THE latest model to emerge from the highly successful Fiat 500 range could well be one of the most popular judging from reaction to the crossover 500X which is competing against rivals like the Nissan Juke and Renault Captur writes Bryan Longworth.
For the 500X which will also be competing with the Jeep Renegade to which it is closely related has real style and has already been acclaimed as the most desirable car in this market sector that is a great start in life for the Italian crossover.
There are two versions of the 500X one for normal urban road use and the other more rugged car for driving off-road but both models have bags of kerb appeal which will make Fiat sales executives very happy people.
The 500X is available with two and four wheel drive with petrol and diesel engines and there are five and six speed manual transmissions as well as a six speed twin clutch and nine speed automatics.
The nine speeder auto box which can also be used in manual sequential mode is not only a first for Fiat but also for the crossover segment which adds to the overall appeal of the car.
Prices in the 13 model range start at £14,595 for the two wheel drive 500X POP with the 1.6-litre petrol engine rising to £25,845 for the 2.0-litre Multijet diesel with four wheel drive.
Fiat has hit the jackpot with its styling for the 500X with the two wheel drive model having chic urban appeal and the four wheel drive has got really rugged looks which is the one I would go for and I suspect many other motorists wanting such a 4x4 will feel the same.
Ground clearance for the 4x4 version increases to 179mm compared to 162mm for the front wheel drive models along with specific bumpers and protective skid plates to protect the bodywork make it an ideal car for off-road driving.
There is a roomy rear load area of 350 litres which can be extended to accommodate all manner of loads using the fold and tumble rear seats and the fold flat front passenger seat and there is also a removable load platform which is reversible and height adjustable.
500X is the only real off-roader in this sector and that could be its big attraction for early reports suggest that it incorporates the legendary off road qualities of Jeep which should provide it with considerable sales appeal for potential owners in this market sector.
It also has completely different styling from the competition and I feel that this could be its trump card for there are likely to be sufficient potential owners wanting something like this as an alternative to the likes of Juke and Captur which looks really cool and that could lead to the 500X being very popular.
And it is also an ideal car for Fiat 500 city car owners to remain with the brand when they are looking for something bigger for their family needs rather than for them to start looking at the products of other manufacturers.
Verdict: A crossover with big potential.
Model: Fiat 500X.
Engines: Petrol and diesel.
Transmissions: Automatic and manual.
Drive: 4x4 and two wheel drive.
Prices: From £14,595 to £25,845.