Events: Fiat 500x Launch
We were very pleased to be invited to launch of the brand new Fiat 500x in Sydney this week. We’ve been looking forward to seeing and driving this new car for a while now, ever since it was flagged as a possibility for Australia – see Top 5 reasons the new fiat 500x will work in Australia. And we were not disappointed.
But before we talk about the car, let me fill you in with the details of the launch. Other than the debut of a car that will be very important for Fiat down under the launch was also a standout event because of who was flown out to present it: none other than Olivier Francois the worldwide head of brand Fiat – a big gun indeed, and symbolic of how seriously Fiat are taken our market.
Monsieur Francois made gave an entertaining and impressive presentation focussing on what the Fiat brand is and what the future holds. We were particularly pleased to see such a strong emphasis on the history and heritage of the brand, it seems that Fiat have finally woken up to the appeal of it’s back catalogue.
The presentation also included a teaser of the 124 Spider. No launch date has been announced but we’re thinking mid 2016.
Fiat 500x First Impressions
After the presentation it was time to get acquainted with the new mini SUV, the Fiat 500x. Visually the little high-rider is very appealing. We applaud Fiat’s designers for managing to create a subltle combination of chunkiness and cuteness. Plenty of other manufacturers have tried to pull this off an failed miserably – witness the terrible Holden Traxx and awful Ford Ecosport. Even MINI have struggled stylistically with its SUV offerings. To be honest we feel that the only other car in this segment that comes close to providing as successful a design as the 500x is its very own sister the Jeep Renegade. We fully expect a sales head to head with these two cars – probably a good problem for FCA to have.
Fiat 500x The Range
The Fiat 500x will be launched as a four car range – Pop, Pop Star, Lounge and Cross Plus
Fiat 500x Pop
This will be the entry level model and the most keenly priced. it features the following spec:
- 7 airbags
- 5-inch touchscreen
- Voice command & Bluetooth
- 3.5-inch customisable instrument cluster
- Electric park brake and electric power steering
- ParkSense Rear Park Assist System
- Fold forward front passenger seat
- 16-inch alloy wheels
- Leather wrapped flat bottom steering wheel
Fiat 500x Pop Star
Next up the chain comes the Pop Star which adds the following:
- 6.5-inch touchscreen with Navigation
- Blind Spot monitoring with Rear Cross Path Detection
- ParkView reverse parking camera
- Keyless Enter ‘n Go
- Dual zone automatic climate control
- Rain sensing windscreen wipers
- Automatic headlamps
- 17-inch alloy wheels
- Front fog lights
Fiat 500x Lounge
The Lounge model is next and offers:
- 3.5” Colour TFT cluster display
- Dual zone air conditioning
- Full-Speed Forward Collision Warning-Plus
- LaneSense Lane Departure Warning-Plus
- Automatic high-beam headlights
- BeatsAudio Premium Sound System
- Overhead ambient lighting
- 18-inch alloy wheels with Gloss Silver finish
- Chrome daylight opening surrounds
Fiat 500x Cross Plus
Finally we have the range topping 500x Cross Plus. The big difference with this model is the 4×4 drive system. It also adds:
- Xenon headlights
- Roof bars
- 18-inch alloy wheels with Matte Chrome finish
- Chrome satin finish door handles
- Chrome satin finish front and rear mouldings
- Unique Cross Plus dashboard finish
Fiat 500x First Drive
We were lucky enough to try the range topping Cross Plus for our test drive and while we weren’t able to test its off road ability we certainly found to be a very willing performer on the tarmac. The nine speed automatic transmission provides a ratio for every need and the flappy paddle shifters cater to your inner racer.
A dial in the centre allows you to switch drive mode between sports, normal and off road. This is no gimmick, as a switch up to the sports model suddenly changed the car’s character with later change up points and subsequent increases to the mechanical soundtrack.
The car was very comfortable and did not come with a top heavy feeling so prevalent in the SUV segment. Only the dead feeling electronic steering detracted from the driving experience, but Fiat aren’t alone with this trait.