When the 2016 Fiat 500X crossover shows up in North American dealerships next year, it will give the brand its first all-wheel-drive offering for areas that get wintry weather.
The subcompact crossover made its debut in October at the Paris auto show and is scheduled to mark its North American debut today at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The 500X is manufactured in Italy and shares a platform as well as many components with the Jeep Renegade, although its styling is all Fiat.
“Today for Fiat, California is our number one market, and Texas and Florida tied for second. But the biggest opportunity for us with [the Fiat 500X] is where we get some inclement weather,” said Jason Stoicevich, head of the Fiat brand for North America.
Stoicevich spoke to Automotive News about the Fiat 500X in Paris, and predicted Fiat dealers in the northeast U.S. will do best with the subcompact crossover.
“Not only do you get size and functionality, but capability with the all-wheel drive,” Stoicevich said. “That’s a big one for us.”
The five-passenger crossover comes with two powertrain choices. Standard is a turbocharged 1.4-liter inline-four engine paired with a six-speed manual transmission, producing 160 hp and 184 pounds-feet of torque. Optional is a 2.4-liter inline-four combined with a nine-speed automatic transmission that produces 180 hp and 175 pounds-feet of torque.
The disconnecting awd system, which engages power to the two rear wheels automatically when additional traction is needed, is optional. A selector in the cabin allows the driver to choose one of three modes -- auto, sport and traction+.
Among the standard and available safety and security features are forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-path detection. The 500X comes standard with seven airbags.
Inside the crossover’s cabin, the 500X features an optional 6.5-inch touch screen and navigation infotainment system as well as a 3.5-inch configurable display in the instrument cluster.
The 2016 Fiat 500X will come in five trim levels: Pop, Easy, Lounge, Trekking and Trekking Plus. Both the Trekking models have special front and rear fascia designs with satin silver accents.
The 500X will arrive in U.S. dealerships in the first half of 2015. Neither pricing nor fuel economy was announced.