design cue differentials. Think of it as a stretched 500 variant with more to offer in terms of creature comforts and functionality.
Technologies include: Uconnect systems, providing a wide range of available handsfree communication, entertainment and navigation features, with available Uconnect Access Via Mobile linking to popular internet radio apps; and other options such as BeatsAudio premium sound system, Keyless Enter’n Go and ambient interior lighting.
Advanced safety features and systems are offered as well, including: ABS; ESC; Forward Collision Warning – Plus; LaneSense Departure Warning-Plus; innovative Blind-spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Path detection systems; and seven standard air bags with seat-mounted side pelvic-thorax and full-length side-curtain air bags.
During the national press launch of the 2016 Fiat 500X, I was able to experience pre-production versions of a 500X Trekkiing AWD model as well as a 500X Trekking Plus FWD. The first wore a Bronzo Magnetico Opaco (Matte Bronze) exterior finish with a Nero (Black) premium cloth interior and came with 17-inch alloy wheels and a Dual-Pane sunroof. The base sticker was set at $25,000while the final tag totaled $28,100 including Destination. The Trekking Plus model tested Sported a Rosso Passione (Red Clear Coat) exterior with a Cuoio Anticato (Tobacco) leather interior. The base price was set at $27,100 , while the Dual-pane sunroof LaneSense Lane Departure Warning-Plus, Forward Collision Warning-Plus and other Mopar accessories and Destination charge bumped the final tally to $31,125.
SUMMARY: The 2016 Fiat 500X Trekking crossover is a sporty and fun-to-drive vehicle. It is larger and more substantial than the Fiat 500 Coupe models, and as already stated, also (in my opinion) more attractive than the larger 500L series.
The nine-speed automatic transmission shifted smoothly, but often seemed like a CVT unit with its long linearity.
Bottom line, the 2016 Fiat 500X stable offers a wide range of admirable features and equipment in a sensibly sized package with AWD capability. The AWD feature is not intended for serious off-roading mind you, but rather for enhanced stability and traction is less than ideal road surface conditions. If you liked the Fiat 500, you’re sure to appreciate the 500X even more.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2016 Fiat 500X Trekking AWD
|Price as Tested:||$28,100.|
|Engine Type and Size:||1.4-liter SOHC, 16-valve, in-line turbocharged four-cylinder with sequential multiport, electronic returnless fuel injection. / 2.4-liter SOHC, 16-valve Tigershark MultiAir2 in line four-cylinder with sequential multiport, electronic returnless fuel injection.|
|Horsepower (bhp):||1.4L-160 @ 5,500 rpm / 2.4L-180 @ 6,400 rpm|
|Torque (ft./ lbs.):||1.4L-184 @ 2,500 rpm / 2.4L-175 @ 3,900 rpm|
|Transmission:||C635 six-speed manual or 948TE 9 speed automatic.|
|Drive Train:||Transversely mounted front engine / Front-Wheel drive or available All-Wheel Drive with Rear axle disconnect.|
Front -MacPherson strut, coil springs, high-strength steel front cross member, high-strength steel mono shell lower control arms and stabilizer bar.
Rear – Chapman strut, high-strength steel links, isolated steel rear cradle, coil springs and stabilizer bar.
|Brakes:||Power-assisted four-wheel discs (vented front) with
single piston floating calipers, ABS and ESC.
|Tires:||Nexen Classe Premiere CP671-P215/60 R17 96T mounted on 5 â€œYâ€ spoke alloy wheels with painted insert spacers,|
|Length Overall:||167.2 inches|
|Width:||75.5 inches – with mirrors.|
|Curb Weight:||2,967 lbs.|
|Fuel Capacity:||12.7 gallons|
|EPA Mileage Estimates:||TBD mpg city / TBD mpg highway|
|Drag Coefficient:||Not listed.|
|0 – 60 mph:||Not tested.|
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles as well.