LOS ANGELES -- Fiat expects to make inroads in the Snow Belt with the 500X, a new crossover with optional all-wheel drive.
"This is the game changer for us. This is the halo for the brand," said Jason Stoicevich, head of the Fiat brand in North America, at a media event here.
For $1,900, consumers can get awd in the 500X.
The system disconnects the rear driveshaft and rear differential automatically when additional traction is unneeded, improving fuel economy.
The feature is similar to that offered in the Jeep Renegade, but it is calibrated differently for the 500X to improve on-road performance. The Renegade and 500X share a platform.
The 500X begins arriving next month in U.S. showrooms.
It will be the third nameplate for Fiat dealers, joining the 500 minicar and the 500L five-door hatchback, which both lack awd.
Pricing for the 500X will start at $20,980, including shipping.