The 2016 Fiat 500X is a new, four-door alternative to the smaller 500 and longer 500L. Like the brand-new 2015 Jeep Renegade, the 500X is built upon Fiat Chrysler’s Small-Wide 4x4 platform and enters a crowded subcompact crossover SUV market, where the 500X is expected to compete with the Kia Soul and Mini Cooper Countryman.

The new vehicle will share the Renegade’s engine lineup and specific transmission pairings. The base, turbocharged 1.4-liter inline four will deliver 160 horsepower (hp) at 184 pound-feet (lb.-ft.) of torque while a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter (also an I-4) brings 180 hp at 175 lb.-ft. The turbo will only be available with a six-speed stick and front-wheel drive while the 2.4-liter gets a nine-speed automatic and optional all-wheel drive.

Four-wheel-drive buyers can divert from the default mode, which will automatically disengage the rear axle for fuel savings, by selecting Sport and Low-Traction modes.

The 500X will come in Pop, Easy, Trekking, Lounge and Trekking Plus editions. The base Pop will come with 16-inch steel wheels and not much else; Easy adds 17-inch wheels, a 5-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth and smartphone connectivity and keyless entry.

Specs for the 2016 Fiat 500X.

Specs for the 2016 Fiat 500X.

The Trekking edition brings all of the above, plus foglamps, while the top-of-the-line Lounge and Trekking Plus trims add bigger wheels, touchscreens and creature comforts such as heated seats and steering wheel, dual-zone climate control and premium audio. Leather upholstery and a sunroof are available as stand-alone options.

Like the Renegade, the 500X will be equipped with a full suite of standard safety features, including a rearview camera and alerts for forward, rear-traffic and blind-spot collisions and lane departures.

The exterior and interior styling are, as expected, reminiscent of the 500X’s smaller cousins. The bulbous but understated façade, roundish headlights, garish paint jobs and matte-black bumpers and side skirts fall in line with the smaller vehicles — but the 500X is undeniably roomier. Despite low-set headrests, taller drivers should have no trouble with the 500X’s roofline, and with the rear and front passenger seats folded down, the new car yields a maximum cargo space of 50.8 cubic feet.

The 2016 Fiat 500X is expected to roll into showrooms sometime this summer. Starting MSRPs will range from $20,900 for the base Pop to an even $28,000 for the tricked-out Trekking Plus.


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Tariq Kamal

Tariq Kamal

Contributing Editor

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