Fiat says the city-slicker version of the 500X is more style-focused, designed to "win over young, dynamic and metropolitan customers". The 500X 'leisure-oriented' version on the other hand is for those who like the outdoors, with its "decidedly more off-road look and equipment" including revised bumpers and different wheels.
The all-new mini SUV - which is a sister product of the Jeep Renegade - is described by the Italian company as a "new compact crossover in the 500 family that marks the latest evolution of the brand", and will be sold with petrol and diesel powertrains, with manual or automatic transmissions, and in front-drive, four-wheel-drive (with rear axle drive disconnection) or front-drive with Traction Plus.
Powering the 500X are the following petrol drivetrains: a front-drive 1.6-litre four-cylinder with with 82kW of power and a five-speed manual gearbox; a 1.4-litre turbo four-cylinder with 104kW, front-wheel-drive and a six-speed manual or six-speed dual-clutch automatic; a 1.4-litre turbo producing 127kW with four-wheel-drive and a nine-speed automatic; or a 2.4-litre four-cylinder with 137kW, a nine-speed auto and four-wheel-drive.
Diesel powertrains include: a 71kW 1.3-litre turbo unit with a five-speed manual and front-drive; a 90kW 1.6-litre turbo six-speed manual front-drive; and the flagship 105kW 2.0-litre turbo in either front-drive six-speed manual configuration or with a nine-speed auto and four-wheel-drive. Torque figures for the diesel models have not yet been confirmed.
The 500X is offered with a new "Drive Mood Selector" that changes the response of the car's engine, brakes, steering and transmission. The settings are Auto (which acts as an efficiency mode, too), Sport and All weather (for slippery surfaces). In 500X 'leisure' models, All weather is replaced by a Traction mode: in four-wheel-drive models it increases drive to the rear wheels, while in front-drive variants Traction Plus is designed to offer enhanced front-end traction over looser surfaces but also "costs less and has lower emissions than a conventional four-wheel drive, proving more efficient in light, everyday off-road use", according to the brand.
The 500X measures 4.25 metres in length (4.27m for the 500X leisure), 1.80m wide and 1.61m tall. To put that in context against the regular three-door 500 hatch, the 500X is 70cm longer, 17cm wider and 12cm taller. The boot is competitively sized, at 350 litres.
All 500X models get six airbags (dual front, front side and curtains), daytime running lights, fog lights with cornering function, and electronic stability control. Some models will also be offered with a lane-departure warning system, blind-spot assist, a reverse-view camera and "Brake Control" forward collision mitigation which works "up to motorway speeds".
There are seven interior finishes available, with fabric, leather and different colours to choose, while the exterior has a choice of 12 different finishes and there are 16-, 17- and 18-inch wheels in eight designs.
The interior has the familiar UConnect touchscreen media system in either 5.0- or 6.5-inch sizes, while Bluetooth with voice control, USB and auxiliary inputs are also standard. The 5.0-inch UConnect system can be had with Tom Tom navigation, while the larger format screen features a more advanced mapping system with 3D maps and a voice command system.
App connectivity is available using the UConnect Live system by connecting a data-ready phone and includes Facebook, Twitter, Tune-In radio, Reuters news and Deezer music integration. The 500X will also be offered with a Beats sound system as an option.
The 500X is set to be sold in more than 100 countries, but Fiat Chrysler Group Australia now says the "the 500X is currently under strong consideration for Australia", despite previously confirming the new model would be sold locally by 2016.