Tiny crossovers are becoming a big deal for carmakers, and now a brand known for tiny hatchbacks is getting in on the action.
The Fiat 500X was first teased over two years ago, and finally debuted in production form at the 2014 Paris Motor Show.
Looking like a more rugged version of the 500L, this pint-sized crossover will compete against the MINI Countryman, Nissan Juke, and Fiat Chrysler’s own 2015 Jeep Renegade.
The Fiat’s styling will probably draw less controversy than the Jeep’s, which some hardcore fans might view as sacrilege.
However, taking the safe route results in a less-interesting design, albeit not an unattractive one.
The 500X actually rides on the same platform as the Renegade, and will launch in Europe with a wide variety of gasoline and diesel engines and transmissions, including five- and six-speed manuals, a six-speed dual-clutch automatic, and a nine-speed automatic.
Those offerings will probably be reduced to just gasoline engines and one automatic transmission option for the U.S., where the market for diesel-engined mini-crossovers with stick shifts is somewhat limited.
The gasoline engines announced in Paris are the 1.4-liter Multiair four-cylinder already deployed in other Fiat models in the U.S., and the 2.4-liter turbocharged Tigershark four used in the Dodge Dart.
The 500X will come standard with front-wheel drive, while all-wheel drive will be optional.
In Europe at least, the nine-speed automatic will be mandatory when selecting a gasoline with all four wheels driven, so maybe that will be the combination U.S. buyers get as well.
We’ll find out in roughly the middle of next year, when the 500X is expected to go on sale Stateside, probably as a 2016 model.