The Sunday Times Driving Placeholder

Car of the Week: Fiat 500X

Fiat is ready to release the 500X, a rival to the Nissan Qashqai in the fastest-growing car category, the crossover.


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THE FIAT 500 brought a touch of chic Italian cafe society to drivers on a budget, and the 500L proved there could be a people carrier that looked more exciting than a fridge freezer on wheels. Now Fiat is ready to release the 500X, a rival to the Nissan Qashqai in the fastest-growing car category, the crossover.

The 500X is likely to cost from £18,000 when it goes on sale here early next year, after being shown at the Paris motor show in September. The news will be warmly received by buyers searching for a crossover that looks a little less functional than some of those on offer.

Sales of 4x4s and crossovers accounted for 12% of the European market in 2013, three times the level in 2000. Fiat hopes that combining the style of the 500 hatchback with the go-anywhere hardware of the new Jeep Renegade — with which it will share its chassis — will lure customers away from its rivals.

Our computer-generated pictures, based on an official image released by Fiat, show the company has borrowed distinctive characteristics of the 500 hatch, including the rounded nose, to give it a family look. It’s a trick that has served the company well; the same approach was taken with its 500L and in Europe nearly 80,000 were bought in 2013.


Search for and buy a used Fiat 500L on driving.co.uk


Inside, digital instruments will replace analogue dials, and the car will offer seating for five.

It is expected that the range-topping versions of the 500X will feature four-wheel drive with five operating modes, and hill descent control. So whether on the M25 or tackling a rutted track to a holiday bolthole, the 500X should be capable. More affordable versions will be front-wheel drive.

The petrol engines are said to be 1.4-litre and 2.4-litre four-cylinder units, while the diesel will be a 1.6 or 2-litre. Company sources say the 500X is too heavy to use the Fiat’s TwinAir engine range.

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Factfile

Fiat 500X

Engine: 1.4 or 2.4-litre petrol; 1.6 or 2-litre diesel
Transmission: 6-speed manual; 6 or 9-speed automatic; front or 4-wheel drive
Price: From £18,000 (estimated)
Release date: Early next year